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period; and his inftances appear to be quite full to the purpose*. In this cafe, the propofed tranfpofition would not be neceffary; and the sense would have been, more than the dew-drops from the womb of the morning is the dew of thy youthDr. Sykes takes the meaning of the place to be this; as the dew arifing from the womb of the morning, or produced by the morning, is the cause of nourishment or growth to herbs and plants, fo is thy youth or birth, as a dew to thee, i. e. the caule of the growth and fpreading of you and your doctrines +." The word dew is frequently used to fignify the cause of growth; as Hosea xiii. and 5. Deut. xxxii. and 2. The Dr. adds- taken for thy birth, affords a good fenfe, yet I rather prefer another meaning. The word does not only fignify to bring forth, but to produce, or bring into being. Thus in Pfalm xc. 2. Before the mountains 17 were brought into being. Hence, things brought into being and with the affix, thy productions: all that are born to thee; that which is called in Ifaiah liii. 10. thy feed; and then the fenfe is, As the dew is the cause of growth to the herbs, fo fhall thy feed, thy difciples, flourish and multiply.
We only add farther, It hath been remarked upon this difficult paffage, that the Syriac, the Septuagint, the Vulgat, the Arabic, the Ethiopic,, and Apollinarius, have given this fenfe of the original I begot thee my fon. As in Pfalm ii. 7. Thou art my fon, this day have I begotten thee: and fome think it probable, that this is the genuine fignification of the text, of which the Syriac gives us the very words, or at least nearly, 7. In fupport of this they fay, though there is now no fuch word as, or, or , extant, for a fon or child in the flender remains of the Hebrew tongue; yet there are fuch plain traces of the word, or one very near it in the Samaritan, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic languages, that the oldeft Interpreters would never have expreffed it in this place, if they had not found it here. Upon admitting this, the tranflation would run, before the morning ftar I begot thee, my fon. As we have met with this criticifm in the courfe of our reading, we take the liberty to fubmit it to the confideration of the learned, without making ourselves answerable for it.
Upon the whole, notwithstanding our difapprobation of Bifhop Hare's Hebrew metre, we think Mr. Green's tranflation a valuable performance; and we obferve with pleasure, the moft learned and refpectable part of our Clergy employing themselves
De Sacra Poefi, p. 88,
+ Dr. Sykes's Introd. to Paraph. on Heb. p. 39, 40,
For the true meaning and application of Pf. cx. we may refer to the learned Dr. Gregory Sharpe's Second Argument in Defence of Chriftianity; fee Review, vol. XXVII. p. 5.
in elucidating the facred Text; and removing the difficulties which have hitherto unavoidably attended it: a service, well becoming them as Scholars, and Chriftian Divines; and infinitely better calculated to promote rational religion, than the cruel engines of perfecution, which none but the ignorant and lazy, the inhuman and the wicked, would ever wish to employ.
Temora, an ancient Epic Poem, in Eight Books: Together with feveral other Poems compofed by Offian, the Son of Fingal. Tranflated from the Galic Language, by James M Pherfon. 4to. 10s. 6d. in boards. Becket.
