Vultures: Pope is more accurate than the poet he translates, for Homer writes "a prey to dogs and to all kinds of birds. But all kinds of birds are not carnivorous.
i.e. during the whole time of their striving the will of Jove was being gradually accomplished.
Compare Milton's "Paradise Lost" i. 6 "Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top Of Horeb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That shepherd."
Latona's son: i.e. Apollo.
King of men: Agamemnon.
Brother kings: Menelaus and Agamemnon.
Smintheus an epithet taken from sminthos, the Phrygian name for a mouse, was applied to Apollo for having put an end to a plague of mice which had harassed that territory. Strabo, however, says, that when the Teucri were migrating from Crete, they were told by an oracle to settle in that place, where they should not be attacked by the original inhabitants of the land, and that, having halted for the night, a number of field-mice came and gnawed away the leathern straps of their baggage, and thongs of their armour. In fulfilment of the oracle, they settled on the spot, and raised a temple to Sminthean Apollo. Grote, "History of Greece," i. p. 68, remarks that the "worship of Sminthean Apollo, in various parts of the Troad and its neighboring territory, dates before the earliest period of Aeolian colonization."
Cilla, a town of Troas near Thebe, so called from Cillus, a sister of Hippodamia, slain by OEnomaus.
A mistake. It should be, "If e'er I roofed thy graceful fane," for the custom of decorating temples with garlands was of later date.
Bent was his bow "The Apollo of Homer, it must be borne in mind, is a different character from the deity of the same name in the later classical pantheon. Throughout both poems, all deaths from unforeseen or invisible causes, the ravages of pestilence, the fate of the young child or promising adult, cut off in the germ of infancy or flower of youth, of the old man dropping peacefully into the grave, or of the reckless sinner suddenly checked in his career of crime, are ascribed to the arrows of Apollo or Diana. The oracular functions of the god rose naturally out of the above fundamental attributes, for who could more appropriately impart to mortals what little foreknowledge Fate permitted of her decrees than the agent of her most awful dispensations? The close union of the arts of prophecy and song explains his additional office of god of music, while the arrows with which he and his sister were armed, symbols of sudden death in every age, no less naturally procured him that of god of archery. Of any connection between Apollo and the Sun, whatever may have existed in the more esoteric doctrine of the Greek sanctuaries, there is no trace in either Iliad or Odyssey."-Mure, "History of Greek Literature," vol. i. p. 478, sq.
It has frequently been observed, that most pestilences begin with animals, and that Homer had this fact in mind.
Convened to council. The public assembly in the heroic times is well characterized by Grote, vol. ii. p 92. "It is an assembly for talk. Communication and discussion to a certain extent by the chiefs in person, of the people as listeners and sympathizers-often for eloquence, and sometimes for quarrel-but here its ostensible purposes end."
Old Jacob Duport, whose "Gnomologia Homerica" is full of curious and useful things, quotes several passages of the ancients, in which reference is made to these words of Homer, in maintenance of the belief that dreams had a divine origin and an import in which men were interested.
Rather, "bright-eyed." See the German critics quoted by Arnold.
The prize given to Ajax was Tecmessa, while Ulysses received Laodice, the daughter of Cycnus.
The Myrmidons dwelt on the southern borders of Thessaly, and took their origin from Myrmido, son of Jupiter and Eurymedusa. It is fancifully supposed that the name was derived from myrmaex, an ant, "because they imitated the diligence of the ants, and like them were indefatigable, continually employed in cultivating the earth; the change from ants to men is founded merely on the equivocation of their name, which resembles that of the ant: they bore a further resemblance to these little animals, in that instead of inhabiting towns or villages, at first they commonly resided in the open fields, having no other retreats but dens and the cavities of trees, until Ithacus brought them together, and settled them in more secure and comfortable habitations."-Anthon's "Lempriere."
Eustathius, after Heraclides Ponticus and others, allegorizes this apparition, as if the appearance of Minerva to Achilles, unseen by the rest, was intended to point out the sudden recollection that he would gain nothing by intemperate wrath, and that it were best to restrain his anger, and only gratify it by withdrawing his services. The same idea is rather cleverly worked out by Apuleius, "De Deo Socratis."
Compare Milton, "Paradise Lost," bk. ii: "Though his tongue Dropp'd manna." So Proverbs v. 3, "For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honey-comb."
Salt water was chiefly used in lustrations, from its being supposed to possess certain fiery particles. Hence, if sea-water could not be obtained, salt was thrown into the fresh water to be used for the lustration. Menander, in Clem. Alex. vii. p.713, hydati perriranai, embalon alas, phakois.
The persons of heralds were held inviolable, and they were at liberty to travel whither they would without fear of molestation. Pollux, Onom. viii. p. 159. The office was generally given to old men, and they were believed to be under the especial protection of Jove and Mercury.
His mother, Thetis, the daughter of Nereus and Doris, who was courted by Neptune and Jupiter. When, however, it was known that the son to whom she would give birth must prove greater than his father, it was determined to wed her to a mortal, and Peleus, with great difficulty, succeeded in obtaining her hand, as she eluded him by assuming various forms. Her children were all destroyed by fire through her attempts to see whether they were immortal, and Achilles would have shared the same fate had not his father rescued him. She afterwards rendered him invulnerable by plunging him into the waters of the Styx, with the exception of that part of the heel by which she held him. Hygin. Fab. 54
Thebe was a city of Mysia, north of Adramyttium.
That is, defrauds me of the prize allotted me by their votes.
Quintus Calaber goes still further in his account of the service rendered to Jove by Thetis: "Nay more, the fetters of Almighty Jove She loosed"-Dyce's "Calaber," s. 58.
To Fates averse. Of the gloomy destiny reigning throughout the Homeric poems, and from which even the gods are not exempt, Schlegel well observes, "This power extends also to the world of gods- for the Grecian gods are mere powers of nature-and although immeasurably higher than mortal man, yet, compared with infinitude, they are on an equal footing with himself."-'Lectures on the Drama' v. p. 67.
It has been observed that the annual procession of the sacred ship so often represented on Egyptian monuments, and the return of the deity from Ethiopia after some days' absence, serves to show the Ethiopian origin of Thebes, and of the worship of Jupiter Ammon. "I think," says Heeren, after quoting a passage from Diodorus about the holy ship, "that this procession is represented in one of the great sculptured reliefs on the temple of Karnak. The sacred ship of Ammon is on the shore with its whole equipment, and is towed along by another boat. It is therefore on its voyage. This must have been one of the most celebrated festivals, since, even according to the interpretation of antiquity, Homer alludes to it when he speaks of Jupiter's visit to the Ethiopians, and his twelve days' absence."-Long, "Egyptian Antiquities" vol. 1 p. 96. Eustathius, vol. 1 p. 98, sq. (ed. Basil) gives this interpretation, and likewise an allegorical one, which we will spare the reader.
Atoned, i.e. reconciled. This is the proper and most natural meaning of the word, as may be seen from Taylor's remarks in Calmet's Dictionary, p.110, of my edition.
That is, drawing back their necks while they cut their throats. "If the sacrifice was in honour of the celestial gods, the throat was bent upwards towards heaven; but if made to the heroes, or infernal deities, it was killed with its throat toward the ground."- "Elgin Marbles," vol i. p.81. "The jolly crew, unmindful of the past, The quarry share, their plenteous dinner haste, Some strip the skin; some portion out the spoil; The limbs yet trembling, in the caldrons boil; Some on the fire the reeking entrails broil. Stretch'd on the grassy turf, at ease they dine, Restore their strength with meat, and cheer their souls with wine." Dryden's "Virgil," i. 293.
Crown'd, i.e. filled to the brim. The custom of adorning goblets with flowers was of later date.
He spoke, &c. "When a friend inquired of Phidias what pattern he had formed his Olympian Jupiter, he is said to have answered by repeating the lines of the first Iliad in which the poet represents the majesty of the god in the most sublime terms; thereby signifying that the genius of Homer had inspired him with it. Those who beheld this statue are said to have been so struck with it as to have asked whether Jupiter had descended from heaven to show himself to Phidias, or whether Phidias had been carried thither to contemplate the god."- "Elgin Marbles," vol. xii p.124.
"So was his will Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath, That shook heav'n's whole circumference, confirm'd." "Paradise Lost" ii. 351.
A double bowl, i.e. a vessel with a cup at both ends, something like the measures by which a halfpenny or pennyworth of nuts is sold. See Buttmann, Lexic. p. 93 sq.
"Paradise Lost," i. 44. "Him th' Almighty power Hurl'd headlong flaming from th ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion"
The occasion on which Vulcan incurred Jove's displeasure was this-After Hercules, had taken and pillaged Troy, Juno raised a storm, which drove him to the island of Cos, having previously cast Jove into a sleep, to prevent him aiding his son. Jove, in revenge, fastened iron anvils to her feet, and hung her from the sky, and Vulcan, attempting to relieve her, was kicked down from Olympus in the manner described. The allegorists have gone mad in finding deep explanations for this amusing fiction. See Heraclides, 'Ponticus," p. 463 sq., ed Gale. The story is told by Homer himself in Book xv. The Sinthians were a race of robbers, the ancient inhabitants of Lemnos which island was ever after sacred to Vulcan. "Nor was his name unheard or unadored In ancient Greece, and in Ausonian land Men call'd him Mulciber, and how he fell From heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove Sheer o'er the crystal battlements from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, A summer's day and with the setting sun Dropp'd from the zenith like a falling star On Lemnos, th' Aegean isle thus they relate." "Paradise Lost," i. 738
It is ingeniously observed by Grote, vol i p. 463, that "The gods formed a sort of political community of their own which had its hierarchy, its distribution of ranks and duties, its contentions for power and occasional revolutions, its public meetings in the agora of Olympus, and its multitudinous banquets or festivals."
