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the man ^Tho writes differs greatly from the fame man in common
life. His foibles, however, are obliterated by ieath, and his better
part, his writings, remain : his charafter is formed from them, and
he that was no extraordinary man in his own time, becomes the
wonder of fucceeding ages. — From this fource proceed-, our vene-
ration for the dead. Their virtues remain, but the vices, which
were once blended with their virtues, have died with themfelv=s.
This confideration might induce a man, diffident of his abilities,
to afcribe his own compofitions to a perfon, whofe remote antiquity
and whofe fituation, when alive, might well anfwer for fiults which
would be inexcufable in a writer of this age. An ingenious gentle-
man made this obfervation, before he knew any thing but the
name of the epic poem, which is printed in the following collecStion.
When he had read it, his fentiments were changed. He found it
abounded too much with thofe ideas, that only belong to the moil
early ftate of fociety, to be the work of a modern poet. Of this, I
am perfuaded, the public will be as thoroughly convinced, as this
gentleman was, when they fliall fee the poems ; and that fome will
think, notwithftanding the difadvantages v.'ith- which the works afcrib-
ed to Offian appear, it would be a very uncommon iaftance of felf-
denial in me to difown them, were they really of my compofition,
I WOULD not have dwelt fo long upon this fubjedt, efpecially as
I have anfwered all reafonable objedtions to the genuinenefs of the
poems in the DifTertation, were it not on account of the prej,udices
of the prefent age againfc the ancient inhabitants of Britain, who are
thought to have been incapable of the generous fentiments to be
met with in the poems of Offian. — If Ave err in praifing too much
the times of our forefathers, it is alfo as repugnant to good fenfe,

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