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the man who writes difFers greatly from the fame man in common
life. His foibles, however, are obliterated by death, and his better
part, his writings, remain: his charadler is formed from them, and
he that was no extraordinary man in his own time, becomes the
wonder of fucceeding ages. — From this fource proceeds our vene-
ration for the dead. Their virtues remain, but the vices, which
were once blended with their virtues, have died with themfelves.
This confideration might induce a man, diffident of his abilities,
to afcribe his own compoiitions to a perfon, whofe remote antiquity
and whofc fituation, â– when alive, might well anA\'er for faults which
would be inexcufable in a writer of this age. An ingenious gentler-
man made this obfervation, before he knew any thing but the
name of the epic poem, which is printed in the following colledlloA.
When he had read it, liis fentiments were changed. He found it
abounded too much with thofe ideas, that only belpng to the moft
early ftate of fociety, to be the work of a modern poet. Of tliis, I
am perfuaded, the public will be as thoroughly convinced, as this
gentleman was, when they fliall fee the poems; and that feme will
think, notwithftanding the difadvantages with which tine works aicrib-
cd to Offian appear, it would be a very uncomn-ion inftance of felf-*
denial in me to difown them, were they really of my cpmpoiitiojn,
I WOULD not have dwelt fo long upop this fubjedl, efpecially as
I have anfwered all reafonable objedlions to the genuinenefs of the
poems in the Diflertation, were it not on accouttt of tlie prejudices
of tlie prefent age againfl the ancient inhabitants of Britain, who are
thought to have been incapable of the generous fentiments tQ be
met with in the poems of Offian. — If we err in praiftftg too. uuach
the times of our forefathers, it is alfo as repugnant to good feijfe„

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