Plato, Rep. iii. p. 437, was so scandalized at this deception of Jupiter's, and at his other attacks on the character of the gods, that he would fain sentence him to an honourable banishment. (See Minucius Felix, Section 22.) Coleridge, Introd. p. 154, well observes, that the supreme father of gods and men had a full right to employ a lying spirit to work out his ultimate will. Compare "Paradise Lost," v. 646: "And roseate dews disposed All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest."
Dream ought to be spelt with a capital letter, being, I think, evidently personified as the god of dreams. See Anthon and others. "When, by Minerva sent, a fraudful Dream Rush'd from the skies, the bane of her and Troy." Dyce's "Select Translations from Quintus Calaber," p.10.
"Sleep'st thou, companion dear, what sleep can close Thy eye-lids?"-"Paradise Lost," v. 673.
This truly military sentiment has been echoed by the approving voice of many a general and statesman of antiquity. See Pliny's Panegyric on Trajan. Silius neatly translates it, "Turpe duci totam somno consumere noctem."
The same in habit, &c. "To whom once more the winged god appears; His former youthful mien and shape he wears." Dryden's Virgil, iv. 803.
` "As bees in spring-time, when The sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suburb of this straw-built citadel, New-nibb'd with balm, expatiate and confer Their state affairs. So thick the very crowd Swarm'd and were straiten'd."-"Paradise Lost" i. 768.
It was the herald's duty to make the people sit down. "A standing agora is a symptom of manifest terror (II. Xviii. 246) an evening agora, to which men came elevated by wine, is also the forerunner of mischief ('Odyssey,' iii. 138)."-Grote, ii. p. 91, note.
This sceptre, like that of Judah (Genesis xlix. 10), is a type of the supreme and far-spread dominion of the house of the Atrides. See Thucydides i. 9. "It is traced through the hands of Hermes, he being the wealth giving god, whose blessing is most efficacious in furthering the process of acquisition."-Grote, i. p. 212. Compare Quintus Calaber (Dyce's Selections, p. 43). "Thus the monarch spoke, Then pledged the chief in a capacious cup, Golden, and framed by art divine (a gift Which to Almighty Jove lame Vulcan brought Upon his nuptial day, when he espoused The Queen of Love), the sire of gods bestow'd The cup on Dardanus, who gave it next To Ericthonius Tros received it then, And left it, with his wealth, to be possess'd By Ilus he to great Laomedon Gave it, and last to Priam's lot it fell."
Grote, i, p. 393, states the number of the Grecian forces at upwards of 100,000 men. Nichols makes a total of 135,000.
"As thick as when a field Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends His bearded grove of ears, which way the wind Sways them."-Paradise Lost," iv. 980, sqq.
This sentiment used to be a popular one with some of the greatest tyrants, who abused it into a pretext for unlimited usurpation of power. Dion, Caligula, and Domitian were particularly fond of it, and, in an extended form, we find the maxim propounded by Creon in the Antigone of Sophocles. See some important remarks of Heeren, "Ancient Greece," ch. vi. p. 105.
It may be remarked, that the character of Thersites, revolting and contemptible as it is, serves admirably to develop the disposition of Ulysses in a new light, in which mere cunning is less prominent. Of the gradual and individual development of Homer's heroes, Schlegel well observes, "In bas-relief the figures are usually in profile, and in the epos all are characterized in the simplest manner in relief; they are not grouped together, but follow one another; so Homer's heroes advance, one by one, in succession before us. It has been remarked that the Iliad is not definitively closed, but that we are left to suppose something both to precede and to follow it. The bas-relief is equally without limit, and may be continued ad infinitum, either from before or behind, on which account the ancients preferred for it such subjects as admitted of an indefinite extension, sacrificial processions, dances, and lines of combatants, and hence they also exhibit bas-reliefs on curved surfaces, such as vases, or the frieze of a rotunda, where, by the curvature, the two ends are withdrawn from our sight, and where, while we advance, one object appears as another disappears. Reading Homer is very much like such a circuit; the present object alone arresting our attention, we lose sight of what precedes, and do not concern ourselves about what is to follow."-"Dramatic Literature," p. 75.
"There cannot be a clearer indication than this description -so graphic in the original poem-of the true character of the Homeric agora. The multitude who compose it are listening and acquiescent, not often hesitating, and never refractory to the chief. The fate which awaits a presumptuous critic, even where his virulent reproaches are substantially well-founded, is plainly set forth in the treatment of Thersites; while the unpopularity of such a character is attested even more by the excessive pains which Homer takes to heap upon him repulsive personal deformities, than by the chastisement of Odysseus he is lame, bald, crook-backed, of misshapen head, and squinting vision."-Grote, vol. i. p. 97.
According to Pausanias, both the sprig and the remains of the tree were exhibited in his time. The tragedians, Lucretius and others, adopted a different fable to account for the stoppage at Aulis, and seem to have found the sacrifice of Iphigena better suited to form the subject of a tragedy. Compare Dryden's "AEneid," vol. iii. sqq.
Full of his god, i.e., Apollo, filled with the prophetic spirit. "The god" would be more simple and emphatic.
Those critics who have maintained that the "Catalogue of Ships" is an interpolation, should have paid more attention to these lines, which form a most natural introduction to their enumeration.
The following observation will be useful to Homeric readers: "Particular animals were, at a later time, consecrated to particular deities. To Jupiter, Ceres, Juno, Apollo, and Bacchus victims of advanced age might be offered. An ox of five years old was considered especially acceptable to Jupiter. A black bull, a ram, or a boar pig, were offerings for Neptune. A heifer, or a sheep, for Minerva. To Ceres a sow was sacrificed, as an enemy to corn. The goat to Bacchus, because he fed on vines. Diana was propitiated with a stag; and to Venus the dove was consecrated. The infernal and evil deities were to be appeased with black victims. The most acceptable of all sacrifices was the heifer of a year old, which had never borne the yoke. It was to be perfect in every limb, healthy, and without blemish."-"Elgin Marbles," vol. i. p. 78.
Idomeneus, son of Deucalion, was king of Crete. Having vowed, during a tempest, on his return from Troy, to sacrifice to Neptune the first creature that should present itself to his eye on the Cretan shore, his son fell a victim to his rash vow.
Tydeus' son, i.e. Diomed.
That is, Ajax, the son of Oileus, a Locrian. He must be distinguished from the other, who was king of Salamis.
A great deal of nonsense has been written to account for the word unbid, in this line. Even Plato, "Sympos." p. 315, has found some curious meaning in what, to us, appears to need no explanation. Was there any heroic rule of etiquette which prevented one brother-king visiting another without a formal invitation?
Fresh water fowl, especially swans, were found in great numbers about the Asian Marsh, a fenny tract of country in Lydia, formed by the river Cayster, near its mouth. See Virgil, "Georgics," vol. i. 383, sq.
Scamander, or Scamandros, was a river of Troas, rising, according to Strabo, on the highest part of Mount Ida, in the same hill with the Granicus and the OEdipus, and falling into the sea at Sigaeum; everything tends to identify it with Mendere, as Wood, Rennell, and others maintain; the Mendere is 40 miles long, 300 feet broad, deep in the time of flood, nearly dry in the summer. Dr. Clarke successfully combats the opinion of those who make the Scamander to have arisen from the springs of Bounabarshy, and traces the source of the river to the highest mountain in the chain of Ida, now Kusdaghy; receives the Simois in its course; towards its mouth it is very muddy, and flows through marshes. Between the Scamander and Simois, Homer's Troy is supposed to have stood: this river, according to Homer, was called Xanthus by the gods, Scamander by men. The waters of the Scamander had the singular property of giving a beautiful colour to the hair or wool of such animals as bathed in them; hence the three goddesses, Minerva, Juno, and Venus, bathed there before they appeared before Paris to obtain the golden apple: the name Xanthus, "yellow," was given to the Scamander, from the peculiar colour of its waters, still applicable to the Mendere, the yellow colour of whose waters attracts the attention of travellers.
It should be "his chest like Neptune." The torso of Neptune, in the "Elgin Marbles," No. 103, (vol. ii. p. 26,) is remarkable for its breadth and massiveness of development.
"Say first, for heav'n hides nothing from thy view."- "Paradise Lost," i. 27. "Ma di' tu, Musa, come i primi danni Mandassero a Cristiani, e di quai parti: Tu 'l sai; ma di tant' opra a noi si lunge Debil aura di fama appena giunge."-"Gier. Lib." iv. 19.
