James Macpherson

1736 - 1796


Fingal: An Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books:

Together with Several other Poems by Ossian










THE tranſlator thinks it neceſſary to make the public acquainted with the motives which induced him to depart from his propoſals concerning the Originals. Some men of genius, whom he has the honour to number among his friends, adviſed him to publiſh propoſals for printing by ſubſcription the whole Originals, as a better way of ſatiſfying the public concerning the authenticity of the poems, than depoſiting manuſcript copies in any public library. This he did; but no ſubſcribers appearing, he takes it for the judgment of the public, that neither the one or the other is neceſſary. However, there is a deſign on foot to print the Originals, as ſoon as the tranſlator ſhall have time to tranſſcribe them for the preſs; and if this publication ſhall not take place, copies will then be depoſited in one of the public libraries, to prevent ſo ancient a monument of genius from being loſt.

THE tranſlator thanks the public for the more than ordinary encouragement given him, for executing this work. The number of his ſubſcribers does him honour. He could have preſented to the public the firſt names in the nation; but, though more have come to his hands, than have appeared before the works of authors of eſtabliſhed reputation, yet many more have ſubſcribed; and be chuſes to print none at all rather than an imperfect liſt. Deeply ſenſible of the generoſity of a certain noble perſon, the tranſlator yet avoids to name him, as his exalted ſtation, as well as merit, has raiſed him above the panegyric of one ſo little known.