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belief in them at her trial. “She charm us in the poetry of the was prophesied of by Merlin ”; Celt. These beauties come of the but, contrary to the orthodox loneliness, the contact with naopinion of the
contemporary ture, the fond dwelling on the clergy, before the Council of Con- past, the living in fantasy, which stance, Jeanne boldly declared circumstances have forced on both that of Merlin she had the poorest Celts and Finns. They are rather opinion. “She did not recognise the result of environment and of Pope or Church,”—though she ap- history than of race, the Celts pealed to the Pope and the Coun- being “ Aryans” like the rest of cil of Basel! In a note M. Renan us, and the Finns being Ugrians. moderates these Celtic opinions, Into the problematic lore about later exaggerated by Henri the distinctive shapes of the Celtic Martin. Still, we already per- and Teutonic skulls we must deceive the Celtic tendency to claim cline to go; it is quite enough to whatever is excellent in a certain talk of “Celtic, Teutonic, and way as “Celtic,” even if the facts Greek genius," as of a thing deare wrong, and the so-called Celt, termined by race. The Celtic La Pucelle, is a native of the genius is emotional, Mr Arnold more or less originally Teutonic said, and unscientific, though, if Marches. For the rest, M. Renan necessary, Neo-Celts could doubtjustly asserts for his Celts delicacy less prove Celtic blood in Newof fancy, love of the pre-Christian ton and Darwin as easily as in supernatural, and high antiquity Dean Swift and Mr Louis Stevenof tradition, all these blending son. “ The Celt has not produced into the great Arthurian cycle of great poetical works," but his romance,
poetry has “an air of greatness,” Mr Arnold followed, and ex- and "snatches of singular beauty panded, M. Renan's ideas in his and power.” 'Lectures on the Study of Celtic From the Celtic element in Literature' (1867). With much our population (according to Mr that Mr Arnold said every lover Arnold) English poetry got style, of literature, and of a life not melancholy, natural magic. Or, wholly “practical,” will agree. if not from the Celtic element, His information, though he had Mr Arnold asks, then whence not the Celtic tongues, was wider did it get them ? We shall than the rather scanty lore which not, with some ethnologists, say M. Renan displayed. But he ar. “ from Finnish substratum.” gued in the usual way. He quoted The ethnological question as to Taliesin's lines on his own meta- what proportion of Celtic blood morphoses, as essentially Celtic, survived “the English conquest," and did not observe the very outside of Wales, Cornwall, and similar and equally poetical pas. the Highlands, nobody can sage in the “Kalewala,” the "epic swer. There would be intermarpoem” (so called) of the Finns. riages twelve hundred years ago. Now Finns are not Celts, yet the But, when the Celtic language and features of delicacy, love of Celtic personal names vanished, nature, love of the supernatural the surviving Celts would sink and of magic, and the tone of de- into the lowest grades of the feated melancholy, which charm population. What have these us in Finnish old popular poetry, grades done for poetry south of are precisely the things which Tweed ? Almost nothing! Their
ballads and tales are notoriously “the faithful way of handling flat and prosaic, doubtless the nature, the Greek way, and the result of circumstances and of magical way,” which is Celtic. surroundings. But it is plain Keats had “the Greek way,” but that such Celts as survived the Keats was not a Greek, and could English conquest would chiefly, if not read Greek. If he had also not exclusively, survive in what the Celtic way, is that because is the least imaginative and poeti- he was a Celt— because of “the cal of social strata. This they Celtic element”? If he could get have not leavened, as far as our the Greek way, untaught of and knowledge goes, and it is there- undescended from Greeks, why in fore unlikely that they leavened the world should he not be born most the classes which have pro- with the Celtic way, with no aid duced English poetry, the very from a drop of Celtic blood ? classes into which they must have Shakespeare had " the Greek survived least.
note” as well as “the Celtic note," Finding style in Icelandic lit- and, as a Greek element in Elizaerature, and not in the Nibel- bethan England is out of the ungen Lied,' Mr Arnold actually question, we must suppose that deduced it from Celtic settlers in it is not race which gives Greek Iceland, before the Norse occupa- potentialities to Englishmen. Then tion! Lord Strangford denied the why should race give them Celtic facts, but Neo - Celts may make potentialities? Macaulay was Celwhat they can out of Icelandic tic enough-a reverend Highland and Scandinavian contact with ancestor of his tried to sell Prince the Islands and Ireland. 1 Mr Charles yet Mr Arnold selects Arnold then places Milton, Talie- Macaulay as a contemner of Celtic sin, and Pindar among poets "in- MSS., and as a prize Philistine. toxicated with the passion for Where does Celticism come in
But Pindar was not a here? But if Macaulay had Celt; and what proof have we, written like Keats, the Neo-Celts except his “passion for style,” would have explained his gift as that Milton owed anything to a Celtic inheritance. Celtic blood ? If we have, in The sum of Mr Arnold's arguCeltic poetry, Llywarch Hen's ment is this: he finds certain passionate aversion to old age, qualities in Celtic poetry, he does we have also that of Alcæus, of not find them in German, though Mimnermus, of the author of he does discover a few in Icelandic Ecclesiastes, none of them Cel poetry. He recognises them all tic precisely. If we have “the in the poetry of England (where Titanic" in Manfred and Lara, we there must be some Celtic blood), have it in Prometheus. Æschylus and he attributes these qualities was not a Celt, nor was Alfieri to the Celtic element in the Engor Leopardi, perhaps. To be sure, lish, and even in the Icelanders. Miss Fiona Macleod talks of a That these qualities exist in poetry “Hellenic Celt," but
where Celtic elements of race do idle words.
