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Give me that sword, my foe! I love the wandering blood of Cathba.
Published by Lackington, Allen, & Co July 12. 1803.
Fingal Book I, p. 209.
BY JAMES MACPHERSON, ESQ.
IN TWO VOLUMES..
PRINTED BY J. D. DEWICK,
FOR LACKINGTON, ALLEN, AND CO.
TEMPLE OF THE MUSES, FINSBURY-SQUARE.
WITHOUT encreasing his genius, the Author may have improved his language, in the eleven years, that the following Poems have been in the hands of the Public. Errors in diction might have been committed at twenty-four, which the experience of a riper age may remove; and some exuberances in imagery may be restrained, with advantage, by a degree of judgment acquired in the progress of time. Impressed with this opinion, he ran over the whole with attention and accuracy; and, he hopes, he has brought the work to a state of correctness, which will preclude all future improvements.
The eagerness, with which these Poems have been received abroad, are a recom
pence for the coldness with which a few have affected to treat them at home. All the polite nations of Europe have transferred them into their respective languages; and they speak of him, who brought them to light, in terms that might flatter the vanity of one fond of fame. In a convenient indifference for a literary reputation, the Author hears praise without being elevated, and ribaldry without being depressed. He has frequently seen the first bestowed too precipitately; and the latter is so faithless to its purpose, that it is often the only index to merit in the present age.
Though the taste, which defines genius, by the points of the compass, is a subject fit for mirth in itself, it is often a serious matter in the sale of a work: When rivers define the limits of abilities, as well as the boundaries of countries, a writer may measure his success, by the latitude under which he was born. It was to avoid a part of this inconvenience,