BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

An enquiry into the authenticity of the poems ascribed to Ossian

by William Shaw


D editions

editions of the Rcliques, will find the observations there no longer; and that Dr. Percy, on reslection, had just reason to suspect that this young student had previously been taught the part he recited; and the lines might as readily be any common song, as the original of Fingal; for they knew it was impossible for an Englishman to detect it. This author has .annexed to his Dissertations some poems, ascribed to new, and hitherto unknown, poets. He confesses they are in some degree altered from what they were when he received them.—That " he compared ** different editions, struck off several parts that "were manifestly spurious, and brought to"gether episodes that seemed to have a relation "to one another." This is a most excellent pretext for giving us a new poem from a few stanzas of original: and he takes further care to cover the imposture, by advancing " that the .** current editions are much adulterated." Dargo is the title of one of his poems.j There are a very few stanzas of poetry in different parts of the Highlands upon this hero Dargo. It is of that sort which the author of Fingal would call the composition of the 15th century.—1 have them in my possession; and in a small collection of Gallic poems, which I have been preparing (for I also was about to be a translator !)^' I have made up a sort of a poem of some length from these few stanzas, entirely different from Mr. Smith's, only that we both retain the same Dargo as our mutual hera| If sale could be expected for them, I should find it no dissicult matter, in my notes, to give specimens of the original; and I am sure I would avoid giving those I received from the people, because they cannot bear a translation. And

indeed indeed Mr. Smith gives us not those of the old poet, but those he made from his English original; the local phraseology, and the forced strain of which, to any discerning reader, point out the imposition. In short, Mr. Smith's and my little poem both retain the same name of Dargo, have received none of the incredible and marvellous feats of the few original lines, and are each of them as different from it, and from one another, as, perhaps, the sermons would be which he and I might write upon one text. The case is the same as to the rest of his collection. The original is promised, if subscribers enough appear in six months. He has done well to limit the time, in order to have it in his power, at the expiration of six months, to refuse it; by which means he will avoid the labour of translating the whole into Earse. But I hope those who are so anxious to be in possession of the original of OJJian, will not neglect to take Mr. bmith at his word.—If, however, the two copies do not fit each other better than the specimens already shewn us, and if the Gallic poetry be not better, we shall not be at a loss to judge which is the original; and when it appears, we shall not neglect pointing out the vulgarisms and local phraseology to the few of his countrymen that are judges of the language.

Names are quoted who have given the originals. Some of those I am acquainted with;

and none of them (for nobody could be more diligent and inquisitive than 1 have been) could ever produce any thing but a few scattered fabulous stanzas, sometimes representing the heroes as men,at other times as giants j sometimes probable, and often marvellous; none of which can bear a ^ranflatipa. A fertile genius, however, might take

X> 2 Up, up the names as thecharacters, and write a po«n\ in English, which a Highlander, who loved his country better than truth, might make himself easily believe he had frequently heard before. In this manner hath been manufactured every translation, whether Mr. Clark's, Mr. Macpherfon's, or Mr. Smith's, that have hitherto appeared. .

Mr. Macphail of Lome, Mr. Macalaster of Tarbert, repeat some of the above fables, which may serve for a text for a man that can write in English. These men I have seen and conversed with; and although I listened a long time to, their recitation of fables, &c. I found nothing worthy of a tranflation, without such extensive amendments and embellishments, as to make'h) entirely a new 'work. The Reverend Mr. Mac Dermid, of Glasgow, is mentioned as well acT ijuainted with the original of Fingal, although he is not possessed of a single line of Offian j and I believe he would purchase a few at the price I offered Professor Macleodi.

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