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This theory was afterwards adopted, and developed with great ingenuity and learning, by Heyne. Wood believes in the individual existence of Homer, but thinks it impossible that he should have known anything of alphabetic writing;... Wolf's Prolegomena to Homer contains the most systematic and masterly discussion on the subject, though new light has been thrown on the question since his day, and his opinions have ceased to be the prevailing belief of the learned world. He maintains, that neither the whole Iliad, nor the whole Odyssey, is the work of one author. The outline of his argument is this,—that, for reasons already mentioned, the art of writing, if invented in Homer's time, was not applied to the writing of books,-if Homer did not know how to write, he never could have formed the idea of composing books of such extent,—that such a whole was not in keeping with the civilization of his age. In addition to this, there is in the Iliad a great inequality between the first and the last book,—from the nineteenth to the twenty-second, the tone of thinking and expression differs from the first part of the work, and from the eighth book, marks of the process of connecting the rhapsodies together, are plainly perceptible. Finally, in the time of Homer, the language was not carried to such a point of grammatical and metrical perfection, as it appears to have attained in the Iliad and Odyssey. The result of all these inquiries is, that neither of these epics belongs to one author, or to the same age. Several parts of the Iliad are wholes, by themselves; the seventh, eighth, and ninthl books are entirely occupied with the victorious exploits of Hector. Some parts, such as the catalogue of ships, the funeral games, the story of Dolon, were afterwards inserted. Such is, in substance, the view of Wolf.”

“ Most scholars are now agreed that there was a Homer,-the greatest of the epic bards; that he sang in separate chants or rhapsodies, the exploits and the heroes in the war of Troy; but that other bards sang more or less upon the same themes, and their productions were not always distinguished, in the tradition, from his; and that, in fact, the Iliad, at least in its present form, is chiefly the work of this great Homer, but was put together from the mass of his productions, in the form in which we now have them, by collectors several centuries after his age.”

Mr. Grote's view of the structure and plan of the Iliad, in which

This is a mistake. The leading subject of the ninth book, is the embassy to Achilles.

The Homeric Critics.

331 every one must discover great ingenuity and ability, will be apprehended from the following paragraph :

"Nothing is gained by studying the Iliad as a congeries of frag. ments once independent of each other; no portion of the poem can be shown to have ever been so, and the supposition introduces difficulties greater than those which it removes. But it is not necessary to affirm, that the whole poem as we now read it, belonged to the original and preconceived plan. In this respect the Iliad produces upon my mind an impression totally different from the Odyssey. In the latter poem, the characters and incidents are fewer, and the whole plot appears of one projection, from the beginning down to the death of the suitors; none of the parts look as if they had been composed separately and inserted by way of addition into a preëxisting smaller poem. But the Iliad, on the contrary, presents the appearance of a house built upon a plan comparatively narrow and subsequently enlarged by successive additions. The first book, together with the eighth, and the books from the eleventh to the twenty-second inclusive, seem to form the primary organization of the poem, then properly an Achilleis ; the twenty-third and twenty-fourth books are additions at the tail of this primitive poem, which still leave it nothing more than an enlarged Achilleis; but the books from the second to the seventh inclusive, together with the tenth, are of a wider and more comprehensive character, and convert the poem from an Achilleis into an Iliad. The primitive frontispiece, inscribed with the anger of Achilles and its direct consequences, yet remains, after it has ceased to be coëxtensive with the poem. The parts added however are not necessarily inferior in merit to the original poem; so far is this from being the case, that amongst them are comprehended some of the noblest efforts of the Grecian epic. Nor are they more recent in date than the original; strictly speak. ing, they must be a little more recent, but they belong to the same generation and state of society as the primitive Achilleis. These qualifications are necessary to keep apart different questions, which, in discussions of Homeric criticism, are but too often confounded."

It is not our purpose to attempt any criticism upon these views Much has been written upon the subject by abler and more mature scholars. We must confess, moreover, that to ourselves, these discussions are far less interesting than the nobie poem which called them forth. The coolness of the Homeric critics has sometimes reminded us of the botanist who rudely tears in


pieces the most beautiful flower, that he may discover its secret organization. We would run to neither extreme; though we should not despise the science, we beg the privilege to spare and admire the flower. Thus while due attention is given to all the moderu and contradictory views of Homer, may we never forget Homer himself! Undoubtedly those questions respecting the author of the Homeric poems, and the manner in which they were handed down from one generation to another, are highly impor. tant on many accounts; but they are not inseparable from an admiration and just appreciation of the poetic beauties of the great father of Grecian song. The student who should never hear of the controversies of modern critics might linger with delight among the graphic and ever-varying scenes of the Iliad. Long ago, ere the Chemnitz weaver had sent his son adrift upon the world, or the German Wolf had ever attacked the ancient cita. dels, many a scholar had been quickened to new intellectual activity, had been improved in taste and judgment, and with more than Siren power had been charmed by the masterly delineations of “the blind old bard of Scio's rocky isle." Would that the same effect were oftener witnessed now! Would that the youthful student read less about Homer and more of Homer! Learned dissertations, so to speak, are mere stagings erected to garnish the noble structure on which they depend for support. The one, if the course of events for the last half century indicates aright, will soon fall to the ground as altogether useless; the other shall remain, fresh as the work of yesterday, to distant ages.

