And now, in conclusion, let me recommend the study of Gaelic to Scotch antiquaries. Their worthy president lately expressed a wish to be able to knock up the dead, by the help of a table, to answer some vexed
questions:--he could get nothing even from them without knowing the language of his departed countrymen.
In the preceding pages, strange Gaelic witnesses dressed in vellum and parchment and tattered brown paper, and some few in gay attire of green and gold--queer characters, who live far up the stream of time--have appeared to answer questions, and have told a great deal about the Ossianic controversy. A good number of Lowlanders have been summoned from the past, and have deponed, sometimes in very bad language, that they knew of the Feinne, and thought them bad company, but Celtic gods.
A good number of Welsh and Breton witnesses have been called, and have confirmed what the rest bad asserted. A few Icelanders, Norwegians, Germans, and Frenchmen, a Carthaginian, and some Egyptians, Arabs, Persians, Indians, and Aryans, have said a few words. A good many Highland hills, and a few Edinburgh porters, have said their say; and the best sort of clairvoyance, as it seems to me, for my lowland countrymen to aim at, is to clear their eyes from lowland prejudice, and take a look at Gaelic, when they want to find out something which happened before that language was driven into corners. A large proportion of the names about Edinburgh are Gaelic; but no one there will look so near home as the first Highland porter for an explanation of their meaning. Men would rather go to Wales or Brittany than look at home for anything British," and even Sir Walter Scott, who wrote amongst a Gaelic population, made the strangest of mistakes when he used Gaelic words.
As I have done my best to make peace between Celt and Celt, and Celt and Saxon, I wished to end with a peaceful Gaelic quotation; but having searched right
through divers song books, I have utterly failed to discover one that will suit. Bards are a pugnacious race. I can only say with Motherwell and the Gaelic proverb--
"Gree, bairnies, gree."
"S e deireadh gach cogaidh sith."
The end of each strife is peace.
Even the strife and confusion of tails, which some ancient Gaelic artist imagined and depicted centuries ago; even the "Ossianic controversy," and its confusion of tongues and arguments; "Mythology;" "West Highland Tales;" even this lengthy postscript and its tail-piece--all have a beginning, a middle, and
370:1 Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. iii., p. 249.