T is a matter of fome doubt, whether, on many occafions, people fuffer moft from the indifcretion of their friends, or the malice of their enemies: at leaft it is very certain, that in the literary world, merit is frequently more hurt in its reputation by the injudicious and extravagant applaufe of its admirers, than by the want of tafte, judgment, or candour, in those who depreciate or condemn it. The poems of Offian have unqueftionably fuffered from this caufe. The fuperlative encomiums lavifhed on his Fingal, were by no means calculated to establish the lafting fame of this Celtic Bard. The blast was blown too loud and ftrong to continue, especially as it fometimes feemed to be mixed with the invidious breath of national partiality. It was, indeed, a matter of very little confequence to the world, whether Offian was of the Hibernian or Caledonian race: and yet, as the cities of Greece are faid to have contended about the birth place of Homer, fo we were very near feeing a fimilar conteft between Scotland and Ireland, for the honour of having given birth to this new Homer of the North. And tho' the determination either way, would, in reason, but little affect the merit of his poetry, one would have thought, by the zeal expreffed on the occafion, that fuch merit, in a great degree, depended on the country wherein it was originally produced. We muft do the ingenious Tranflator, however, the justice to fay, that he declared this circumftance to be at firft not worth difputing about, as the Irish and Scots Celta were, of old, one and the fame nation. It is true, that he hath now pointed out a umber of anachronisms, blunders, and abfurdities in the tradional poems of Ireland, in order to invalidate what he calls its retenfions to Offian: but may we not suppose, that if fuch pocms had been given the world by a Tranflator of equal ingenuity and abilities, thofe grofs defects would have been justly removed, as the Interpolations of later and meaner Bards. Indeed, notwithstanding all the pains Mr. M Pherson hath taken to
convince the public of the regularity of tradition among the Highland-Songsters, we cannot help thinking, that both Fingal and Temora are (as he confeffes of the latter)" in fome meafure become his own." Not that we mention this to derogate from the merit of the work, or of the Editor; or that we doubt of the authenticity of these poems, farther than what relates to their general form and compofition. There is, indeed, very little room for any farther doubt; for we may fay, of these poems, as a celebrated French Writer expreffed himfelf, on a different occafion, that they abound with strokes fi grands, fi frappans, fi parfaitement inimitables, que l' Inventeur en feroit plus etonnant que le Heros. In like manner, it hath been often obferved on this occafion, that to have written thus in the character of Offian, Mr. M' Pherfon must have had much greater talents than Offian himself. We must own, nevertheless, that we fhould have been pleased to have found our Editor ftill more explicit on this head; as it was what the public expected, and, perhaps, had a right to expect, after the very favourable reception and encouragement it afforded his defign. It is true, he hath here publifhed a part of the original of Temora : but this bears too fmall a proportion to the whole to be very fatisfactory. There is alfo fomething fingular in his manner of excufing himfelf from publicly giving any farther proofs of the authenticity, which he confeffes to be pretty generally called in question.
Since the publication, fays he, of the laft collection of Offian's poems, many infinuations have been made, and doubts arifen, concerning their authenticity. I fhall probably hear more of the fame kind after the prefent poems all make their appearance. Whether thefe fufpicions are fuggefted by prejudice, or are only the effects of ignorance of facts, I fhall not pretend to determine. To me they give no concern, as I have it always in my power to remove them. An incredulity of this kind is natural to perfons who confine all merit to their own age and country. These are generally the weakeft, as well as the most ignorant, of the people. Indolently confined to a place, their ideas are very narrow and circumfcribed. It is ridiculous enough, to fee fuch people as thefe are, branding their ancestors with the defpicable appellation of Barbarians. Sober reafon can easily discern, where the title ought to be fixed, with more propriety.
"As prejudice is always the effect of ignorance, the knowing, the men of true taste, defpife and difmifs it. If the poetry is good, and the characters natural and ftriking, to them it is a matter of indifference, whether the Heroes were born in the little village of Angles in Juteland, or natives of the barren heaths of Caledonia. That honour which nations derive from
ancestors, worthy or renowned, is merely ideal. It may buoy up the minds of individuals, but it contributes very little to their importance in the eyes of others.But of all thofe prejudices which are incident to narrow minds, that which measures the merit of performances by the vulgar opinion, concerning the country which produced them, is certainly the most ridiculous. -Ridiculous,, however, as it is, few have the courage to reject it; and I am thoroughly convinced, that a few quaint lines of a Roman or Greek Epigrammatift, if dug out of the ruins of Herculaneum, would meet with more cordial and univerfal applaufe, than all the most beautiful and natural rhapsodies of all the Celtic Bards and Scandinavian Scalders that ever exifted."
