Page images

ment lies in my power, give you an order for her immediate restitution.” · As he said this, he rang for a servant, and hastily writing a line, and affixing his seal, “ Take this, Mr. Walsingham,” he added, “the liberation of Adeline will instantly follow its delivery; a confidential servant of mine shall attend you; but, ere you go, may I ask you, if an interview with my son, however humiliating to myself, could in your opinion, afford him the slightest consolation ?"

“ My Lord,” answered Mr. Walsingham, in a manner the most striking and emphatic, “I am convinced, that in his present situation it would be death ! He has hitherto happily been ignorant of his parents. Secrecy in any communication with his mother is still essential to her peace and tranquillity, and how far, contrite as she is, an interview with her would, should he recover, be conducive to his peace, I know not. But of this I am certain, that after what has passed, and acquainted as he is with your public character, the recognition of his father would, at any time, overwhelm him with shame and despair ! ”

“God forgive me !” exclaimed the Duke, striking his forehead with convulsive violence, “I am, indeed, visited for my iniquity!” and he rushed in agony from the room.

(To be continued.)


The Poet of the Western Isles
When blind, and old !


That the evidence for the authenticity of the Poems of Ossian has been, for the last sixteen years, much upon the increase, will be denied by no one who has read the Report of the Highland Society on these poems, and the Dissertations on their authenticity by Sir John Sinclair and Dr. Graham, published in the years 1805, 1806, and 1807; and who has since attentively watched their influence over the public mind. *

[ocr errors]

* The account which Sir John Sinclair has given of the Manuscript of Ossian, formerly belonging to Mr. Farquharson, of the Scotch College at Douay, is with me, and, I think, must be with every unprejudiced person, decisive proof of the authenticity of these long-questioned poems. See his Dissertation on the Authenticity of the Poems of Ossian, from page 11. to p. 58.

It is owing to this augmenting reliance on the data adduced in support of the antiquity of the works of Ossian, coupled with the strong proofs which have been brought forward, of the uninterrupted preservation of the Celtic poetry, by oral tradition, that the attention of many has been lately more than ever turned towards the resemblances, literary and personal, which exist between the Celtic and the Grecian Homer. The subject is both curious and interesting; but it is here introduced chiefly as it attaches to the latter class of these resemblances, and more particularly to that part of them which relates to the blindness of the Highland bard.

That an Order of Bards existed among the Celtic nations from the most remote antiquity, there is an abundance of testimony, and of the most unexceptionable kind, to prove, and which has been collected with singular industry by the celebrated Pelloutier; * and that, as must almost necessarily have followed, they also existed among those tribes of Celts who inhabited the Northern and Western parts of Scotland, evi

* Hist. des Celtes, 2 vols. 4to. edition, 1771. Vol. i. pp. 12. 100. 115. 184. 188.

[ocr errors]

dence equally strong and satisfactory has been furnished to us by the best and earliest historians of that part of our island. Thus Buchanan declares, that in his time the name and functions of the bards still remained wherever the old British tongue was spoken, and that, particularly in the Western Islands, the inhabitants

sing poems, not inelegant, containing commonly the eulogies of valiant men; and their bards usually treat of no other subject ;" * and Johnston, in the preface to his History of Scotland, speaking of the ancient poetry of his country, says, “although it is well known that the Scots had always more strength and industry to perform great deeds, than care to have them published to the world; yet, in ancient times, they had, and held in great esteem, their own Homers and Maros, whom they named bards. These recited the achievements of their brave warriors in heroic measures, adapted to the musical notes of the harp; with these they roused the minds of those present to the glory

* Accinunt autem carmen non inconcinnè factum, quod ferè laudes fortium virorum contineat ; nec aliud ferè argumentum eorum Bardi tractant."

« PreviousContinue »