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Fragments Of Ancient Poetry

collected in the Highlands of Scotland and translated from the Galic or Erse language

Cover image for


Author: James MacPherson (Seumas Mac a' Phearsain)
Language: English
Wordcount: 11,891 / 43 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 56.8
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 625 4678
Genre: Poetry

was to use a large number of concrete monosyllabic words of Anglo-Saxon origin to describe objects and forces common to rural life. A simple listing of the common nouns from the opening of "Fragment I" will serve to illustrate this tendency: _love, son, hill, deer, dogs, bow-string, wind, stream, rushes, mist, oak, friends_. Such diction bears an obvious kinship to what was to become the staple diction of the romantic lyric; for example, a similar listing from "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal" would be this: _slumber, spirit, fears, thing, touch, years, motion, force, course, rocks, stones, trees_.

The untamed power of Macpherson's wild natural settings is
also striking. Samuel H. Monk has made the point well:

"Ossian's strange exotic wildness and his obscure, terrible glimpses of scenery were in essence something quite new.... Ossian's images were far from "nature methodized." His imagination illumined fitfully a scene of mountains and blasted heaths, as artificially wild as his heroines were arti



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