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shall find more, which have not occurred in the examination of the fire senses.
Such original and natural judgments are therefore a part of that furniture which nature hath given to the human understanding. They are the inspiration of the Almighty, no less than our notions or simple apprehensions. They serve to direct us in the common affairs of life, where our realoning faculty would leave us in the dark. They are a part of our constitution, and all the discoveries of our reason are grounded upon them. They make up what is called the common sense of mankind; and what is manifestly contrary to any of those first principles, is what we call abfurd. The strength of them is good sense, which is often found in those who are not acute in reasoning. A remarkable deviation from them, arifing from a disorder in the constitution, is what we call lunacy; as when a man believes that he is made of glass. When a man suffers himself to be reasoned out of the principles of common sense, by metaphysi. cal arguments, we may call this metaphysical lunacy; which difers from the other species of the distemper in this, that it is not continued, but intermittent : it is apt to seize the Patient in solitary and speculative moments; but when he enters into society, Common Sense recovers her authority. A clear explication and enumeration of the principles of common sense, is one of the chief defiderata in logic. We have only considered such of them as occurred in the examination of the five senses.'
We have now given a pretty full, and, we hope, a distinct account of the principal things contained in this work, which we cannot help considering as one of the most instructive and entertaining metaphysical performances in the English language. In some points we cannot agree with the ingenious Author, or rather, do not fully understand him. He appears, indeed, to have studied his fubjeét with such exactness, and to have paid so uncommon a degree of attention to the operations of the human Mind, that when we differ from him, we cannot help suspecting our own judginents.
He has given several intimations, that he intends to consider some other powers of the human Mind, and we shall be extremely sorry if he does not prosecute his design. The doctrine of the existence of ideas, or images of things in the mind, deserves a more particular and accurate examination than he has yet bestowed upon it, and we hope he will consider what he has now offered to the public, as in some measure, imperfect without it. He has, no doubt, given Scepticism a very severe blow, but he must do more, before he gains a compleat victory.
Some Specimens of the Poetry of the antient Welsh Bards, Trans
lated into English, with explanatory Notes on the historical Páf-
publications of ancient poetry, gave occasion to the present work : but the Translator allures us to the contrary, and tells us, this undertaking was first thought of and encouraged fome years before the name of Offian was known in England. This being the case, and as Mr. Evans does not pretend to set these poems in competition with those of the Erse bard, translated by Mr. Macpherlon, we shall not enter into a comparative discui. fion of their merit. Such a comparison, indeed, should it not turn out to the advantage of the present Editor, might be censured as a little invidious ; since after the appearance of Oslian's poems, his design of giving the public these specimens of Welsh poetry was not totally laid aside. Before the publie cation of the Erse poems, our Translator might, without any impeachment of his taste, have conceived that his verfion would reflect some honour on his country; but we are not a little apprehenfive that the mere English Reader, who cannot relish the beauties of these poems in the original Welsh, will be tempted to under-rate their merit, : Our Translator conceives that no nation in Europe poffsles greater * remains of antient and genuine pieces of this kind than the Welsh ; and that though they may vie with the Scots in that particular, yet there is another point in which they muft undoubtedly yield to them; this is the circumstance of the antient Scottish poet's being still perfectly intelligible, which is by no means the case with the Welsh. < What this difference is owing to,' says he, 'I leave to be determined by
We hardly know what to understand by this term greater. Doch Mr. Evans mean a greater number of pieces, larger pieces, or pieces of greater poetical merit? By the specimens he e given, we cannot conceive he meant the latter; the poets of those days, being evidently too much tinctured with the monkiih Christianity of the times, to admit of the genuine effusions of pagan 'sublimity, and their notions of the Chiltian religion were too gross to permit them to soar to the fublime of more modern writers. Either Oslian's poems were really much inore antique, or the Transacor bath very judiciously taken care to discard all the undefined sentiments of religion, which he knew would have a bad effect in the translation.
others, who are better acquainted with such circumstances of the Scottish Highlands, as might prove favourable towards keeping up the perfect knowledge of their language for so many generations. At the same time he observes, that the works of Taliesin, and other celebrated bards who flourished about the year 560, a considerable time after Ossian, are hardly understood by the best critics and antiquarians in Wales; tho' the Welsh language hath not undergone more changes than the Erse.
It appears by this innuendo that Mr. Evans entertains some doubts of the authenticity of Ollian's poems; for if we are to judge from the general circumstances and situation of the Scottish Highlands, it is hardly possible to conceive that an uniformity of language should thus prevail for so many ages among a people who have almost as many different dialects as they have glens or parishes. This difficulty becomes ftill greater when applied to the poems of Olian, which, the Editor avers, have been preserved and transmitted by oral tradition. But this is not the place to discuss this point, as Mr. Evans profeffes it is not his intention to enter into the dispute arisen on this head. With regard to the authenticity of the present poems, we are inforined that they were taken from among many others of greater length, and of equal merit, from a manuscript of the learned Dr. Davies, which he had transcribed from an antient vellum MS. which was written partly in Edward the second and third's time, and partly in Henry the fifth's, containing the works of all the bards from the conquest to the death of Llewelyn, the last prince of the British line.'
