Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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The great controversy over the genuineness of the Ossianic poems of James Macpherson, which existed during his lifetime and was carried on for a considerable period after his death, has died away without being settled. Opinions of eminent Celtic scholars still differ as to whether the so-called Gaelic originals of his poems, published after his death, were genuine transcripts from ancient poems, or were translations into the Gaelic from Macpherson's English composition made by his friends to conceal the fraud and maintain provinĀ­cial pride. He himself never produced the originals of his poems, and took refuge in a silence which went far to confirm the impression of fraud and forgery. But whether he had any direct originals or not, and the weight of probability is that he had not, his poems were unquestionably founded on the vast mass of Celtic poetry and legend existing in Ireland and Scotland in tradition and manuscript. The names of his heroes, their characters and their exploits, are to be found in this poetry, and many of his most admired episodes and descriptions, like
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