As if pointing to a condition of primeval happiness, Poetry has been the first language of nations. The Lyric Muse has especially chosen the land of natural sublimity, of mountain and of flood; and such scenes she has only abandoned when the inhabitants have sacrificed their national liberties. Edward I., who massacred the Minstrels of Wales, might have spared the butchery, as their strains were likely to fall unheeded on the ears of their subjugated countrymen. The martial music of Ireland is a matter of tradition; on the first step of the invader the genius of chivalric song and melody departed from Erin. Scotland retains her independence, and those strains which are known in northern Europe as the most inspiriting and delightful, are recognised as the native minstrelsy of Caledonia. The origin of Scottish song and melody is as difficult of settlement as is the era or the genuineness of Ossian. There probably were songs and music in Scotland
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