"The Catalogue is, perhaps, the portion of the poem in favour of which a claim to separate authorship has been most plausibly urged. Although the example of Homer has since rendered some such formal enumeration of the forces engaged, a common practice in epic poems descriptive of great warlike adventures, still so minute a statistical detail can neither be considered as imperatively required, nor perhaps such as would, in ordinary cases, suggest itself to the mind of a poet. Yet there is scarcely any portion of the Iliad where both historical and internal evidence are more clearly in favour of a connection from the remotest period, with the remainder of the work. The composition of the Catalogue, whensoever it may have taken place, necessarily presumes its author's acquaintance with a previously existing Iliad. It were impossible otherwise to account for the harmony observable in the recurrence of so vast a number of proper names, most of them historically unimportant, and not a few altogether fictitious: or of so many geographical and genealogical details as are condensed in these few hundred lines, and incidentally scattered over the thousands which follow: equally inexplicable were the pointed allusions occurring in this episode to events narrated in the previous and subsequent text, several of which could hardly be of traditional notoriety, but through the medium of the Iliad."-Mure, "Language and Literature of Greece," vol. i. p. 263.
Twice Sixty: "Thucydides observes that the Boeotian vessels, which carried one hundred and twenty men each, were probably meant to be the largest in the fleet, and those of Philoctetes, carrying fifty each, the smallest. The average would be eighty-five, and Thucydides supposes the troops to have rowed and navigated themselves; and that very few, besides the chiefs, went as mere passengers or landsmen. In short, we have in the Homeric descriptions the complete picture of an Indian or African war canoe, many of which are considerably larger than the largest scale assigned to those of the Greeks. If the total number of the Greek ships be taken at twelve hundred, according to Thucydides, although in point of fact there are only eleven hundred and eighty-six in the Catalogue, the amount of the army, upon the foregoing average, will be about a hundred and two thousand men. The historian considers this a small force as representing all Greece. Bryant, comparing it with the allied army at Platae, thinks it so large as to prove the entire falsehood of the whole story; and his reasonings and calculations are, for their curiosity, well worth a careful perusal."-Coleridge, p. 211, sq.
The mention of Corinth is an anachronism, as that city was called Ephyre before its capture by the Dorians. But Velleius, vol. i. p. 3, well observes, that the poet would naturally speak of various towns and cities by the names by which they were known in his own time.
"Adam, the goodliest man of men since born, His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.' -"Paradise Lost," iv. 323.
AEsetes' tomb. Monuments were often built on the sea-coast, and of a considerable height, so as to serve as watch-towers or land marks. See my notes to my prose translations of the "Odyssey," ii. p. 21, or on Eur. "Alcest." vol. i. p. 240.
Zeleia, another name for Lycia. The inhabitants were greatly devoted to the worship of Apollo. See Muller, "Dorians," vol. i. p. 248.
Barbarous tongues. "Various as were the dialects of the Greeks-and these differences existed not only between the several tribes, but even between neighbouring cities-they yet acknowledged in their language that they formed but one nation were but branches of the same family. Homer has 'men of other tongues:' and yet Homer had no general name for the Greek nation."-Heeren, "Ancient Greece," Section vii. p. 107, sq.
The cranes. "Marking the tracts of air, the clamorous cranes Wheel their due flight in varied ranks descried: And each with outstretch'd neck his rank maintains, In marshall'd order through th' ethereal void." Lorenzo de Medici, in Roscoe's Life, Appendix. See Cary's Dante: "Hell," canto v.
Silent, breathing rage. "Thus they, Breathing united force with fixed thought, Moved on in silence." "Paradise Lost," book i. 559.
"As when some peasant in a bushy brake Has with unwary footing press'd a snake; He starts aside, astonish'd, when he spies His rising crest, blue neck, and rolling eyes" Dryden's Virgil, ii. 510.
Dysparis, i.e. unlucky, ill fated, Paris. This alludes to the evils which resulted from his having been brought up, despite the omens which attended his birth.
The following scene, in which Homer has contrived to introduce so brilliant a sketch of the Grecian warriors, has been imitated by Euripides, who in his "Phoenissae" represents Antigone surveying the opposing champions from a high tower, while the paedagogus describes their insignia and details their histories.
No wonder, &c. Zeuxis, the celebrated artist, is said to have appended these lines to his picture of Helen, as a motto. Valer Max. iii. 7.
The early epic was largely occupied with the exploits and sufferings of women, or heroines, the wives and daughters of the Grecian heroes. A nation of courageous, hardy, indefatigable women, dwelling apart from men, permitting only a short temporary intercourse, for the purpose of renovating their numbers, burning out their right breast with a view of enabling themselves to draw the bow freely; this was at once a general type, stimulating to the fancy of the poet, and a theme eminently popular with his hearers. We find these warlike females constantly reappearing in the ancient poems, and universally accepted as past realities in the Iliad. When Priam wishes to illustrate emphatically the most numerous host in which he ever found himself included, he tells us that it was assembled in Phrygia, on the banks of the Sangarius, for the purpose of resisting the formidable Amazons. When Bellerophon is to be employed in a deadly and perilous undertaking, by those who prudently wished to procure his death, he is despatched against the Amazons.-Grote, vol. i p. 289.
Antenor, like AEneas, had always been favourable to the restoration of Helen. Liv 1. 2.
"His lab'ring heart with sudden rapture seized He paus'd, and on the ground in silence gazed. Unskill'd and uninspired he seems to stand, Nor lifts the eye, nor graceful moves the hand: Then, while the chiefs in still attention hung, Pours the full tide of eloquence along; While from his lips the melting torrent flows, Soft as the fleeces of descending snows. Now stronger notes engage the listening crowd, Louder the accents rise, and yet more loud, Like thunders rolling from a distant cloud." Merrick's "Tryphiodorus," 148, 99.
Duport, "Gnomol. Homer," p. 20, well observes that this comparison may also be sarcastically applied to the frigid style of oratory. It, of course, here merely denotes the ready fluency of Ulysses.
Her brothers' doom. They perished in combat with Lynceus and Idas, whilst besieging Sparta. See Hygin. Poet Astr. 32, 22. Virgil and others, however, make them share immortality by turns.
Idreus was the arm-bearer and charioteer of king Priam, slain during this war. Cf. AEn, vi. 487.
Scaea's gates, rather Scaean gates, i.e. the left-hand gates.
This was customary in all sacrifices. Hence we find Iras descending to cut off the hair of Dido, before which she could not expire.
Nor pierced. "This said, his feeble hand a jav'lin threw, Which, flutt'ring, seemed to loiter as it flew, Just, and but barely, to the mark it held, And faintly tinkled on the brazen shield." Dryden's Virgil, ii. 742.
Reveal'd the queen. "Thus having said, she turn'd and made appear Her neck refulgent and dishevell'd hair, Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach'd the ground, And widely spread ambrosial scents around. In length of train descends her sweeping gown; And, by her graceful walk, the queen of love is known." Dryden's Virgil, i. 556.
Cranae's isle, i.e. Athens. See the "Schol." and Alberti's "Hesychius," vol. ii. p. 338. This name was derived from one of its early kings, Cranaus.
The martial maid. In the original, "Minerva Alalcomeneis," i.e. the defender, so called from her temple at Alalcomene in Boeotia.
"Anything for a quiet life!"
Argos. The worship of Juno at Argos was very celebrated in ancient times, and she was regarded as the patron deity of that city. Apul. Met., vi. p. 453; Servius on Virg. AEn., i. 28.
A wife and sister. "But I, who walk in awful state above The majesty of heav'n, the sister-wife of Jove." Dryden's "Virgil," i. 70. So Apuleius, l. c. speaks of her as "Jovis germana et conjux, and so Horace, Od. iii. 3, 64, "conjuge me Jovis et sorore."
"Thither came Uriel, gleaming through the even On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired Impress the air, and shows the mariner From what point of his compass to beware Impetuous winds."-"Paradise Lost," iv. 555.
AEsepus' flood. A river of Mysia, rising from Mount Cotyius, in the southern part of the chain of Ida.
Zelia, a town of Troas, at the foot of Ida.
Podaleirius and Machaon are the leeches of the Grecian army, highly prized and consulted by all the wounded chiefs. Their medical renown was further prolonged in the subsequent poem of Arktinus, the Iliou Persis, wherein the one was represented as unrivalled in surgical operations, the other as sagacious in detecting and appreciating morbid symptoms. It was Podaleirius who first noticed the glaring eyes and disturbed deportment which preceded the suicide of Ajax. "Galen appears uncertain whether Asklepius (as well as Dionysus) was originally a god, or whether he was first a man and then became afterwards a god; but Apollodorus professed to fix the exact date of his apotheosis. Throughout all the historical ages the descendants of Asklepius were numerous and widely diffused. The many families or gentes, called Asklepiads, who devoted themselves to the study and practice of medicine, and who principally dwelt near the temples of Asklepius, whither sick and suffering men came to obtain relief-all recognized the god not merely as the object of their common worship, but also as their actual progenitor."-Grote vol. i. p. 248.
"The plant she bruises with a stone, and stands Tempering the juice between her ivory hands This o'er her breast she sheds with sovereign art And bathes with gentle touch the wounded part The wound such virtue from the juice derives, At once the blood is stanch'd, the youth revives." "Orlando Furioso," book 1.
Well might I wish. "Would heav'n (said he) my strength and youth recall, Such as I was beneath Praeneste's wall- Then when I made the foremost foes retire, And set whole heaps of conquer'd shields on fire; When Herilus in single fight I slew, Whom with three lives Feronia did endue." Dryden's Virgil, viii. 742.
