Page images
PDF
EPUB

others. We cannot omit mentioning the second song, composed by the Rev. Mr. Mac Laggan, late Minister of Blair of Athol, to the 42d regiment, after the battle of Alexandria ; in which song he pathe. tically laments those who fell in battle, and raises their fame like another Ossian. In this collection the language is in general pure; the orthography better than any of the kind. It is to be wished the editors would take the trouble of giving to the public a literal English or Latin translation of all the poems ascribed to the most ancient Bards in this collection, that the beauty of the originals may appear to those ignorant of the Gaelic Language.

Sdiuradh na Beatha Shaoghalta, or a translation into Gaelic of the Economy of Human Life, by Alexander Maclaurin. Edinb. 1806, 12mo.

A CATALOGUE of ancient Gaelic MSS. in the Possession

of the Highland Society of Scotland &c.

+ 1. A quarto paper MS. which belonged to the Rev. James Mac Gregor, Dean of Lismore, dated, page 27, 1512. Duncan the son of Dougall, son of Ewen the Grizzled, wrote this out of the books of History of the Kings, in the year of our Lord, 1512. This MS. contains 1100 verses of Gaelic poetry. See Dr. Donald Smith's account of it in the Highland Society's Report on the Authenticity of Ossian, p. 300, Appendix.

2. A quarto paper MS. in the old Gaelic character, and in a very beautiful regular hand. No date, nor author's name appears upon it, but it is at least 200 years old. It consists of a number of ancient tales, and short poems upon the heroes of the tales ; the tales and poems are very ancient, and appear to have been copied from a much older MS. as may be easily known from a vocabulary of ancient words in the middle of the MS. The poetry of it is very beautiful, some of which is ascribed to Cuchulin. Fifty-two of the 193 pages (of which the MS. consists) are copied by Mr. Macintosh. When the whole is copied out in the Roman character a proper account of it may be given.

A quarto paper MS. in the same character, containing 35 leaves,

the beginning and end lost, partly prose, partly poetry. The whole except two loose leaves, seems to have been written in the 17th century, but the loose leaves are much older. The poetry is ancient, but not Fingalian. The name Tadg og CC, before one of the poems, near the end, is the only one to be seen upon it.

4. A quarto parchment MS. consisting of 42 leaves, same character, written by different hands, with illuminated capitals. It appears to have been four different MSS. once, and afterwards bound together, and covered with skin to preserve them ; it is a very beautiful MS. though very much soiled, and perhaps as old as any existing MS. See a short account of it in the Society's Report ; but the supposed date there is erroneous.

5. A quarto parchment, medical, MS. same character, beautifully written ; the language is very ancient and difficult to be understood, and the MS. itself must be very ancient. No date or name.

8. A quarto paper MS. part prose, part verse, in the same character, written in very coarse and different hands, and torn. No date or name upon it.

7. A small quarto paper MS. same character, coarse: the date is 1647. No name.

8. A small long octavo paper MS. the beginning and end lost, consequently no date appears upon it. It must have been written by the Macvurichs of the 15th century; in a beautiful regular hand, except a few blanks left near the middle of it, which seem to have been after. wards filled up by some modern coarse hand. It is in the same old Gaelic character with all the other MSS. Two of the poems are ascribed to Tadg Mac Daire Bruaidheadh, others to Brian O'Donalan.

9. A large folio parchment MS. in two columns, in the same charac. ter; containing a tale upon Cuchullin and Conal, two of Ossian's heroes ; it is very ancient, without date or name.

+ 10. A large quarto parchment of 7 leaves: the half leaf has been cut out for the engraved specimen of it for Mr. Astle's Origin of Writing, 18th plate, No. 1, 2, first edition. It is entiled Emanuel, a title which the old Gaelic writers gave to many of their miscellaneous writings. Mr. Astle supposes it to be of the 9th or 10th century ; some of the capitais are painted red. It is written in a strong beautiful hand, in the same character with the rest. It is but a very small fragment of a large MS. Dr. Donald Smith had a complete copy of it. See his account in the Report, page 305 of the Appendix.

11. A small octavo parchment MS. consisting of a tale in prose. It wants both beginning and end. It is nearly of the age of the foregoing MS. No. 10, and equally beautiful.

+ 12. A small octavo paper manuscript stitched, some leaves at the be. ginning and end are lost, and one of the boards. It begins with a poem upon Darthula different from Macpherson's, the whole manuscript has been written by the Macvurich's in the old Gaelic character; the names of Cathal and Nial Mor Macvurich occur at the beginning of some of the poems, which they composed in the reigns of King James the Fifth, Queen Mary, and King Charles the First; there are some Ossianic

poems

in it, such as Cnoc an àir an cnoc so h-iar, i. e. The hill of Slaughter, this hill has been, &c. This poem, I believe, is part of Macpherson's Fingal; it is the story of a woman who came walking alone to the Fingalians for protection from Taile, who was in pursuit of her, who fought the Fingalians, and was at last killed by Oscar; there was another copy of this poem in Clapronald's little book, which Laing would wish to make people believe was the Red Book; but the contrary is now proved * against him. There are also several copies of this poem in the Highland Society's possession, re. ceived from oral tradition. The second Ossianic poem in this MS. begins with

Sè la gus an dè,
O nach fhaca mi fein Fionn.