not occur (as among Finns and Mr Arnold now discriminates Slavs), that Greek qualities abound
| Islay appears to be on Mr Arnold's side as to a Celtic settlement in Iceland. Mr Craigie, in • Arkiv för Nordisk Filologi,' x. 149, shows that Celts learned much from Scandinavians, and taught very little.
where Greek elements of race are
book with remarkable absent, that the historical circum- fortunes. A reprint edited by a stances and local conditions of the Celtic scholar would have filled a English-a maritime people—have place in the controversy on epic not been those of the Germans, national poems. Macpherson really and may have helped to differ- takes rank between Verkovitch for entiate English from German Bulgaria and Lönnrot for Finpoetry, are facts which do not land, though nearer Verkovitch. weigh with Mr Arnold.
A comparatively brief historical style, our melancholy, our natural introduction might have explained magic, must all be due to an im- the evolution of Macpherson's perceptible strain of the blood and 'Ossian' both in the English and the inherited qualities of the Celt, the Gaelic. Mr Sharp offers no though our Greek qualities are such guide: his introduction is not derived from the blood of the mainly an attempt to summarise Greeks. Such arguments as these the ideas of Mr Alfred Nutt, of need only to be stated. They Campbell of Islay, and of Mr are not scientific, they would not Hector Maclean. We do not satisfy science, yet they have a wish to press hard on an editor pseudo-scientific ethnological air. engaged in a work desirable in In fact, they are Popular Science. itself, and we shall not make sport It is impossible to disprove them: out of the differences between Mr we may have a Celtic drop in our Sharp's account of Mr Nutt's veins, and that Celtic drop may views and the very necessary corcarry with it Celtic qualities in rection of his account in the corpoetry. But it is certain that rigenda. Mr Nutt is alive to take these qualities are not exclusively care of himself, but Islay is dead, Celtic, and if there be “Greek and we may be allowed to emend notes," it is certain that these Mr Sharp's hurried, or confused, may be developed by poets with and certainly most bewildering, no Greek blood or training. Thus version of Islay's ideas. Mr Arnold's Celtic theory, if not For instance (p. xvii), Mr Sharp demonstrably untrue, is, at least, writes thus : “Professor O’Curry unproved and superfluous.
says" something not unimportant. We now turn to Mr Arnold's Since O'Curry, as quoted by Mr successors, and first to Mr William Sharp, yields no meaning, we turn Sharp as a critic and editor of to Islay, whose Ossianic theory Mr Macpherson's 'Ossian.'1 Mr Ar- Sharp is trying to summarise. nold asserts that Macpherson's Islay avers that O'Curry "no
Ossian,' after all deductions, has where ” says what Mr Sharp makes “the very soul of the Celtic genius him say. Again, Mr Sharp writes in it." Wordsworth, despite his that the first book in the Irish own
“natural magic,” denounced characters was printed in 1571, the book as worthless bombast, and "so far it appears that Gaelic without any single truth to nature Scotland was ahead of Ireland in in it. We need not decide where the literary race, for the first poets disagree, but we may examine known Gaelic book was printed in Mr Sharp's Introductory Essay. Edinburgh."
However low our opinion of We confess to having been totally Macpherson's "Ossian' may be, it puzzled by this argument.
1 Centenary Edition.
Patrick Geddes, Edinburgh.
first Irish book printed appeared proves the point. Mc Sharp omits in 1571 ; but Scotland must have the proof. been earlier in the field, because Islay's final opinion, or one of " the first Gaelic book was printed his final opinions, is given thus : in Edinburgh.” Where is “the “I do not assert that the poet's therefore”? as Squire Western name [the poet of the Gaelic says. Mr Sharp is guiding the "Ossian' printed in 1807] was unlearned Sassenach into the Ossian. I deny on good grounds Celtic Paradise, but the Sassenach that it was James Macpherson. I flounders into this logical Slough maintain that a poet, and a Scotch of Despond. “Where is the there- Highlander, composed all these fore ?” he asks. Well, Islay gives Gaelic lines separately, if not the date of the first Gaelic book, together; and ... it is possible printed in Edinburgh, as 1567, that there may be fragments of whereas the first Irish book is of sentimental poetry, different from 1571. That is the reason why the popular ballads, more modern, Islay thinks Gaelic was in print but certainly older than 1730,"— before Irish, but the date is exactly this in spite of “modern language, the fact which Mr Sharp omits. and English idioms."
