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parisons. If these comparisons were always drawn from new objects, it might be pretended that they were brought in by way of ornament and display; but when we see him continually recurring to the same images, to the sea, or the torrent, or the beast of chase, the evident subordination of the thing described to the event which he intends to illustrate thereby, sufficiently shows his design. The object of these similitudes clearly is to present to the reader's mind some fact in which it is easy to conceive of brightness, or noise, or tumult, or some other phenomenon in its greatest intensity, in order that, with the imagination thus excited, we may the more vividly realise the sheen of the warrior's armour, or the clamour of the Grecian assembly, or the terror of the hero's onslaught. Now, if the poet aimed above all things at making his hearers realise every step in the narrative, we may expect that his style should be simple and flowing. Verbal tricks and conceits, inversions of phrase, interposed reflections, would necessarily demand the exercise of another faculty in his hearers, and interrupt that kind of imaginative attention which he deemed it his business to secure.

We do not insist upon this solely or principally by way of protest against the fond notion of seeking for sentiment and reflection in a poet in whom sentiment and reflection would be anachronisms, because it is pretty certain that this mode of dealing with him will go on in one form or another as long as there are persons who cannot admire a thing without straightway deifying it, and that Swift's observation will ever continue to hold good only in a more metaphysical form,

• That learned commentators view

In Homer, more than Homer knew,'but our wish is to show the connexion between the story and the style. With this view it is interesting to compare Homer with Herodotus, who wrote to gratify the same kind of curiosity, but in a higher stage of its development; and accordingly it is in the latter that we most frequently meet with that well known construction which is called the hyperbaton. In this construction the reason of the event is given before the event itself is narrated, so that we may mark the transition from the narrative to the argumentative style ; for while the reason is thought worthy of record, it is yet despatched in a clumsy and uncomplimentary way, that it may not interfere with the flow of the story which the writer considers to have a superior claim.

But to return to Homer. As the flow of his narrative required a simple and uninvolved construction, what was he to do if the facts to be recounted proved rebellious to the verse ? that

but

is to say, if the words expressive of the objects to be described would not crown up the verse” without the help of some additional contrivance. In modern poetry the mode in which the difficulty is surmounted is a good test of the relative worth of the poets. If any one will take the trouble to look at the facsimile of the autograph of Milton's Ode at a Solemn Music, and will compare the splendid imagery and progressive force of the language in

Where the bright Seraphim, in burning row,

Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow, with the chevilles by which he at first contrived to fill up

the gaps of the second line, he will see how the very difficulties of a great poet become his opportunities, or, in the words of Burke, that his antagonist is his helper. In the same way we are indebted to the exigencies of rhyme for many a pleasing surprise which has flashed out from the poet through collision with this kind of difficulty, for exemplification of which the student in the art of poetry may consult

, among other things, the fifth lines of many a stanza in Spenser. But in Homer the very simplicity of the style precludes this manner of satisfying metrical requirements by additional invention. Hence arose that remarkable feature in his language, the use of some constant poetical epithet in combination with certain words of frequent occurrence. The horse-feeding Argos, and sea-crossing ships, and Jove-nurtured kings, and many similar combinations, neither excite, nor can have been intended to excite, any image distinct from the same object unaccompanied by an epithet. They either are the remains of an old poetic diction, of which Homer was the mere inheritor, or they were framed by him upon the model of such previous combination, They may be called decorative in so far that they serve to remind the hearer or reader that he is in the realm of poetry; but their metrical usefulness, and not their value as ornaments, was that which recommended them to successive generations of bards. Of the high antiquity of some we may judge by the epithets given to Apollo and Hera, "Εκατος and Boώπις, the one of which had already in Homer's time been transformed according to the dictates of a fanciful etymology; while the other, cow-faced, could never have been intended by the poet as a picture of the Goddess, but must have been adopted by him out of the language of priestly symbolism. How many more of these epical adjectives have been made to look Greek by assimilation of Greek roots from which they were not derived, is a question which must be for ever left undecided. Instead of speculating on the many instances that occur to us, we hasten to finish our remarks upon Vol. 117.-No. 233.

Homer's

H

Homer's language, and the kind of treatment it requires at the hand of an English translator. It will be seen that one of the most difficult tasks will

prove, according to the above reasoning, to be one of the least necessary ; for if words like πουλυβοτείραν, καλλιγύναικα, ιχθυοέντα and the like are so purely accidental as we have described them, it will not be necessary for a translator to torture the English language into combinations for which no reader will thank him, or, in avoiding such combinations, to turn the epithet into a description, and so bring into relief that which in the original remains in the deepest possible shade. For the same reason, namely, that the accidental is not worth translating when the essential presents quite difficulties enough of its own, we think it a waste of time and labour to search for antiquated or provincial terms in order to represent that element of quaintness which was certainly one of the characteristics of Homer as viewed by a reader of the age of Pericles, and by those amongst us who are familiar with Attic literature, For the real question is, did Homer affect a quaintness for the men of his own time? Did he use antiquated language with the same intention as the author of the Faerie Queene,' or as Milton in his Ode on the Nativity,' because he thought them appropriate to his subject? Or did he merely employ them as helps to his versification? It is of course utterly hopeless for anyone to answer these questions out of the nature of the language itself, for we have no other monument of the same time to serve as a standard of comparison. But it is impossible to believe there ever could have been a period in which all the varieties of inflection which we see in him were used indifferently by the same people; nor do we agree with Müller's hypothesis that the poet, as a native of Smyrna, at a time when that town underwent a change from Polian to Ionian inhabitants, was accustomed to a language in which the two dialects were blended, as we see them throughout his work. Such a mixture of inflections both of cases and tenses, and such an indifference of dialect, presents something factitious on the very face of it. Whence then could it have arisen? We answer, from the tradition of older bards, whose rich stores he would be only too glad to turn to account when contending with that divine metre which it is probable he also received from his predecessors,