Sthenelus, a son of Capaneus, one of the Epigoni. He was one of the suitors of Helen, and is said to have been one of those who entered Troy inside the wooden horse.
Forwarn'd the horrors. The same portent has already been mentioned. To this day, modern nations are not wholly free from this superstition.
Sevenfold city, Boeotian Thebes, which had seven gates.
As when the winds. "Thus, when a black-brow'd gust begins to rise, White foam at first on the curl'd ocean fries; Then roars the main, the billows mount the skies, Till, by the fury of the storm full blown, The muddy billow o'er the clouds is thrown." Dryden's Virgil, vii. 736.
"Stood Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremoved; His stature reach'd the sky."-"Paradise Lost," iv. 986.
The Abantes seem to have been of Thracian origin.
I may, once for all, remark that Homer is most anatomically correct as to the parts of the body in which a wound would be immediately mortal.
AEnus, a fountain almost proverbial for its coldness.
Compare Tasso, Gier. Lib., xx. 7: "Nuovo favor del cielo in lui niluce E 'l fa grande, et angusto oltre il costume. Gl' empie d' honor la faccia, e vi riduce Di giovinezza il bel purpureo lume."
"Or deluges, descending on the plains, Sweep o'er the yellow year, destroy the pains Of lab'ring oxen, and the peasant's gains; Uproot the forest oaks, and bear away Flocks, folds, and trees, an undistinguish'd prey." Dryden's Virgil ii. 408.
From mortal mists. "But to nobler sights Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed." "Paradise Lost," xi. 411.
The race of those. "A pair of coursers, born of heav'nly breed, Who from their nostrils breathed ethereal fire; Whom Circe stole from her celestial sire, By substituting mares produced on earth, Whose wombs conceived a more than mortal birth. Dryden's Virgil, vii. 386, sqq.
The belief in the existence of men of larger stature in earlier times, is by no means confined to Homer.
Such stream, i.e. the ichor, or blood of the gods. "A stream of nect'rous humour issuing flow'd, Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed." "Paradise Lost," vi. 339.
This was during the wars with the Titans.
Amphitryon's son, Hercules, born to Jove by Alcmena, the wife of Amphitryon.
AEgiale daughter of Adrastus. The Cyclic poets (See Anthon's Lempriere, s. v.) assert Venus incited her to infidelity, in revenge for the wound she had received from her husband.
Pherae, a town of Pelasgiotis, in Thessaly.
Tlepolemus, son of Hercules and Astyochia. Having left his native country, Argos, in consequence of the accidental murder of Liscymnius, he was commanded by an oracle to retire to Rhodes. Here he was chosen king, and accompanied the Trojan expedition. After his death, certain games were instituted at Rhodes in his honour, the victors being rewarded with crowns of poplar.
These heroes' names have since passed into a kind of proverb, designating the oi polloi or mob.
Spontaneous open. "Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light Flew through the midst of heaven; th' angelic quires, On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate Of heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide, On golden hinges turning."-"Paradise Lost," v. 250.
"Till Morn, Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand Unbarr'd the gates of light."-"Paradise Lost," vi, 2.
Far as a shepherd. "With what majesty and pomp does Homer exalt his deities! He here measures the leap of the horses by the extent of the world. And who is there, that, considering the exceeding greatness of the space would not with reason cry out that 'If the steeds of the deity were to take a second leap, the world would want room for it'?"-Longinus, Section 8.
"No trumpets, or any other instruments of sound, are used in the Homeric action itself; but the trumpet was known, and is introduced for the purpose of illustration as employed in war. Hence arose the value of a loud voice in a commander; Stentor was an indispensable officer... In the early Saracen campaigns frequent mention is made of the service rendered by men of uncommonly strong voices; the battle of Honain was restored by the shouts and menaces of Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed," &c.-Coleridge, p. 213.
"Long had the wav'ring god the war delay'd, While Greece and Troy alternate own'd his aid." Merrick's "Tryphiodorus," vi. 761, sq.
Paeon seems to have been to the gods, what Podaleirius and Machaon were to the Grecian heroes.
Arisbe, a colony of the Mitylenaeans in Troas.
Pedasus, a town near Pylos.
Rich heaps of brass. "The halls of Alkinous and Menelaus glitter with gold, copper, and electrum; while large stocks of yet unemployed metal-gold, copper, and iron are stored up in the treasure-chamber of Odysseus and other chiefs. Coined money is unknown in the Homeric age-the trade carried on being one of barter. In reference also to the metals, it deserves to be remarked, that the Homeric descriptions universally suppose copper, and not iron, to be employed for arms, both offensive and defensive. By what process the copper was tempered and hardened, so as to serve the purpose of the warrior, we do not know; but the use of iron for these objects belongs to a later age."-Grote, vol. ii. p. 142.
Oh impotent, &c "In battle, quarter seems never to have been given, except with a view to the ransom of the prisoner. Agamemnon reproaches Menelaus with unmanly softness, when be is on the point of sparing a fallen enemy, and himself puts the suppliant to the sword."-Thirlwall, vol. i. p. 181
"The ruthless steel, impatient of delay, Forbade the sire to linger out the day. It struck the bending father to the earth, And cropt the wailing infant at the birth. Can innocents the rage of parties know, And they who ne'er offended find a foe?" Rowe's Lucan, bk. ii.
"Meantime the Trojan dames, oppress'd with woe, To Pallas' fane in long procession go, In hopes to reconcile their heav'nly foe: They weep; they beat their breasts; they rend their hair, And rich embroider'd vests for presents bear." Dryden's Virgil, i. 670
The manner in which this episode is introduced, is well illustrated by the following remarks of Mure, vol. i. p.298: "The poet's method of introducing his episode, also, illustrates in a curious manner his tact in the dramatic department of his art. Where, for example, one or more heroes are despatched on some commission, to be executed at a certain distance of time or place, the fulfilment of this task is not, as a general rule, immediately described. A certain interval is allowed them for reaching the appointed scene of action, which interval is dramatised, as it were, either by a temporary continuation of the previous narrative, or by fixing attention for a while on some new transaction, at the close of which the further account of the mission is resumed."
With tablets sealed. These probably were only devices of a hieroglyphical character. Whether writing was known in the Homeric times is utterly uncertain. See Grote, vol ii. p. 192, sqq.
Solymaean crew, a people of Lycia.
From this "melancholy madness" of Bellerophon, hypochondria received the name of "Morbus Bellerophonteus." See my notes in my prose translation, p. 112. The "Aleian field," i.e. "the plain of wandering," was situated between the rivers Pyramus and Pinarus, in Cilicia.
His own, of gold. This bad bargain has passed into a common proverb. See Aulus Gellius, ii, 23.
Scaean, i e. left hand.
In fifty chambers. "The fifty nuptial beds, (such hopes had he, So large a promise of a progeny,) The ports of plated gold, and hung with spoils." Dryden's Virgil, ii.658
O would kind earth, &c. "It is apparently a sudden, irregular burst of popular indignation to which Hector alludes, when he regrets that the Trojans had not spirit enough to cover Paris with a mantle of stones. This, however, was also one of the ordinary formal modes of punishment for great public offences. It may have been originally connected with the same feeling-the desire of avoiding the pollution of bloodshed-which seems to have suggested the practice of burying prisoners alive, with a scantling of food by their side. Though Homer makes no mention of this horrible usage, the example of the Roman Vestals affords reasons for believing that, in ascribing it to the heroic ages, Sophocles followed an authentic tradition."-Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 171, sq.
Paris' lofty dome. "With respect to the private dwellings, which are oftenest described, the poet's language barely enables us to form a general notion of their ordinary plan, and affords no conception of the style which prevailed in them or of their effect on the eye. It seems indeed probable, from the manner in which he dwells on their metallic ornaments that the higher beauty of proportion was but little required or understood, and it is, perhaps, strength and convenience, rather than elegance, that he means to commend, in speaking of the fair house which Paris had built for himself with the aid of the most skilful masons of Troy."-Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 231.
The wanton courser. "Come destrier, che da le regie stalle Ove a l'usa de l'arme si riserba, Fugge, e libero al fiu per largo calle Va tragl' armenti, o al fiume usato, o a l'herba." Gier, Lib. ix. 75.
Casque. The original word is stephanae, about the meaning of which there is some little doubt. Some take it for a different kind of cap or helmet, others for the rim, others for the cone, of the helmet.
Athenian maid: Minerva.
Celadon, a river of Elis.
Oileus, i.e. Ajax, the son of Oileus, in contradistinction to Ajax, son of Telamon.
In the general's helm. It was customary to put the lots into a helmet, in which they were well shaken up; each man then took his choice.
God of Thrace. Mars, or Mavors, according to his Thracian epithet. Hence "Mavortia Moenia."
Grimly he smiled. "And death Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile."-"Paradise Lost," ii. 845. "There Mavors stands Grinning with ghastly feature."-Carey's Dante: Hell, v.
"Sete o guerrieri, incomincio Pindoro, Con pari honor di pari ambo possenti, Dunque cessi la pugna, e non sian rotte Le ragioni, e 'l riposo, e de la notte."-Gier. Lib. vi. 51.