These remarks are not suggested by any undue prominence, given to the Homeric discussions in the present edition of the Iliad. Far from it. To our mind, the subject is here presented happily; in such a manner, and with such an aspect as admits of little improvement. But at other times, and in other ways, we have been forcibly impressed with the belief, that those who have not yet read half of the Iliad, to say nothing of the Odyssey, would be as much benefitted, in all the essential points of their education, to prosecute, almost to the exclusion of collateral questions, their reading of Homer;-whomsoever or whatsoever the word may signify ;-Homer, the study and admiration of Pindar and Sophocles, of Virgil and Horace, of Dante and Milton.

There are scenes, beautiful and impressive, in that wonderful poem, the Iliad, which will repay an attentive perusal the second or the third time. Like some masterly design on the living canvas, their full meaning is not to be gathered at once, but the de.

1847.] Homer's Delineations of Character.

333 lineation becomes at each successive view more striking, more pregnant with life and beanty. Odysseus in his many wanderings, whether in the palace of Circe or the island of Calypso, in the cave of the Cyclops or at the court of Alcinoüs, scarcely found more to please or astonish, than the diligent student will find in the two great Epics of antiquity.

How distinct, among that multitude of heroes, is the portraiture of each! Achilles, sullen and wrathful, apart from his companions “ where the sea-waves roared on the sand beach,” or rising from the curiously wrought lyre to welcome the ambassadors of the Achaeans ;-in the fierce conflict with the godlike Hector, or receiving at dead of night with pity and kindness the aged and trembling Priam;-in all of these scenes, how vivid is our conception of that fierce and impetuous, yet generous character!! The brave Diomed, the inventive Odysseus, the dauntless Ajax, the old man Nestor, the kingly Agamemnon, would each of them serve as a hero for an epic poem. And on the side of the Trojans, distinguished among many brave men, appears the intrepid, the selfsacrificing, the gallant, but unfortunate Hector. What an intense and mournful interest is imparted to that noble character, as warrior, and patriot, and husband, and father! But not in the delineation of heroes alone did Homer excel. How charming is the loveliness and grace of Helen! How touching the conjugal love and how pathetic the lament of the orphan Andromache! Besides all these, to the susceptible and superstitious Greeks, those divine personages who engaged in this memorable war must have added no little interest to the story. If we mistake not, this great variety of character, so nicely portrayed and so exquisitely interwoven, is one chief source of interest in the Iliad; and in this respect it surpasses all poems of its kind. The hero of the Aeneid would maintain no very honorable rank among the heroes of the Iliad; and his goddess-mother sheds no very brilliant lustre over his virtues. “The heroes and heroines of the Jerusalem Delivered are noble and attractive. It is impossible to study them without admiration; but they resenible real life as much as the Enchanted Forest and spacious battle-fields, which Tasso has described in the environs of Jerusalem, do the arid ridges, waterless ravines, and stone-covered hills in the real scene, which have been paint

I The verse of Horace:

Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer, presents only one phase in the character of Achilles.

ed by the matchless pens of Chateaubriand and Lamartine." The arch-apostate, the true hero of the Paradise Lost, possesses too little that may be considered human to be compared with Achilles or Agamemnon or Hector. He is to be classed rather with Homer's delineations of Mars or Jupiter, although he is far more colossal and more divine. The great dramatist of modern times has alone rivalled Homer in the variety and distinctness of his characters.

Few poets have conceived with such clearness or presented with such picturesque and vivid effect the scenes they attempt to describe. Perhaps the most graphic of them all is the meeting of Hector and Andromache, and their last sad adieu. The departure of our first parents from their blissful abode in Paradise, though a much loftier theme, must yield to this in dramatic effect. Kindred to this scene is that in which Andromache first descries the corse of her husband on the plain, dragged behind the chariot of Achilles; and her passionate lament on the recovery of consciousness. As a specimen of Professor Felton's manner, we quote the notes on this passage. It occurs in the twenty-second book, and extends from the four hundred and seventyseventh to the five hundred and fourteenth line inclusive.

· Andromache was recovering from her fainting fit; her breathing came back by degrees only; she now gasped out a few broken tones of woe. Finally, when she has wholly come to herself, she breaks out in the following words. Cr. Dionysius of Halicarnassus cites this verse (476) as a specimen of invitative harmony. Upon which Montbel remarks: 'I doubt much whether our ears, but little trained to the sounds of the Greek language, can well appreciate these delicacies, which depend on the cadence of the phrase, and the measure of syllables. ... But what may be felt in all times and in all countries is the delineation of this pathetic scene, in which the poet has represented the sorrow of Andromache. . . . Retired within her palace, Andromache is the only one who has not heard of the terrible calamity of the Trojans. She only knows that Hector has remained outside of the gates, and she orders her women to prepare the bath, that her husband may find it ready on his return from battle. All these details are true and touching; and how much does Homer add to the pity with which this unfortunate wife inspires us by this so natural reflection : · Unhappy one, she knew not that, far from the bath, Athene had subdued her husband under the hand of Achilles.' Meantime, alarmed by the cries which strike her ear, she wishes

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