Skip to main content

‹‹‹ prev (26)

(28) next ›››

A N T I QU I T I E S, See. of O S S I AN's P O E M S. vli
Britain, induced the perfecuted Chriftians to take refuge under him.
Some of them, through a zeal to propagate their tenets, or through
fear, went beyond the pale of the Roman empire, and fettled among
the Caledonians ; who were the more ready to hearken to their
doftrines, as the religion of the Druids had been exploded fo long
These miffionaries, either through choice, or to give more
weight to the doftrine they advanced, took pofTeflion of the cells
and groves of the Druids ; and it was from this retired life they had
the name of Culdees, which in the language of the country lignified Culdich,
fequejiered perfom. It was with one of the Culdees that OfTian, in
his extreme old age, is laid to have difputed concerning the Chriilian
religion. This difpute is ftill extant, and is couched in verfe, ac-
cording to the cuftom of the times. The extreme ignorance on the
part of Offian, of the Chriftian tenets, fhews, that that religiou
had only been lately introduced, as it is not eafy to conceive, hov/
one of the firfl rank could be totally unacquainted with a religion
that had been known for any time in the country. The dif-
pute bears the genuine marks of antiquity. The obfolete phrafes
and expreflions peculiar to the times, prove it to be no forgery. If
Ofllan then lived at the introduftion of Chriftianity, as by all ap-
pearance he did, his epoch will be the latter end of the third, and
beginning of the fourth century. What puts this point beyond dif-
pute, is the allufion in his poems to the hiftory of the times.
The exploits of Fingal againft Caracul, the fon of the King of thec?irz.ehv.\\
World, are among the firft brave actions of his youth. A complete '^'■''^•'^ ^y^'
poem, which relates to this fubjed:, is printed in this colled:ion.

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence