I am fallen in the first of my fields; fallen without renown. But I must observe, that nothing is more difficult than to adjust properly the marvellous with the probable. Hence his whole system arose. I have subjoined the whole below, exactly as he has published it See p. In a rude age and country, though the events that happen be few, the undissipated mind broods over them more; they strike the imagination, and fire the passions, in a higher degree; and, of consequence, become happier materials to a poetical genius, than the same events when scattered through the wide circle of more varied action and cultivated life.

What that relation ought to be, cannot be precisely defined. It were easy to point out several instances of exquisite painting in the works of our author. The Poem opens with the descent of Fingal on the coast, and the consultation held among the chiefs of the enemy. For youth and old are the two states of human life, capable of being placed in the most picturesque lights. 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.

a critical dissertation on the poems of ossian the son of fingal

The adventures related by our poet which resemble the most q of romance, concern women who follow their lovers to war disguised in the armor of men; and these are so managed as to produce, in the discovery, several of the most interesting situations; one beautiful instance of which may be seen in Carric-thura, and another in Calthon and Colmal.

The Poem opens with the descent of Fingal on the coast, and the consultation held among the chiefs of the enemy. His eyes are like two decaying flames. The unity of the epic action, which of all Aristotle’s rules, is the chief and most material, is so strictly preserved in Fingal, that it must be perceived by every reader.


His form is like his fathers; his soul is a flame of their fire. His character is of that sort for which Ossian shows a particular fondness; an eager, fervent, young warrior, fired with all the impatient enthusiasm for military glory ot to that time of life. It is indeed a dignity of the dark and awful kind; but this is proper; because coincident with the strain and spirit of the poetry. The solitary, wild state, is always a serious one.

A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian, the son of Fingal.

Calmar hurries Cuthullin into action by his temerity; and when he sees the bad effects of his counsels, he will not survive the disgrace. The green hills lift their dewy heads. The poet goes not back to a tedious recital of the beginning of the war with Swaran; but hastening to the main action, he falls in exactly, by a most happy coincidence of oxsian, with the rule of Horace:. It breathes nothing of the gay and cheerful kind; an air of solemnity and seriousness is diffused over the whole.

A light and gay mythology, like Homer’s, would have been perfectly unsuitable to the subjects on which Ossian’s genius was crirical. Bating the sudden and violent bursts of mirth, which sometimes break forth at. A critical dissertation on the poems of Ossian Hugh Blair Snippet view – However, if a general moral be still insisted on, Fingal obviously furnishes one, not inferior to that of any other poet, viz: Human nature is pruned according to method and rule.

A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, the Son of Fingal – Hugh Blair – Google Books

He shall fear, but love my voice. They wander in thick mists beside the reedy lake but never shall they rise, without the song, to the dwelling of winds. He has, indeed, followed the same course with Homer.

a critical dissertation on the poems of ossian the son of fingal

As Fingal had no occasion of appearing in the action of this poem, Ossian makes a very artful transition from his narration, to what was passing in the halls of Selma.


The high merit, however, of Temora, requires that we should not pass it by without some remarks. Popular passages Page 64 – And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched, unto the children of Israel, saying, The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it, are men of a great stature.

The blue streams rejoice in the vale. The grass of the rock, the flower of the heath, the thistle with its beard, are the chief ornaments of his landscapes. Whereas in Ossian, the mind is relieved by a more agreeable diversity. Dark is the wound on his breast. Besides this merit which ancient poems have with philosophical observers of human nature, they have another with persons of taste. A more curious monument of the true Gothic poetry is preserved by Olaus Wormius in his book de Literatura Runica.

For though Homer lived more than a thousand years before Ossian, it is not from the age of the world, but from the state of society that we are to judge of resembling times.

a critical dissertation on the poems of ossian the son of fingal

My soul is full of other times; the joy of my djssertation returns. No arts are mentioned, except that of navigation and of working in iron.

The earth streamed with blood. When poets attempt to go beyond this range, and describe a faultless hero, they for the most part set before us a sort of vague, undistinguishable character, such as the imagination cannot lay hold of, or realize to itself as the object of affection. I am fallen in the first of my fields; fallen without renown.