It was an ancient style of compliment to give a larger portion of food to the conqueror, or person to whom respect was to be shown. See Virg. AEn. viii. 181. Thus Benjamin was honoured with a "double portion." Gen. xliii. 34.
Embattled walls. "Another essential basis of mechanical unity in the poem is the construction of the rampart. This takes place in the seventh book. The reason ascribed for the glaring improbability that the Greeks should have left their camp and fleet unfortified during nine years, in the midst of a hostile country, is a purely poetical one: 'So long as Achilles fought, the terror of his name sufficed to keep every foe at a distance.' The disasters consequent on his secession first led to the necessity of other means of protection. Accordingly, in the battles previous to the eighth book, no allusion occurs to a rampart; in all those which follow it forms a prominent feature. Here, then, in the anomaly as in the propriety of the Iliad, the destiny of Achilles, or rather this peculiar crisis of it, forms the pervading bond of connexion to the whole poem."-Mure, vol. i., p. 257.
What cause of fear, &c. "Seest thou not this? Or do we fear in vain Thy boasted thunders, and thy thoughtless reign?" Dryden's Virgil, iv. 304.
In exchange. These lines are referred to by Theophilus, the Roman lawyer, iii. tit. xxiii. Section 1, as exhibiting the most ancient mention of barter.
"A similar bond of connexion, in the military details of the narrative, is the decree issued by Jupiter, at the commencement of the eighth book, against any further interference of the gods in the battles. In the opening of the twentieth book this interdict is withdrawn. During the twelve intermediate books it is kept steadily in view. No interposition takes place but on the part of the specially authorised agents of Jove, or on that of one or two contumacious deities, described as boldly setting his commands at defiance, but checked and reprimanded for their disobedience; while the other divine warriors, who in the previous and subsequent cantos are so active in support of their favourite heroes, repeatedly allude to the supreme edict as the cause of their present inactivity."-Mure, vol. i. p 257. See however, Muller, "Greek Literature," ch. v. Section 6, and Grote, vol. ii. p. 252. The armies join battle: Jupiter on Mount Ida weighs in
"As far removed from God and light of heaven, As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole."-"Paradise Lost." "E quanto e da le stelle al basso inferno, Tanto e piu in su de la stellata spera"-Gier. Lib. i. 7. "Some of the epithets which Homer applies to the heavens seem to imply that he considered it as a solid vault of metal. But it is not necessary to construe these epithets so literally, nor to draw any such inference from his description of Atlas, who holds the lofty pillars which keep earth and heaven asunder. Yet it would seem, from the manner in which the height of heaven is compared with the depth of Tartarus, that the region of light was thought to have certain bounds. The summit of the Thessalian Olympus was regarded as the highest point on the earth, and it is not always carefully distinguished from the aerian regions above The idea of a seat of the gods-perhaps derived from a more ancient tradition, in which it was not attached to any geographical site-seems to be indistinctly blended in the poet's mind with that of the real mountain."-Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 217, sq.
"Now lately heav'n, earth, another world Hung e'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain To that side heav'n."-"Paradise Lost," ii. 1004.
His golden scales. "Jove now, sole arbiter of peace and war, Held forth the fatal balance from afar: Each host he weighs; by turns they both prevail, Till Troy descending fix'd the doubtful scale." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, v 687, sqq. "Th' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, Wherein all things created first he weighed; The pendulous round earth, with balanced air In counterpoise; now ponders all events, Battles and realms. In these he puts two weights, The sequel each of parting and of fight: The latter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam." "Paradise Lost," iv. 496.
And now, &c. "And now all heaven Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread; Had not th' Almighty Father, where he sits ... foreseen."-"Paradise Lost," vi. 669.
Gerenian Nestor. The epithet Gerenian either refers to the name of a place in which Nestor was educated, or merely signifies honoured, revered. See Schol. Venet. in II. B. 336; Strabo, viii. p. 340.
AEgae, Helice. Both these towns were conspicuous for their worship of Neptune.
As full blown, &c. "Il suo Lesbia quasi bel fior succiso, E in atto si gentil languir tremanti Gl' occhi, e cader siu 'l tergo il collo mira." Gier. Lib. ix. 85.
Ungrateful, because the cause in which they were engaged was unjust. "Struck by the lab'ring priests' uplifted hands The victims fall: to heav'n they make their pray'r, The curling vapours load the ambient air. But vain their toil: the pow'rs who rule the skies Averse beheld the ungrateful sacrifice." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 527, sqq.
"As when about the silver moon, when aire is free from winde, And stars shine cleare, to whose sweet beams high prospects on the brows Of all steepe hills and pinnacles thrust up themselves for shows, And even the lowly valleys joy to glitter in their sight; When the unmeasured firmament bursts to disclose her light, And all the signs in heaven are seene, that glad the shepherd's heart." Chapman.
This flight of the Greeks, according to Buttmann, Lexil. p. 358, was not a supernatural flight caused by the gods, but "a great and general one, caused by Hector and the Trojans, but with the approval of Jove."
Grote, vol. ii. p. 91, after noticing the modest calmness and respect with which Nestor addresses Agamemnon, observes, "The Homeric Council is a purely consultative body, assembled not with any power of peremptorily arresting mischievous resolves of the king, but solely for his information and guidance."
In the heroic times, it is not unfrequent for the king to receive presents to purchase freedom from his wrath, or immunity from his exactions. Such gifts gradually became regular, and formed the income of the German, (Tacit. Germ. Section 15) Persian, (Herodot. iii.89), and other kings. So, too, in the middle ages, 'The feudal aids are the beginning of taxation, of which they for a long time answered the purpose.' (Hallam, Middle Ages, ch. x. pt. 1, p. 189) This fact frees Achilles from the apparent charge of sordidness. Plato, however, (De Rep. vi. 4), says, "We cannot commend Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, as if he spoke correctly, when counselling him to accept of presents and assist the Greeks, but, without presents, not to desist from his wrath, nor again, should we commend Achilles himself, or approve of his being so covetous as to receive presents from Agamemnon," &c.
It may be observed, that, brief as is the mention of Briseis in the Iliad, and small the part she plays-what little is said is pre-eminently calculated to enhance her fitness to be the bride of Achilles. Purity, and retiring delicacy, are features well contrasted with the rough, but tender disposition of the hero.
Laodice. Iphianassa, or Iphigenia, is not mentioned by Homer, among the daughters of Agamemnon.
"Agamemnon, when he offers to transfer to Achilles seven towns inhabited by wealthy husbandmen, who would enrich their lord by presents and tribute, seems likewise to assume rather a property in them, than an authority over them. And the same thing may be intimated when it is said that Peleus bestowed a great people, the Dolopes of Phthia, on Phoenix."-Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i Section 6, p. 162, note.
Pray in deep silence. Rather: "use well-omened words;" or, as Kennedy has explained it, "Abstain from expressions unsuitable to the solemnity of the occasion, which, by offending the god, might defeat the object of their supplications."
Purest hands. This is one of the most ancient superstitions respecting prayer, and one founded as much in nature as in tradition.
It must be recollected, that the war at Troy was not a settled siege, and that many of the chieftains busied themselves in piratical expeditions about its neighborhood. Such a one was that of which Achilles now speaks. From the following verses, it is evident that fruits of these maraudings went to the common support of the expedition, and not to the successful plunderer.
Pthia, the capital of Achilles' Thessalian domains.
Orchomenian town. The topography of Orchomenus, in Boeotia, "situated," as it was, "on the northern bank of the lake AEpais, which receives not only the river Cephisus from the valleys of Phocis, but also other rivers from Parnassus and Helicon" (Grote, vol. p. 181), was a sufficient reason for its prosperity and decay. "As long as the channels of these waters were diligently watched and kept clear, a large portion of the lake was in the condition of alluvial land, pre-eminently rich and fertile. But when the channels came to be either neglected, or designedly choked up by an enemy, the water accumulated in such a degree as to occupy the soil of more than one ancient islet, and to occasion the change of the site of Orchomenus itself from the plain to the declivity of Mount Hyphanteion." (Ibid.)
The phrase "hundred gates," &c., seems to be merely expressive of a great number. See notes to my prose translation, p. 162.
Compare the following pretty lines of Quintus Calaber (Dyce's Select Translations, p 88).- "Many gifts he gave, and o'er Dolopia bade me rule; thee in his arms He brought an infant, on my bosom laid The precious charge, and anxiously enjoin'd That I should rear thee as my own with all A parent's love. I fail'd not in my trust And oft, while round my neck thy hands were lock'd, From thy sweet lips the half articulate sound Of Father came; and oft, as children use, Mewling and puking didst thou drench my tunic." "This description," observes my learned friend (notes, p. 121) "is taken from the passage of Homer, II ix, in translating which, Pope, with that squeamish, artificial taste, which distinguished the age of Anne, omits the natural (and, let me add, affecting) circumstance." "And the wine Held to thy lips, and many a time in fits Of infant frowardness the purple juice Rejecting thou hast deluged all my vest, And fill'd my bosom."-Cowper.
Where Calydon. For a good sketch of the story of Meleager, too long to be inserted here, see Grote, vol. i. p. 195, sqq.; and for the authorities, see my notes to the prose translation, p. 166.