Indeed, readers of Mr Sharp Mr Sharp does not add Islay's must be warned that, without statement (he really wavered in a Islay's essay in the hand, Mr candid, if confusing way), that Sharp's is absolutely unintelligible. “this is my own opinion,” but Either he has failed to understand that, as no man “is a fair judge Islay (a writer who demands close of a written language in which attention), or he has summarised he does not think,
” he “prefers him with unfortunate haste and the opinion” of a Highland shoecarelessness.
“ This is not the Here is a singular example. Mr old stuff." Sharp observes: “At this day We agree with the shoemaker. men still point out Dun Finn in Macpherson's 'Ossian' “is not the Arran, and explain ‘Ar-ainn' to old stuff,” nor anything like it. mean "Ar-fhinn,' Fin's land. . .. The truth is that Islay, in 1872, Inseabh-Gall, the Hebrides, were withdrew from the half-hearted so called from their Norse masters. hankering after authenticity in This, then, proves that Scotland was Macpherson's 'Ossian' which he considered to be the land of Fionn allowed to appear in his essay of eighty years before Macpherson 1862. No one could guess this published anything." Where is from Mr Sharp's text, and in his the proof?
corrigenda he tells the reader that The explanation, given by Islay, the essay of 1862 is “adequate but omitted by Mr Sharp, is simply and more easily procurable.” But that the Fairy Minister, Mr Kirk he does not say that Islay, in 1872, of Aberfoyle, quotes or com poses, declared that his later studies had in his Gaelic translation of the "turned the authenticity upside Psalms (1684), four lines in which down." the Highlands are called
We offer another instance of Mr generous land of Fionn.” Kirk Sharp's odd summary of Islay's “flourished” at the time of the ideas: “If the statement of Mr Revolution of 1688. His quatrain MacGilvray, given at page 50 of
the dissertation prefixed to the uine old ballad, Macpherson (or, if large edition of Ossian' (1807), is you please, an unknown predecesnot a deliberate falsehood, there is sor about 1680 1730) foisted “a an end of the argument which vague but masterly word-picture makes Macpherson the author." of a landscape"--à la Mr Whistler Now, what is Mr MacGilvray's _"through which stalk the half
-“ statement? Mr Sharp does not described indistinct features of
Mr MacGilvray had said gloomy warriors. . . . The ballad (according to Islay) that “the is simple and natural; the epic very poems which were translated [Macpherson's Ossian '] is laband published, 'Fingal,' • Temora,' oured and artificial, and it is no and many others, were collected in translation, according to my defiGaelic in Scotland, from the nition of the word, but it is like people, long before 1760, and these something elaborated and built up were subsequently compared with out of the materials of one or more Macpherson's published transla- ballads." As the shoemaker said tions at Douay, by Mr Farquhar- of this very piece, • Temora,'
" son, the collector of the Gaelic, " Cha' n' e so an seann stugh who did not know Macpherson, (“It is not the old stuff”). The and the translations were found stuff is, in place of the genuine ... to be, in the main, transla- mythical opening of the ballad, tions as far as they went.” “The blue waves of Erin roll in
Then where is Mr Farquhar- light. The mountains are covered son's manuscript ? “It was torn, with day. Trees shake their and leaves were used by the Douay dusky heads in the breeze. Grey students to light their fires." It torrents pour their noisy streams, is like the poll-book of the dis- &c., K.7.1., 4.8.W. Macpherson, or puted Irish election. " It fell into some other impostor, gave us this, the broth, and the dog ate it.” So while cribbing his outline and some much for the statement of Mr materials, from the old ballad. MacGilvray, which Mr Sharp Macpherson's character for probmight have given, it is so deli- ity, in the affair of the Stuart ciously Celtic.
Papers in the Scots College, does In fact, there are old ballads not enable us to place much conabout Ossianic heroes, but no epic fidence in his assertions. has ever been found. Morven, the Mr Sharp admits that the kingdom thereof, is unknown out- "Ossian' of Macpherson is not a side Macpherson's book, unknown genuine rendering of ancient in traditional songs or stories. originals, that he "works incoAs to style, Islay gives a correct herently” upon a "genuine but rendering of a Gaelic "run" or unsystematised, unsifted, and frag. conventional
passage, and then does mentary basis," and adds that “if it into Macpherson's peculiar spe- he were the sole author he would cies of fustian. "The difficulty," “
be one of the few poetic creators "would be to find an of the first rank,”—a class of men audience nowadays" for such who never wrote fustian, we may trash. Into fragments of a gen- add, never produced what Mr
1 Can this have been Farquharson of Ardlerg, an exile after the Forty-five, and a correspondent of Bishop Forbes ? · See Index to “The Lyon in Mourning,' published by the Scottish History Society, and Farquharson's letters to Forbes.
2 Popular Tales of the West Highlands, ii. 439; iv. 140.