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P R E F A C E.
to be altogether blind to the imperfedtions of our own. If our fa-
thers had not fo much wealth, they had certainly fewer vices than
the prefent age. Their tables, it is true, were not fo well provide.!,
neither were their beds fo foft as thofe of modern times'; and this, in
(he eyes of men who place their ultimate happinefs in thofe conve-
niences of life, gives us a great advantage over them. I {hall not enter
farther into this fubjedl, but only obferve, that the general poverty of
a nation has not the fame influence, that the indigence of indivi-
duals, in an opulent country, has, upon the manners of the com-
munity. The idea of meannefs, wliich is now conned:ed with a
narrow fortune, had its rife after commerce had thrown too niuch
property into the hands of a few ; for the poorer fort, imitating the
vices of the rich, were obliged to have recourfe to roguery and cir-
cunivention, in order to fupply their extravagance, lb that they
were, not without reafon, reckoned, in more than one fenfe, the
woril of the people.
It is now two years fince the firft tranflations from the Galic
language were handed about among people of tafte in Scotland.
They became at laft fo much corrupted, through the carelefsnefs of
tranfcribers, that, for my own fake, I was obliged to print the cre-
nuine copies. Some other pieces were added, to fwell the pubhca-
tion into a pamphlet, which was entitled. Fragments of Ancient
Poetry. — The Fragments, upon their firfl appearance, were fo much
approved of, that feveral people of rank, as well as taflc, prevailed
with me to make a journey into the Highlands and weftern illes, in
order to recover what remained of the. works of the old bards, efpc-
cially thofe of Ollian, the fon of Fingal, who was the befl:, as well
as moil ancient, of thofe who are celebrated in tradition for their
poetical genius. 1 undertook this journey, more from a defnc
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