"Gifts can conquer"-It is well observed by Bishop Thirlwall, "Greece," vol. i. p, 180, that the law of honour among the Greeks did not compel them to treasure up in their memory the offensive language which might be addressed to them by a passionate adversary, nor to conceive that it left a stain which could only be washed away by blood. Even for real and deep injuries they were commonly willing to accept a pecuniary compensation."
"The boon of sleep."-Milton
"All else of nature's common gift partake: Unhappy Dido was alone awake."-Dryden's Virgil, iv. 767.
The king of Crete: Idomeneus.
Soft wool within, i e. a kind of woollen stuffing, pressed in between the straps, to protect the head, and make the helmet fit close.
"All the circumstances of this action-the night, Rhesus buried in a profound sleep, and Diomede with the sword in his hand hanging over the head of that prince-furnished Homer with the idea of this fiction, which represents Rhesus lying fast asleep, and, as it were, beholding his enemy in a dream, plunging the sword into his bosom. This image is very natural; for a man in his condition awakes no farther than to see confusedly what environs him, and to think it not a reality but a dream."-Pope. "There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cry'd murder; They wak'd each other."-Macbeth.
"Aurora now had left her saffron bed, And beams of early light the heavens o'erspread." Dryden's Virgil, iv. 639
Red drops of blood. "This phenomenon, if a mere fruit of the poet's imagination, might seem arbitrary or far-fetched. It is one, however, of ascertained reality, and of no uncommon occurrence in the climate of Greece."-Mure, i p. 493. Cf. Tasso, Gier. Lib. ix. 15: "La terra in vece del notturno gelo Bagnan rugiade tepide, e sanguigne."
"No thought of flight, None of retreat, no unbecoming deed That argued fear."-"Paradise Lost," vi. 236.
One of love. Although a bastard brother received only a small portion of the inheritance, he was commonly very well treated. Priam appears to be the only one of whom polygamy is directly asserted in the Iliad. Grote, vol. ii. p. 114, note.
"Circled with foes as when a packe of bloodie jackals cling About a goodly palmed hart, hurt with a hunter's bow Whose escape his nimble feet insure, whilst his warm blood doth flow, And his light knees have power to move: but (maistred by his wound) Embost within a shady hill, the jackals charge him round, And teare his flesh-when instantly fortune sends in the powers Of some sterne lion, with whose sighte they flie and he devours. So they around Ulysses prest."-Chapman.
Simois, railing, &c. "In those bloody fields Where Simois rolls the bodies and the shields Of heroes."-Dryden's Virgil, i. 142.
"Where yon disorder'd heap of ruin lies, Stones rent from stones,-where clouds of dust arise,- Amid that smother, Neptune holds his place, Below the wall's foundation drives his mace, And heaves the building from the solid base." Dryden's Virgil, ii. 825.
Why boast we. "Wherefore do I assume These royalties and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike to him Who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest High honour'd sits."-"Paradise Lost," ii. 450.
Each equal weight. "Long time in even scale The battle hung."-"Paradise Lost," vi. 245.
"He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night."-"Paradise Lost," vi. 831
Renown'd for justice and for length of days, Arrian. de Exp. Alex. iv. p. 239, also speaks of the independence of these people, which he regards as the result of their poverty and uprightness. Some authors have regarded the phrase "Hippomolgian," i.e. "milking their mares," as an epithet applicable to numerous tribes, since the oldest of the Samatian nomads made their mares' milk one of their chief articles of diet. The epithet abion or abion, in this passage, has occasioned much discussion. It may mean, according as we read it, either "long-lived," or "bowless," the latter epithet indicating that they did not depend upon archery for subsistence.
Compare Chapman's quaint, bold verses:- "And as a round piece of a rocke, which with a winter's flood Is from his top torn, when a shoure poured from a bursten cloud, Hath broke the naturall band it had within the roughftey rock, Flies jumping all adourne the woods, resounding everie shocke, And on, uncheckt, it headlong leaps till in a plaine it stay, And then (tho' never so impelled), it stirs not any way:- So Hector,-"
This book forms a most agreeable interruption to The continuous round of battles, which occupy the latter part of the Iliad. It is as well to observe, that the sameness of these scenes renders many notes unnecessary.
Who to Tydeus owes, i.e. Diomed.
Compare Tasso:- Teneri sdegni, e placide, e tranquille Repulse, e cari vezzi, e liete paci, Sorrisi, parolette, e dolci stille Di pianto, e sospir tronchi, e molli baci." Gier. Lib. xvi. 25
Compare the description of the dwelling of Sleep in Orlando Furioso, bk. vi.
"Twice seven, the charming daughters of the main- Around my person wait, and bear my train: Succeed my wish, and second my design, The fairest, Deiopeia, shall be thine." Dryden's Virgil, AEn. i. 107, seq.
And Minos. "By Homer, Minos is described as the son of Jupiter, and of the daughter of Phoenix, whom all succeeding authors name Europa; and he is thus carried back into the remotest period of Cretan antiquity known to the poet, apparently as a native hero, Illustrious enough for a divine parentage, and too ancient to allow his descent to be traced to any other source. But in a genealogy recorded by later writers, he is likewise the adopted son of Asterius, as descendant of Dorus, the son of Helen, and is thus connected with a colony said to have been led into Creta by Tentamus, or Tectamus, son of Dorus, who is related either to have crossed over from Thessaly, or to have embarked at Malea after having led his followers by land into Laconia."-Thirlwall, p. 136, seq.
Milton has emulated this passage, in describing the couch of our first parents:- "Underneath the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth with rich inlay, 'Broider'd the ground."-"Paradise Lost," iv. 700.
He lies protected, "Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run By angels many and strong, who interpos'd Defence, while others bore him on their shields Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd From off the files of war; there they him laid, Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame." "Paradise Lost," vi. 335, seq.
The brazen dome. See the note on Bk. viii. Page 142.
For, by the gods! who flies. Observe the bold ellipsis of "he cries," and the transition from the direct to the oblique construction. So in Milton:- "Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood, Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole.-Thou also mad'st the night, Maker omnipotent, and thou the day." Milton, "Paradise Lost," Book iv.
So some tall rock. "But like a rock unmov'd, a rock that braves The raging tempest, and the rising waves- Propp'd on himself he stands: his solid sides Wash off the sea-weeds, and the sounding tides." Dryden's Virgil, vii. 809.
Protesilaus was the first Greek who fell, slain by Hector, as he leaped from the vessel to the Trojan shore. He was buried on the Chersonese, near the city of Plagusa. Hygin Fab. ciii. Tzetz. on Lycophr. 245, 528. There is a most elegant tribute to his memory in the Preface to the Heroica of Philostratus.
His best beloved. The following elegant remarks of Thirlwall (Greece, vol. i, p. 176 seq.) well illustrate the character of the friendship subsisting between these two heroes- "One of the noblest and most amiable sides of the Greek character, is the readiness with which it lent itself to construct intimate and durable friendships, and this is a feature no less prominent in the earliest than in later times. It was indeed connected with the comparatively low estimation in which female society was held; but the devotedness and constancy with which these attachments were maintained, was not the less admirable and engaging. The heroic companions whom we find celebrated partly by Homer and partly in traditions which, if not of equal antiquity, were grounded on the same feeling, seem to have but one heart and soul, with scarcely a wish or object apart, and only to live as they are always ready to die for one another. It is true that the relation between them is not always one of perfect equality; but this is a circumstance which, while it often adds a peculiar charm to the poetical description, detracts little from the dignity of the idea which it presents. Such were the friendships of Hercules and Iolaus, of Theseus and Pirithous, of Orestes and Pylades; and though These may owe the greater part of their fame to the later epic or even dramatic poetry, the moral groundwork undoubtedly subsisted in the period to which the traditions are referred. The argument of the Iliad mainly turns on the affection of Achilles for Patroclus, whose love for the greater hero is only tempered by reverence for his higher birth and his unequalled prowess. But the mutual regard which united Idomeneus and Meriones, Diomedes and Sthenelus, though, as the persons themselves are less important, it is kept more in the back-ground, is manifestly viewed by the poet in the same light. The idea of a Greek hero seems not to have been thought complete, without such a brother in arms by his side."-Thirlwall, Greece, vol. i. p. 176, seq.
"As hungry wolves with raging appetite, Scour through the fields, ne'er fear the stormy night- Their whelps at home expect the promised food, And long to temper their dry chaps in blood- So rush'd we forth at once."-Dryden's Virgil, ii. 479.
The destinies ordain.-"In the mythology, also, of the Iliad, purely Pagan as it is, we discover one important truth unconsciously involved, which was almost entirely lost from view amidst the nearly equal scepticism and credulity of subsequent ages. Zeus or Jupiter is popularly to be taken as omnipotent. No distinct empire is assigned to fate or fortune; the will of the father of gods and men is absolute and uncontrollable. This seems to be the true character of the Homeric deity, and it is very necessary that the student of Greek literature should bear it constantly in mind. A strong instance in the Iliad itself to illustrate this position, is the passage where Jupiter laments to Juno the approaching death of Sarpedon. 'Alas me!' says he 'since it is fated (moira) that Sarpedon, dearest to me of men, should be slain by Patroclus, the son of Menoetius! Indeed, my heart is divided within me while I ruminate it in my mind, whether having snatched him up from out of the lamentable battle, I should not at once place him alive in the fertile land of his own Lycia, or whether I should now destroy him by the hands of the son of Menoetius!' To which Juno answers-'Dost thou mean to rescue from death a mortal man, long since destined by fate (palai pepromenon)? You may do it-but we, the rest of the gods, do not sanction it.' Here it is clear from both speakers, that although Sarpedon is said to be fated to die, Jupiter might still, if he pleased, save him, and place him entirely out of the reach of any such event, and further, in the alternative, that Jupiter himself would destroy him by the hands of another."-Coleridge, p. 156. seq.
