The public may depend on the following Fragments as genuine remains of Ancient Scottish Poetry.
The date of their composition cannot be exactly ascertained. Tradition, in the country where they were written, refers them to an era of the most remote antiquity ; and this tradition is supported by the spirit and strain of the poems themselves ; which abound with those ideas, and paint those manners, that belong to the most early state of society. The diction too, in the original, is very obsolete ; and differs widely from the style of such Poems as have been written in the same language two or three centuries ago. They were certainly composed before the establishment of Clanship in the northern part of Scotland, which is itself very ancient, for had clans been then formed and known, they must have made a considerable figure in the work of a Highland Bard ; whereas there is not the least mention of them in these Poems. It is remarkable that there are found in them no allusions to the Christian religion or worship ; indeed, few traces of religion of any kind.
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