A poet of original genius is always distinguished by his talent for description. They had not words to express general conceptions. What that relation ought to be, cannot be precisely defined. But when we open the works of Ossian, a very different scene presents itself. Homer is more extended in his descriptions, and fills them up with a greater variety of circumstances.
The army fell before us. In a similar state of manners, similar objects and passions, operating upon the imaginations of men, will stamp their productions with the same general character. The fiction is calculated to aggrandize the hero; which it does to a high degree: But when the poet relates the expeditions of any of his heroes to the Scandinavian coast, or to the islands of Orkney, which were then part of the Scandinavian territory, as he does in Carric-thura, Sul-malla of Lumon, and Cathloda, the case is quite altered. No wonder that among all the three, there should be such agreement and conformity.
There was silence; and I heard a voice–Shall mortal man be more just than God?
They promise some of the highest beauties of poetical writing. For as the judgment is principally exercised in distinguishing objects, and remarking the differences among those which seem alike, so the highest amusement of the imagination is to trace likenesses and agreements among those which seem different. Many were his words to Oscar. Page 15 – Oscar; but they only came by halves to our ears ; they were dark as the tales of other times, before the light of the song arose.
As their feelings are strong, so their language, of itself, assumes a poetical turn. In the other poems, ghosts sometimes appear, when invoked, to foretell futurity; frequently, according to the notions of these times, they come as forerunners of misfortune or death, to those whom they visit; sometimes they inform their friends at a distance of their own death; and sometimes they are introduced to heighten the scenery on some great and solemn occasion.
A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian [by H. Blair]. – Hugh Blair – Google Books
The story is conducted with no small art. It raises a strong conception of the. The action is one, and complete. Oscar drew his sword It is wild, harsh, and irregular; but at the same time animated and strong; the style in the original, full of inversions, and, as we learn from some of Olaus’s notes, highly metaphorical and figured. His eyes are like two decaying flames.
Our present subject leads us to investigate the ancient poetical remains, not so much of the east, or of the Greeks and Romans, as of the northern nations, in order to discover whether the Gothic poetry has any resemblance to the Celtic or Gaelic, which we are about to consider.
The fea is rolling far diftant, and its white foam fhall deceive thee for my fails. It breathes nothing of the gay and cheerful kind; an air of solemnity and seriousness is diffused over the whole.
Barbarity, I must observe, is a very equivocal term; it admits of many different forms and degrees, and though in all of them it exclude polished manners, it is, however, not inconsistent with generous sentiments and tender affections.
After these general observations on the genius and spirit of our author, I now proceed to a nearer view and more accurate examination of his works; and as Fingal is the first great poem in this collection, it is proper to begin with it. These are gentle spirits: The undaunted courage of Fingal, opposed to all the terrors of the Scandinavian god; the appearance. Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.
Calmar hurries Cuthullin into action by his temerity; and when he sees the bad effects of his counsels, he will not survive the disgrace. This is a curious point, and requires to be illustrated. Selected items from five ‘Special and Named Printed Collections’.
The poet, says this critic, must begin with fixing on some maxim or instruction, which he intends to inculcate on mankind.
Whereas in Ossian, the mind is relieved by a more agreeable diversity. How art thou changed, chief of Lara!
His delight was to think of the heroes among whom he had flourished; to recall the affecting incidents of his life; to dwell upon his past wars, and loves, and friendships: It is indeed a dignity of the dark and awful kind; but this is proper; because criticao with the strain and spirit of the poetry. Thus the crirical appears in the west, after the steps of his brightness have moved behind a storm.
Page 13 – Loose the bards,” said his brother Cathmor, ” they are the sons of other times.
A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian, the son of Fingal.
The host is withered in its course. Personal epithets have been much used by all the poets of the most ancient ages; and when well chosen, not general and unmeaning, they contribute not a little to render the style descriptive and animated.
Loveliness was around her as light. The conclusion of the poem is strictly according to rule, and is every way noble and pleasing.