Thrice at the battlements. "The art military of the Homeric age is upon a level with the state of navigation just described, personal prowess decided every thing; the night attack and the ambuscade, although much esteemed, were never upon a large scale. The chiefs fight in advance, and enact almost as much as the knights of romance. The siege of Troy was as little like a modern siege as a captain in the guards is like Achilles. There is no mention of a ditch or any other line or work round the town, and the wall itself was accessible without a ladder. It was probably a vast mound of earth with a declivity outwards. Patroclus thrice mounts it in armour. The Trojans are in no respects blockaded, and receive assistance from their allies to the very end."-Coleridge, p. 212.
Ciconians.-A people of Thrace, near the Hebrus.
They wept. "Fast by the manger stands the inactive steed, And, sunk in sorrow, hangs his languid head; He stands, and careless of his golden grain, Weeps his associates and his master slain." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, v. 18-24. "Nothing is heard upon the mountains now, But pensive herds that for their master low, Straggling and comfortless about they rove, Unmindful of their pasture and their love." Moschus, id. 3, parodied, ibid. "To close the pomp, AEthon, the steed of state, Is led, the funeral of his lord to wait. Stripp'd of his trappings, with a sullen pace He walks, and the big tears run rolling down his face." Dryden's Virgil, bk. ii
Some brawny bull. "Like to a bull, that with impetuous spring Darts, at the moment when the fatal blow Hath struck him, but unable to proceed Plunges on either side."-Carey's Dante: Hell, c. xii.
This is connected with the earlier part of last book, the regular narrative being interrupted by the message of Antilochus and the lamentations of Achilles.
Far in the deep. So Oceanus hears the lamentations of Prometheus, in the play of AEschylus, and comes from the depths of the sea to comfort him.
Opuntia, a city of Locris.
Quintus Calaber, lib. v., has attempted to rival Homer in his description of the shield of the same hero. A few extracts from Mr. Dyce's version (Select Translations, p. 104, seq.) may here be introduced. "In the wide circle of the shield were seen Refulgent images of various forms, The work of Vulcan; who had there described The heaven, the ether, and the earth and sea, The winds, the clouds, the moon, the sun, apart In different stations; and you there might view The stars that gem the still-revolving heaven, And, under them, the vast expanse of air, In which, with outstretch'd wings, the long-beak'd bird Winnow'd the gale, as if instinct with life. Around the shield the waves of ocean flow'd, The realms of Tethys, which unnumber'd streams, In azure mazes rolling o'er the earth, Seem'd to augment."
On seats of stone. "Several of the old northern Sagas represent the old men assembled for the purpose of judging as sitting on great stones, in a circle called the Urtheilsring or gerichtsring"- Grote, ii. p. 100, note. On the independence of the judicial office in The heroic times, see Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 166.
Another part, &c. "And here Were horrid wars depicted; grimly pale Were heroes lying with their slaughter'd steeds Upon the ground incarnadin'd with blood. Stern stalked Bellona, smear'd with reeking gore, Through charging ranks; beside her Rout was seen, And Terror, Discord to the fatal strife Inciting men, and Furies breathing flames: Nor absent were the Fates, and the tall shape Of ghastly Death, round whom did Battles throng, Their limbs distilling plenteous blood and sweat; And Gorgons, whose long locks were twisting snakes. That shot their forky tongues incessant forth. Such were the horrors of dire war."-Dyce's Calaber.
A field deep furrowed. "Here was a corn field; reapers in a row, Each with a sharp-tooth'd sickle in his hand, Work'd busily, and, as the harvest fell, Others were ready still to bind the sheaves: Yoked to a wain that bore the corn away The steers were moving; sturdy bullocks here The plough were drawing, and the furrow'd glebe Was black behind them, while with goading wand The active youths impell'd them. Here a feast Was graved: to the shrill pipe and ringing lyre A band of blooming virgins led the dance. As if endued with life."-Dyce's Calaber.
Coleridge (Greek Classic Poets, p. 182, seq.) has diligently compared this with the description of the shield of Hercules by Hesiod. He remarks that, "with two or three exceptions, the imagery differs in little more than the names and arrangements; and the difference of arrangement in the Shield of Hercules is altogether for the worse. The natural consecution of the Homeric images needs no exposition: it constitutes in itself one of the beauties of the work. The Hesiodic images are huddled together without connection or congruity: Mars and Pallas are awkwardly introduced among the Centaurs and Lapithae;- but the gap is wide indeed between them and Apollo with the Muses, waking the echoes of Olympus to celestial harmonies; whence however, we are hurried back to Perseus, the Gorgons, and other images of war, over an arm of the sea, in which the sporting dolphins, the fugitive fishes, and the fisherman on the shore with his casting net, are minutely represented. As to the Hesiodic images themselves, the leading remark is, that they catch at beauty by ornament, and at sublimity by exaggeration; and upon the untenable supposition of the genuineness of this poem, there is this curious peculiarity, that, in the description of scenes of rustic peace, the superiority of Homer is decisive-while in those of war and tumult it may be thought, perhaps, that the Hesiodic poet has more than once the advantage."
"This legend is one of the most pregnant and characteristic in the Grecian Mythology; it explains, according to the religious ideas familiar to the old epic poets, both the distinguishing attributes and the endless toil and endurances of Heracles, the most renowned subjugator of all the semi-divine personages worshipped by the Hellenes,-a being of irresistible force, and especially beloved by Zeus, yet condemned constantly to labour for others and to obey the commands of a worthless and cowardly persecutor. His recompense is reserved to the close of his career, when his afflicting trials are brought to a close: he is then admitted to the godhead, and receives in marriage Hebe."-Grote, vol. i. p. 128.
Ambrosia. "The blue-eyed maid, In ev'ry breast new vigour to infuse. Brings nectar temper'd with ambrosial dews." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 249.
"Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them." Job xxvi. 6-8.
"Swift from his throne the infernal monarch ran, All pale and trembling, lest the race of man, Slain by Jove's wrath, and led by Hermes' rod, Should fill (a countless throng!) his dark abode." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 769, sqq.
These words seem to imply the old belief, that the Fates might be delayed, but never wholly set aside.
It was anciently believed that it was dangerous, if not fatal, to behold a deity. See Exod. xxxiii. 20; Judg. xiii. 22.
"Ere Ilium and the Trojan tow'rs arose, In humble vales they built their soft abodes." Dryden's Virgil, iii. 150.
Along the level seas. Compare Virgil's description of Camilla, who "Outstripp'd the winds in speed upon the plain, Flew o'er the field, nor hurt the bearded grain: She swept the seas, and, as she skimm'd along, Her flying feet unbathed on billows hung." Dryden, vii. 1100.
The future father. "AEneas and Antenor stand distinguished from the other Trojans by a dissatisfaction with Priam, and a sympathy with the Greeks, which is by Sophocles and others construed as treacherous collusion,-a suspicion indirectly glanced at, though emphatically repelled, in the AEneas of Virgil."-Grote, i. p. 427.
Neptune thus recounts his services to AEneas: "When your AEneas fought, but fought with odds Of force unequal, and unequal gods: I spread a cloud before the victor's sight, Sustain'd the vanquish'd, and secured his flight- Even then secured him, when I sought with joy The vow'd destruction of ungrateful Troy." Dryden's Virgil, v. 1058.
On Polydore. Euripides, Virgil, and others, relate that Polydore was sent into Thrace, to the house of Polymestor, for protection, being the youngest of Priam's sons, and that he was treacherously murdered by his host for the sake of the treasure sent with him.
"Perhaps the boldest excursion of Homer into this region of poetical fancy is the collision into which, in the twenty-first of the Iliad, he has brought the river god Scamander, first with Achilles, and afterwards with Vulcan, when summoned by Juno to the hero's aid. The overwhelming fury of the stream finds the natural interpretation in the character of the mountain torrents of Greece and Asia Minor. Their wide, shingly beds are in summer comparatively dry, so as to be easily forded by the foot passenger. But a thunder-shower in the mountains, unobserved perhaps by the traveller on the plain, may suddenly immerse him in the flood of a mighty river. The rescue of Achilles by the fiery arms of Vulcan scarcely admits of the same ready explanation from physical causes. Yet the subsiding of the flood at the critical moment when the hero's destruction appeared imminent, might, by a slight extension of the figurative parallel, be ascribed to a god symbolic of the influences opposed to all atmospheric moisture."-Mure, vol. i. p. 480, sq.
Wood has observed, that "the circumstance of a falling tree, which is described as reaching from one of its banks to the other, affords a very just idea of the breadth of the Scamander."
Ignominious. Drowning, as compared with a death in the field of battle, was considered utterly disgraceful.
