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ject of long and earnest dispute since their first publication. The idea that poems of so pure a style, abounding in such exquisite tenderness and sublimity, should have been produced in an age so rude in every other respect, and transmitted by oral tradition. without corruption, through a period of nearly fourteen hundred years, has shocked the credulity of many intelligent and well-disposed persons. This has been looked upon by many literary characters, especially those of England, as so far out of the ordinary course of things, that they have by some been attributed to McPherson, who, it is maintained, wrote and ascribed them to an ancient bard, to avoid the criticism and envy of his cotemporary writers.

Much light had been thrown upon this subject, from time to time, by the numerous methods instituted for this purpose, until Dr. Blair, in his critical dissertation concerning the poems of Ossian, so thoroughly canvassed the subject, and by facts, deductions, and arguments, proved them to be the genuine poems of Ossian, that there is scarcely room left for a doubt. There yet remains, however, unemployed, one argument with which, had it been at the command of this clear-minded and profound writer, he would have dispelled all speculation on this subject, as flee the shadows of night before the morning sun. This argument is predicated upon the perfect delineations of feeling in which these poems abound, intuitive in the bosom of every blind person. No less than twenty times does the author refer to this de

privation, in a manner so striking, that every blind person acquainted with his own thoughts and emotions, cannot fail to recognize them as kindred to those awakened in his own breast. Were these the only proofs in favor of their being the poems of Ossian, his claim would be established firm as the pyramids of Egypt, defying all the armies of literary dabblers and cavilers that have ever questioned their authorship. We do not pretend to deny, that poems whose themes and imagery are drawn from the universal field of nature, to which every author has access, may sometimes be imitated, with considerable exactness; but these are the emotions and vibrations of the soul's intensest struggles, and are as proof against forgery, as the voice of the earthquake. One of the writers of this article, having possessed the advantages of sight, until at a considerable mature age, he can fully appreciate the difficulty under which he labors to make himself understood on this point, by those who have never felt the peculiar emotions awakened by a sense of blindness. There are peculiarities in all the descriptive writings of the blind, so striking, especially when portraying their own condition, or that of others under similar circumstances, that we find no difficulty whatever in tracing their identity.

But that these marks of recognition are not so apparent to the seeing, is clearly manifest from the following remarks of Dr. Kitto, relative to Homer and his writings: "The fact that he was blind," says

this celebrated author, "could not, we apprehend, be collected from his works; but we may accept without dispute the ancient and universal tradition of his being in that condition." With all due deference to the doctor's clear perception, we beg leave to affirm, that while the account of Demodocus remains in the Odyssey, and the description of the Cyclopean giant, (whose huge eye Ulysses put out,) in the ninth book of that poem, this master-work will be claimed by the blind, though every tradition of its author hould sink into oblivion.

These remarks are alike applicable to Milton, Dr. Blacklock, Rev. Dr. Lucas, and others. So numerous and striking are the pictures which these authors have drawn of their own peculiar privations, that they form true mirrors in which every blind person may behold reflected his own condition. In the third book of "Paradise Lost," and in the dramatic poem, "Samson Agonistes," their inimitable author has left such glaring images of blindness, as must forever betray the privation under which they were conceived, though all incidents of his life were erased from the pages of history.

How forcibly and pathetic do the following sentiments address themselves to our own hearts :

Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;

But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me!
So much the rather thou, celestial Light!

*

*

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse; that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

*

Dr. Blacklock, also, in the following expressive lines, not only paints his own experience, but that of his entire class:

Wide o'er my prospect rueful darkness breathes
Her inauspicious vapor; in whose shade,

Fear, grief, and anguish, natives of her reign,

In social sadness gloomy vigils keep;

With them I walk, with them still doomed to share
Eternal blackness, without hope of dawn.

But among all the eminent poets of this order, there is none who has more strikingly portrayed the emotions native to a sense of blindness, than the venerable Ossian. In almost every poem in this entire collection, he laments over his sightlessness, in strains so touching, as are not only indicative of condition, but prove to us that the emotions awakened by this affliction have been the same in every age of the world and state of society. In the fourth book of Fingal, in a strain of sublimity that portrays the deep emotions of his soul, he thus sadly mourns over his deprivations: "Daughter of the land of snow, I was not so mournful and blind, I was not so dark and forlorn, when Ever-allin loved me!"

Again, in the same book of that poem, he thus ad

dresses Malvina: "Bat I am sad, forlorn, and blind: no more the companion of heroes! Give, lovely maid, to me thy tears."

In Carthon, he beautifully speaks of feeling and hearing, the two senses on which every blind person most depends. "I feel the sun, O Malvina! leave me to my rest. Perhaps they may come to my dreams. I think I hear a feeble voice! The beam of heaven delights to shine on the grave of Carthon. I feel it warm around." And again, in the fifth book of Fingal, lamenting the fall of that hero: "I hear not thy distant voice on Cona. My eyes perceive thee not. Often forlorn and dark, I sit at thy tomb, and feel it with my hands. When I think I hear thy voice, it is but the passing blast. Fingal has long since fallen asleep, the ruler of the war!" In the characters of Crothar, Lamor, and Barbarduthal, who are represented blind, Ossian so perfectly delineates the gestures and feelings consequent upon such a state, as could be done by no author to whom these were not prompted by experience. In Croma, the poet, speaking of his interview with Crothar, and that hero, referring to the shield presented to him by Fingal, thus speaks: "Dost thou not behold it on the wall? for Crothar's eyes have failed. Is thy strength like thy father's, Ossian? let the aged feel thine arm! I gave my arm to the king; he felt it with his aged hands."

These quotations, in connection with what has been said in the foregoing, we deem sufficient to substan

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