If the essential beauties of the Iliad are the beauties of a welltold story, force in each particular enough to make each distinct, but not to suspend the flow of the narration, natural and characteristic touches in the speakers, but not so elaborated as to excite a dramatic in place of an epic curiosity, if, in short,

we

we are to look for that lively and refreshing effect analogous to what is produced by riding an easy-paced thorough-bred through a pure and bracing air over a diversified country, it will be easy for us to ascertain to what extent the perusal of Lord Derby's translation is fitted to produce a like pleasurable sensation in the reader. We therefore propose to lay before him a few passages by which he will be able to judge whether we are warranted in saying that his diction is forcible, his composition easy and flowing, and that we are carried along through * the tale of Troy divine' with much of that cheerful vigour with which his great original has inspired so many generations of readers.

"As by the west wind driv'n, the ocean waves
Dash forward on the far-resounding shore,
Wave upon wave; first curls the ruffled sea
With whitning crests; anon with thund'ring roar
It breaks upon the beach, and from the crags
Recoiling flings in giant curves its head
Aloft, and tosses high the wild sea-spray:
Column on column, so the hosts of Greece
Pour'd, ceaseless, to the war; to each the chiefs
Their orders gave; the rest in silence mov'd:
Nor would

ye

deem that such a mighty mass,
So passing, could restrain their tongues, in awe
Of their great captains : far around them flash'd
The glittring armour they were girt withal.

On th' other hand, the Trojans, as the flocks
That in the court-yard of some wealthy Lord
In countless numbers stand, at milking-time,
Incessant bleating, as their lambs they hear;
So rose their mingled clamours through the camp ;
For not one language nor one speech was there,
But many nations call'd from distant lands :
These Mars inspir'd and those the blue-ey'd Maid;
And Fear, and Flight, and Discord unappeas'd,
Of blood-stain'd Mars the sister and the friend:
With humble crest at first, anon her head,
While yet she treads the earth, affronts the skies.
The gage of battle in the midst she threw,
Strode through the crowd, and woe to mortals wrought.
When to the midst they came, together rush'd
Bucklers and lances, and the furious might
Of mail-clad warriors; bossy shield on shield
Clatter'd in conflict; loud the clamour rose.
Then rose too mingled shouts and groans of men
Slaying and slain; the earth ran red with blood.
As when, descending from the mountain's brow,
Two wintry torrents, from their copious source
H 2

Pour

Pour downward to the narrow pass, where meet
Their mingled waters in some deep ravine,
Their weight of flood; on the far mountain's side
The shepherd hears the roar; so loud arose

The shouts and yells of those commingling hosts.' The next specimen that we shall offer is upon a gentler theme, and will afford an example of the manner in which the translator handles the Homeric dialogue :

Thus as he spoke, great Hector stretch'd his arms
To take his child; but back the infant shrank,
Crying, and sought his nurse's shelt'ring breast,
Scar'd

by the brazen helm and horse-hair plume,
That nodded, fearful, on the warrior's crest.
Laugh’d the fond parents both, and from his brow
Hector the casque remov'd, and set it down,
All glitt'ring, on the ground; then kiss'd his child,
And danc'd him in his arms; then thus to Jove
And to th’ Immortals all address'd his pray’r:
“Grant, Jove, and all ye Gods, that this my son
May be, as I, the foremost man of Troy,
For valour fam'd, his country's guardian King;
That men may say, “This youth surpasses far
His father,' when they see him from the fight,
From slaughter'd foes, with bloody spoils of war
Returning, to rejoice his mother's heart!”

Thus saying, in his mother's arms he plac'd
His child; she to her fragrant bosom clasp'd,
Smiling through tears; with eyes of pitying love
Hector beheld, and press'd her hand, and thus
Address'd her—“ Dearest, wring not thus my

heart!
For till my day of destiny is come,
No man may take my life; and when it comes,
Nor brave nor coward can escape that day.
But
go

thou home, and ply thy household cares,
The loom and distaff, and appoint thy maids
Their sev'ral tasks; and leave to men of Troy

And, chief of all to me, the toils of war. The Greek scholar will recognise the almost exact faithfulness of the translation in these specimens, and we think that any reader will admit that they possess spirit and vitality.

No one will pretend that they are as spirited as Homer, or that they can boast of the same rich and sonorous harmonies; and there may be some persons who will say that this deficiency of our language and metres should at least have been compensated for by rhyme; but it must be remembered that the first condition of the possibility of rhyme is, that you should be allowed to deal more freely with your original both in the way of

omission

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