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move the origin of the Ossianic poems, from the third to the ninth or tenth, or eleventh century, the period to which the Irish originals of the translations before us are to be attributed, we should gain nothing by the exchange, as the purity and refinement of sentiment, so remarkable in the Gaelic muse, and which has excited so much controversy, surprise, and scepticism, would be as great a stumbling-block in the latter as in the former age.
Indeed, at an era when the rest of Europe was involved in the grossest ignorance, it speaks highly in favour of the comparative state of Ireland, that her bards were able not only to relish and admire the disinterested patriotism, the tender and sublime enthusiasm of such characters as Fingal and Ossian, but were found competent to transmit with so little alloy, with so much, indeed, of genuine simplicity and energy, the impressions which for many generations had been descending to them through the oral poetry and traditions of their Gaelic neighbours.
66 As yet,” says Miss Brooke, in allusion to the lustre reflected upon her countrymen by their ancestors of the middle ages,
of quisite beauty and feeling, which in the present day cannot be read without a sigh of deep regret for
and in a passage
what has passed since it was written, “as yet, we are too little known to our noble neighbour of Britain ; were we better acquainted, we should be better friends. The British Muse is not yet informed that she has an elder sister in this isle; let us then introduce them to each other ! together let them walk abroad from their bowers, sweet ambassadresses of cordial union between two countries that seem formed by nature to be joined by every bond of interest and of amity. Let them entreat of Britain to cultivate a nearer acquaintance with her neighbouring isle. Let them conciliate for us her esteem, and her affection will follow of course. Let them tell her, that the portion of her blood which flows in our veins is rather ennobled than disgraced by the mingling tides that descended from our heroic ancestors. Let them come—but will they answer to a voice like mine ? Will they not rather depute some favoured pen, to chide me back to the shade whence I have been allured, and where, perhaps, I ought to have remained, in respect to the memory and superior genius of a father-it avails not to say how dear !But my feeble efforts presume not to emulate,-and they cannot injure his fame *."
* Preface, pp. vii. viii.
It can scarcely be necessary to remark, after the many beautiful and highly finished stanzas which I have had occasion to quote in this paper, that the amiable translator had little cause for the apprehensions which she has avowed in the latter part of the above passage, either as they might refer to the tribe of critics, or to the public at large ; for to adopt her own emphatic language,
Full oft the Muse, a gentle guest,
Dwells in a female form!
May sure unquestion'd warm
In fine, without flattery it may be added, that her versions, which exhibit many varied forms of metre, and include Heroic Poems, Odes, Elegies, and Songs, are throughout animated by the spirit of the most engaging enthusiasm ; and that, whether the Dirge, the wild War-song, or the Lay of Love, be the theme on which her efforts are exerted, she is alike entitled to our gratitude and admiration.
* Introduction to Maon, p. 327.
As dissolute, as desperate : yet, through both,
It is somewhat remarkable that almost the same degree of disparity which I have noticed to have existed between father and child at the opening of my last paper on the History of the Cliffords, may be found in relation to the early years of Henry lord Clifford, the shepherd, and those of his son by his first wife; for, whilst the childhood and youth of the former had been passed in the deepest seclusion, and in the lowliest habits of pastoral life, those of the latter had been spent amid the extravagance and dissipation of a gorgeous court.
HENRY, LORD CLIFFORD, ELEVENTH LORD OF THE HONOUR OF SKIPTON, AND FIRST EARL OF CUMBERLAND, was born in 1493, and, unfortunately for himself and the peace of his father's mind, was bred up the fellow-student and companion of prince
Henry, afterwards Henry the Eighth. From such an association, which necessarily plunged him into scenes of the most fascinating gaiety and dissipation, no other result could have been expected than what actually occurred, an addiction to wasteful expenditure and thoughtless excess.
Of this we have a melancholy proof in a letter from the old lord, still existing among the family papers, and addressed to a privy counsellor of Henry the VIIIth, with the view of having the grievances which it enumerates placed before the eye of the young monarch. It appears to have been written, though without date, about 1512, when Henry Clifford was in his twentieth year, and paints in strong colours the disobedience and even violence which he, the father, experienced from the misconduct of his son, who, he tells us, scrupled not to spoil his houses and seize his goods for the maintenance of his “ inordinate pride and ryot, as speciallie dyd apere when coming into ye contrie, he aparellyd himself and hys horse in cloth of golde and goldsmyth's wark, more lyk a duke than a pore baron's sonne as hee ys;" and then, after recounting his many acts of personal disrespect to himself, he adds, “ moreover he in his countree makyth de