|The Twa Dogs
Robert Burns's satirical The Twa Dogs demonstrates the absurdity of debates about social class and virtue. It takes the form of a dialogue between Caesar, a respectable upper-class dog, 'o' high degree' and a ploughman's collie called Luath, named after Cuchullin's dog in Macpherson's Fingal.
Colvin's dogs, who stand with their backs to each other at a hearth made up of the same blocks that form the desolate landscape in Blind Ossian, represent the dualities in modern Scotland. Tom Normand writes: 'In this clash, high and low culture, the classical and the modern world, the sublime and the ridiculous, are engaged in a fantasy duel. In turn, this becomes a saga of perpetual discord with Catholic and Protestant, the Highlander and the Lowlander, the Celtic Scot and the 'North Briton', competing over a contested and unattainable 'identity'.' Colvin, he says, presents the prospect of 'a world wherein these two dogs will be locked in vicious and pointless combat forevermore. This, then, is the wretched bequest of Ossian's dream, a world of unresolved conflict and perpetual despair.'