With respect to the subjects usually sung by these Welsh bards, we are told they were the brave feats of their warriours in the field, their hospitality and generolity, with other commendable qualities in domestic life; as also elegies upon their great men, which were sung to the harp at their feasts, before a numerous audience of their friends and relations. The specimens here given are ten in number, each of them being preceded by an account of the author, and the occasion on which the piece was written. We shall select the tenth, written by the famous Taliesin; of whose name most of our Readers may pofsibly have heard.
Gwyddno Garanir, was a petty King of Crantre'r Gwaelod, whose country was drowned by the sea, in a great inundation that happened about the year 560, through the carelessness of the person into whose care the dams were committed, as appears from a poem of Taliesin upon that sad catastrophe. In his time the famous Taliefin lived, whose birth and education is thus related in our antient manuscripts.' He was found exposed in a wear belonging to Gwyddno, the profit of which he 24 Mr. Evans's Specimens of antient Welsh Poetry. had granted to his son, prince Elphin, who, being an extrava. gant youth, and not finding the usual success, grew melancholy; and his fishermen attributed his misfortune to his riotous irregular life. When the prodigal Elphin was thus bewailing his misfortune; the fishermen espied a coracle with a child in it, enwrapped in a leathern bag, whom they brought to the young prince, who ordered care to be taken of him, and when he grew up gave him the best education, upon which he became the most celebrated bard of his time. The accomplished Taliesin was introduced by Elphin to his father Gwyddno's court, where he delivered him a poem, giving an account of himself, intituled, Hanes Taliesin, or Taliesin's History; and at the same cime another to his patron and benefactor Elphin, to console him upon his past misfortune, and to exhort him to put his trust in Divine Providence. This is a fine moral piece, and very arifully addressed by the Bard, who introduces him felf in the person and character of an exposed infant. To Elplin, the Son of Gwydino Garanir, King of Cantrer' Gwaelod to comfort himn upon his ill success at the wear*; and to exhort
him to trust in Divine Providence' I. FAIR Elphin, cease to weep, let no man be discon
tented with his fortune; to despair avails nothing. It is not that which man sees that supports him. Cynllo's prayer will not be ineffectual. God will never break his promise. There never was in Gwyddno's Wear such good luck as tonight.'
II. - Fair Elphin, wipe the tears from thy face ! Pensive melancholy will never profit thee; though thou thinkest thou haft no gain ; certainly too much forrow will do thee no good; doubt not of the great Creator's wonders; though I am but little, yet am I endowed with great gifts. From the seas and mountains, and froin the bottom of rivers, God sends wealth to the good and happy man.'
III. • Elphin, with the lovely qualities, thy behaviour is unmanly, thou oughtest not be over penfive. To trust in God is better than to forebode evil. Though I am but small and flender on the beach of the foaming main, I fall do thee more good in the day of distress than three hundred salmons.'
IV. Elphin, with the noble qualities, murmur not at thy 'misfortune : Though I am but weak on my leathern couch, there dwelleth a gift on my tongue. While I continue to be thy protection, thou needest not fear any disaster. If thou
Wear is made with hurdles, generally either in the sea or near the mouth of great rivers, to catch fish.
delireft the aflistance of the ever blessed Trinity, nothing can do thee burt.'
To these poems, the Translator hath added a Latin differtation on the characters and circumstances of the antient Welth bards; a set of men who were held, even so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth in no mean estimation, as appears, among other evidence, by a royal commission issued by that Princeto in their favour.
Miscellaneous Pieces in Literature, History, and Philosophy. By
Mr. D'Alembert, Member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions at Paris. Translated from the French. 12mo. 35. Henderson.
T is a little surprising, as the Translator of these pieces justly I
observes, that an Author of such distinguished merit as Mr. D'Alembert, should be hitherto so little known to the Englifh Reader. It is indeed a subject of some reproach to this nation, that genuine philosophical criticism should make its first appearance with success in France. After the world in general had acquiesced in the title bestowed on us, as a nation of philosophers, it was but reasonable to expect that the precision of the sciences and the graces of poetry would have first formed their union, in a country where both have been cultivated with the greatest success. Have we so long decried the superficiality of French literature and French criticism, to fee them bear away the prize, for which they were held too incapable of entering the lists, to contend? Have our English critics been ridiculously pluming themselves on their superiority over a Dacier, a Räcine, or a Boffu, to see themselves left as far inferior to a Diderot or a D'Alembert? We shall not take 'upon us to answer these queries ; but we cannot help being entirely of opinion with our Author, when he asserts, en passant, that the rational esteem of a philosopher does more honour to great writers, than the exclamations of a college, and the prejudice of pedants.' The Literati in England seem to have been misled by the miltaken notions they have entertained of the absolute difference between the superficial and profound. It is universally allowed that the English, are most profoundly skilled in the most profound sciences ; it is equally certain also, that they are as eminently skilled in the superficial. There is no doubt but we have in England virtuosi that collect thells and butterflies, and antiquarians that know how to value blind inscriptions and kuilated busts, as well as the best of France and Italy. This, howeyer, if we may use the expression, is a very superficial pro