Beneath a caldron. "So, when with crackling flames a caldron fries, The bubbling waters from the bottom rise. Above the brims they force their fiery way; Black vapours climb aloft, and cloud the day." Dryden's Virgil, vii. 644.
"This tale of the temporary servitude of particular gods, by order of Jove, as a punishment for misbehaviour, recurs not unfrequently among the incidents of the Mythical world."-Grote, vol. i. p. 156.
Not half so dreadful. "On the other side, Incensed with indignation, Satan stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn'd, That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes pestilence and war."-Paradise Lost," xi. 708.
"And thus his own undaunted mind explores."-"Paradise Lost," vi. 113.
The example of Nausicaa, in the Odyssey, proves that the duties of the laundry were not thought derogatory, even from the dignity of a princess, in the heroic times.
Hesper shines with keener light. "Fairest of stars, last in the train of night, If better thou belong not to the dawn." "Paradise Lost," v. 166.
Such was his fate. After chasing the Trojans into the town, he was slain by an arrow from the quiver of Paris, directed under the unerring auspices of Apollo. The greatest efforts were made by the Trojans to possess themselves of the body, which was however rescued and borne off to the Grecian camp by the valour of Ajax and Ulysses. Thetis stole away the body, just as the Greeks were about to burn it with funeral honours, and conveyed it away to a renewed life of immortality in the isle of Leuke in the Euxine.
Astyanax, i.e. the city-king or guardian. It is amusing that Plato, who often finds fault with Homer without reason, should have copied this twaddling etymology into his Cratylus.
This book has been closely imitated by Virgil in his fifth book, but it is almost useless to attempt a selection of passages for comparison.
Thrice in order led. This was a frequent rite at funerals. The Romans had the same custom, which they called decursio. Plutarch states that Alexander, in after times, renewed these same honours to the memory of Achilles himself.
And swore. Literally, and called Orcus, the god of oaths, to witness. See Buttmann, Lexilog, p. 436.
"O, long expected by thy friends! from whence Art thou so late return'd for our defence? Do we behold thee, wearied as we are With length of labours, and with, toils of war? After so many funerals of thy own, Art thou restored to thy declining town? But say, what wounds are these? what new disgrace Deforms the manly features of thy face?" Dryden, xi. 369.
Like a thin smoke. Virgil, Georg. iv. 72. "In vain I reach my feeble hands to join In sweet embraces-ah! no longer thine! She said, and from his eyes the fleeting fair Retired, like subtle smoke dissolved in air." Dryden.
So Milton:- "So eagerly the fiend O'er bog, o'er steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way, And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies." "Paradise Lost," ii. 948.
"An ancient forest, for the work design'd (The shady covert of the savage kind). The Trojans found: the sounding axe is placed: Firs, pines, and pitch-trees, and the tow'ring pride Of forest ashes, feel the fatal stroke, And piercing wedges cleave the stubborn oak. High trunks of trees, fell'd from the steepy crown Of the bare mountains, roll with ruin down." Dryden's Virgil, vi. 261.
He vowed. This was a very ancient custom.
The height of the tomb or pile was a great proof of the dignity of the deceased, and the honour in which he was held.
On the prevalence of this cruel custom amongst the northern nations, see Mallet, p. 213.
And calls the spirit. Such was the custom anciently, even at the Roman funerals. "Hail, O ye holy manes! hail again, Paternal ashes, now revived in vain." Dryden's Virgil, v. 106.
Virgil, by making the boaster vanquished, has drawn a better moral from this episode than Homer. The following lines deserve comparison:- "The haughty Dares in the lists appears: Walking he strides, his head erected bears: His nervous arms the weighty gauntlet wield, And loud applauses echo through the field. * * * * Such Dares was, and such he strode along, And drew the wonder of the gazing throng His brawny breast and ample chest he shows; His lifted arms around his head he throws, And deals in whistling air his empty blows. His match is sought, but, through the trembling band, No one dares answer to the proud demand. Presuming of his force, with sparkling eyes, Already he devours the promised prize. * * * * If none my matchless valour dares oppose, How long shall Dares wait his dastard foes?" Dryden's Virgil, v. 486, seq.
"The gauntlet-fight thus ended, from the shore His faithful friends unhappy Dares bore: His mouth and nostrils pour'd a purple flood, And pounded teeth came rushing with his blood." Dryden's Virgil, v. 623.
"Troilus is only once named in the Iliad; he was mentioned also in the Cypriad but his youth, beauty, and untimely end made him an object of great interest with the subsequent poets."-Grote, i, p. 399.
Milton has rivalled this passage describing the descent of Gabriel, "Paradise Lost," bk. v. 266, seq. "Down thither prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing, Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan Winnows the buxom air. * * * * * * * * At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradise He lights, and to his proper shape returns A seraph wing'd. * * * * Like Maia's son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'd The circuit wide." Virgil, AEn. iv. 350:- "Hermes obeys; with golden pinions binds His flying feet, and mounts the western winds: And whether o'er the seas or earth he flies, With rapid force they bear him down the skies But first he grasps within his awful hand The mark of sovereign power, his magic wand; With this he draws the ghost from hollow graves; With this he drives them from the Stygian waves: * * * * Thus arm'd, the god begins his airy race, And drives the racking clouds along the liquid space." Dryden.
In reference to the whole scene that follows, the remarks of Coleridge are well worth reading:- "By a close study of life, and by a true and natural mode of expressing everything, Homer was enabled to venture upon the most peculiar and difficult situations, and to extricate himself from them with the completest success. The whole scene between Achilles and Priam, when the latter comes to the Greek camp for the purpose of redeeming the body of Hector, is at once the most profoundly skilful, and yet the simplest and most affecting passage in the Iliad. Quinctilian has taken notice of the following speech of Priam, the rhetorical artifice of which is so transcendent, that if genius did not often, especially in oratory, unconsciously fulfil the most subtle precepts of criticism, we might be induced, on this account alone, to consider the last book of the Iliad as what is called spurious, in other words, of later date than the rest of the poem. Observe the exquisite taste of Priam in occupying the mind of Achilles, from the outset, with the image of his father; in gradually introducing the parallel of his own situation; and, lastly, mentioning Hector's name when he perceives that the hero is softened, and then only in such a manner as to flatter the pride of the conqueror. The ego d'eleeinoteros per, and the apusato aecha geronta, are not exactly like the tone of the earlier parts of the Iliad. They are almost too fine and pathetic. The whole passage defies translation, for there is that about the Greek which has no name, but which is of so fine and ethereal a subtlety that it can only be felt in the original, and is lost in an attempt to transfuse it into another language."-Coleridge, p. 195.
"Achilles' ferocious treatment of the corpse of Hector cannot but offend as referred to the modern standard of humanity. The heroic age, however, must be judged by its own moral laws. Retributive vengeance on the dead, as well as the living, was a duty inculcated by the religion of those barbarous times which not only taught that evil inflicted on the author of evil was a solace to the injured man; but made the welfare of the soul after death dependent on the fate of the body from which it had separated. Hence a denial of the rites essential to the soul's admission into the more favoured regions of the lower world was a cruel punishment to the wanderer on the dreary shores of the infernal river. The complaint of the ghost of Patroclus to Achilles, of but a brief postponement of his own obsequies, shows how efficacious their refusal to the remains of his destroyer must have been in satiating the thirst of revenge, which, even after death, was supposed to torment the dwellers in Hades. Hence before yielding up the body of Hector to Priam, Achilles asks pardon of Patroclus for even this partial cession of his just rights of retribution."-Mure, vol. i. 289.
Such was the fate of Astyanax, when Troy was taken. "Here, from the tow'r by stern Ulysses thrown, Andromache bewail'd her infant son." Merrick's Tryphiodorus, v. 675.
The following observations of Coleridge furnish a most gallant and interesting view of Helen's character-
things are more interesting than to observe how the same hand that has given us the fury and inconsistency of Achilles, gives us also the consummate elegance and tenderness of Helen. She is through the Iliad a genuine lady, graceful in motion and speech, noble in her associations, full of remorse for a fault for which higher powers seem responsible, yet grateful and affectionate towards those with whom that fault had committed her. I have always thought the following speech in which Helen laments Hector, and hints at her own invidious and unprotected situation in Troy, as almost the sweetest passage in the poem. It is another striking instance of that refinement of feeling and softness of tone which so generally distinguish the last book of the Iliad from the rest."-Classic Poets, p. 198, seq.
"And here we part with Achilles at the moment best calculated to exalt and purify our impression of his character. We had accompanied him through the effervescence, undulations, and final subsidence of his stormy passions. We now leave him in repose and under the full influence of the more amiable affections, while our admiration of his great qualities is chastened by the reflection that, within a few short days the mighty being in whom they were united was himself to be suddenly cut off in the full vigour of their exercise.
The frequent and touching allusions, interspersed throughout the Iliad, to the speedy termination of its hero's course, and the moral on the vanity of human life which they indicate, are among the finest evidences of the spirit of ethic unity by which the whole framework of the poem is united."-Mure, vol. i. p 201.
Cowper says,-"I cannot take my leave of this noble poem without expressing how much I am struck with the plain conclusion of it. It is like the exit of a great man out of company, whom he has entertained magnificently; neither pompous nor familiar; not contemptuous, yet without much ceremony." Coleridge, p. 227, considers the termination of "Paradise Lost" somewhat similar.}