Would it not be natural to imagine from this paffage, that Mr. M. Pherfon had reason to be diffatisfied with the reception his tranflation had met with? The contrary, however, is fo certain, that we cannot conceive on what grounds of conviction it is, that he cafts this oblique fatire on the Greek and Latin Writers, and the supposed false taste of admiring their remains. If justice hath been done to the merit of Offian, why this invidious comparifon? Would our Editor infinuate, that the Celtic Bards, and Scandinavian Scalders, have an exclufive title to admiration? Thefe extraordinary pretenfions put us in mind of two or three lines of raillery, in an epiftle, fent us fome time ago, on occafion of the exceffive eulogiums which the Connoiffeurs of North-Britain, have beftowed on fome late poetical productions of their countrymen, and on Fingal in particular,
A Scot's a genius, if he write and read;
And all's fublime that comes across the Tweed;
We cannot forbear fmiling at our Editor's repeatedly telling us, that " more than a common mediocrity of taste is required to relifh the poems of Offian as they deferve." For our part, we will not prefume to determine, whether a common or an uncommon mediocrity of tafte, be beft adapted to this purpose ; but we really thought our ingenious Translator a Writer of more delicacy, than to make any performance, in fo great a measure his own, the criterion of genuine tafte in the Reader. Something like this, indeed, is the maxim of Mr. Bayes in the Rehearfal, Let me hear what he fays to my play, and then I shall know what to think of him.'Jefting apart, however, we hope there was fome ftandard of poetical tafte in the world before the poems of Offian were tranflated; and that the claffical Reader will not be in hafte to throw afide entirely the beautiful and perfect models of Greece and Rome, to make way for the
rhapsodies, however fpirited, pathetic, or fublime, of Celtic Bards, or Scandinavian Scalders.
With regard to the merit of the prefent compofitions, and particularly of Temora, we have read them with the fame fenfations of pleasure and difguft, as we experienced in the perufal of Offian's former pieces. They abound nearly with the fame ftrength of imagery and boldness of metaphor; there is the fame repetition of epithets, and barrenness of invention; the fame fublimity, and the fame meannefs.
The poem of Temora, we are told, took its name from the royal palace of the firft Irifh Kings of the Caledonian race, in the province of Ulfter; its action being founded on the confequences of a revolution which happened from the murder of one of thofe Princes, by Cairbar, the fon of Boibar-duthul, Lond of Atha in Connaught, who being the moft potent Chief of the race of the Firbolg, and having murdered, at Temora, the royal palace, Cormac the fon of Artho, the young King of Ireland, ufurped the throne. Cormac was lineally defcended from Conar the fon of Trenmor, the great grandfather of Fingal, King of thofe Caledonians who inhabited the western coaft of Scotland. Fingal refented the behaviour of Cairbar, and refolved to pafs over into Ireland with an army, to re-cftablifh the royal family on the Irish throne. Early intelligence of his defigns coming to Cairbar, he affembled fome of his tribes in Ulfter, and at the fame time ordered his brother Cathmor to follow him fpeedily with an army, from Temora. Such was the fituation of affairs when the Caledonian fleet appeared on the coaft of Ulfter, the poem opening with the landing of Fingal, and reciting the actions fucceeding it. It would afford our Readers, however, but little entertainment, barely to relate the incidents of which the eight books of this poem are compofed; we fhall content ourfelves, therefore, with the relation of a few pallages, from which the admirers of Fingal may fee that Temora bears all the marks of being the genuine production of the fame Genius.
There is fomething pathetic and noble in the relation of Of car's death, and the behaviour of his father and friend, on that occafion, in the first book.
We faw his blood around. turned his back and wept. His grey beard whistled in
"We faw Ofcar on his field. Silence darkened every face. Each The King ftrove to hide his tears. the wind. He bends his head above his fon. His words are mixed with fighs.
"And art thou fallen, Ofcar, in the midst of thy courfe? The heart of the aged beats over thee! He fees thy coming