It is now six days yesterday
Since I have not seen Fingal.

This poem is also in Clanronald's book; it gives a description of Fingal's palace and heroes. I have compared both this and the other poem with those in Clanronald's book; but the leaves in which they were written were loose and detached, five in number, and given to Dr. Donald Smith, when assisting Mr. Mackenzie in making out the report on Ossian, and who died before the report was quite finished ; and unless the leaves are found in the possession of Dr. John Smith

* See Lauchlan Macvurich's declaration in the Report, p. 275; and Supplemental Observations, p. 476.

at Campbeltown, the brother of Donald, they must be lost. These leaves contained two other short poems ascribed to Ossian; I have copied these two last some years ago; the one is a genealogy of Fin. gal, the other an account of the ages of the Fingalian heroes.

13. An octavo paper MS. in the same character, poetry for the most part, but so much defaced, that it can hardly be read; it is not old, but the poetry seems to have been copied from a more ancient MS. as the poetry is good; it has no date, the name of Tadg Og and Lauchlan mac Taidg occurs upon it. It must have been written by the last Macvurichs, from its coarse modern appearance.

14. A very small octavo paper MS. in the same character, written by some of the Macvurichs, part of it is a copy of Clanronald's book, and contains the genealogy of the Lords of the Isles, and others of that great clan. The second part of the MS. consists of a genealogy of the Kings of Ireland (ancestors of the Macdonald's) from Scota and Gathelic. The last date upon it is 1616.

15. A paper MS. in the same character. A genealogy of the Kings of Ireland, without a date, and consisting of a few leaves stitched.

16. A paper MS. same character, consisting of detached leaves of different sizes, and upon different subjects, viz. the conclusion of a Gaelic chronicle of the kings of Scotland down to King Robert III. a Fingalian tale, in which the heroes are Fingal, Goll Mac Morni, Oscar, Ossian, and Conan; and upon the unwritten part of a letter sent to Donald Macvurich of Stialgary, is a poem by Macdonald of Benbecula, dated 1722, who seems to have been the last, or rather father to the bard of that name. A poem by Donald Mackenzie, one by Tadg Og CC, copied from some other MS. A poem by Donald Macvurich, upon Ronald Macdonald of Clanronald. Several hymns by Tadg, and many other good poems by the Macvurichs, and others.

17. A paper MS. in the same character, consisting of religious tracts and genealogy, in loose detached leaves, without name or date.

18. A paper Ms. of some small detached leaves, containing instructions for children in Gaelic and English, quite modern, no date.

19. Remnant leaves of a paper MS. with the name Cathelus Macvurich upon some of the leaves, and Niall Macvurich upon others. Conn Mac an Deirg, a well known ancient poem, is written in the Roman character by the last Niall Macvurich, the last bard, and father to Lauchlan, who still lives. This poem is the only one in all the Gaelic MSS. that is written in the Roman character, and it is in a very indifferent hand.

All the above MSS. received from the late John Mackenzie, Esq. Secretary of the Highland Society of London, 5th January, 1803.

CATALOGUE of the ancient MSS. which belonged to the

late Major MacLAUCALAN of Kilbride, made out at the Major's own House in Kilchoan, Nether Lorn, Argyleshire, by the Rev. Donald Mackintosh.

1. A folio parchment MS. old Gaelic character, the most beautiful and one of the most ancient in the Highland Society's possession. See a fac-simile and full account of it, by the late Dr. Donald Smith in the Report on Ossian, No. 19, p. 284.

2. A parchment quarto MS. same character, equally beautiful with the former. It is a calendar of all the feasts and fasts of the Romish church; with a treatise on Anatomy, &c. upon paper sewed in with it. See account of it in the Report, p. 293.

3. A small quarto paper MS. same character, written at Dunstaffnage, by Ewen Macphaill, 12 Oct. 1603; see Report.

4. A small octavo paper MS. in the same ancient character, writ. ten by Eamon, or Edmond Maclauchlan 1654, all good poetry. There is an Ogham, or alphabet of secret writing near the end of it. See short account of it, p. 295 Report.

5. A quarto paper MS. same character, having ninety pages lost at the beginning, and part of the end. See a short account of it, p. 296 Report. Date 169;. It was written by Ewen Maclean, for Archibald Campbell.

The five foregoing MSS. have been left with the Society, very reluctantly, by the Major, upon Mr. Mackintosh the keeper's receipt ; the other seventeen MSS. are in the possession of Captain Sim, the Major's nephew, who lives in Glasgow, viz.

6. A beautiful medical parchment MS. in the same character with the other MSS. The titles of the different articles are in Latin, as are all the medical Gaelic MSS. being translations from Galen and other ancient physicians. The capital letters are flourished and painted red. No date, or name.

« PreviousContinue »