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ing to a compaiifon between the games of Homer and
thole of Virgil. If I may own my private opinion, there
is in general more variety of natural incidents, and a more
lively pidlure of natural pafHons, in the games and per-
fons of Homer. On the other hand, there feems to me
more art, contrivance, gradation, and a greater pomp of
verfe in thofe of Virgil. The chariot-race is that which
Homer has moft laboured, of which Virgil being fenfible,
he judicioufly avoided the imitation of v/hat he could not
improve, and fubflituted in its place the ?2uval coitrfe,
or ship- race. It is in this the Roman poet has employ-
ed all his force, as if on fet purpofe to rival his great
mafter ; but it is extremely obfervable howconftantly he
keeps Homer in his eye, and is afraid to depart from his
very track, even when he had varied the fubje<5t itk\£.
Accordingly the accidents of the naval courfe have a
ftrange refemblance with thofe of Homer's chariot-race.
He could not forbear at the very beginning to draw a
part of that defcription into a fimile. Do not we fee he
has Homer's chariots in his head, by thefe lines ;

Non tarn pracipites hijtigo cert amine campum
Corripuercy ruuntque sffufi carcere currus,
Necjic iinmijjis aurigce undantia lora
Concujere jugiSi pronique in verbera pendent,

Esi, ^ V. 144. .

"What is the encounter of Cloanthus and Gyas in the
ftrait between the rocks, but the fame with that of Me-
nelaus and Antilochus in the hollow way ? Had the gal-
ley of Sergeftus been broken, if the chariot of Eumelus
had not been dem.olilhed ? Or Mnefiheus been caft from
the helm, had not the other been thrown from his feat ?
Does not Mneilheus exhort his rowers in the very words
Antilochus had ufed to his horfes ?

^ ''on jam prima peto Mnejiheus, nequevincere certo,
^iamquam ! fedfupcrent quibus hocNeptune dedifli;

226 H O M E R^s I L I A D. Book XXrif.

Extre7nos piideat rediije ! hoc vincite, chrs,
Et prohibite nefas ' ■'■■

' H rot f^iv KeivoiTiV l^t^i/Ziv 8T* KtXiv^iu

Ai6y) ^ijtAyj I5<rx > ■' "

Upon the whole, the defcriptlon of the fea-race I think
has the more poetry and majefty, that of the chariots
more nature and lively incidents. There is nothing in
Virgil To pidurefque, fo animated, or which fo much
marks the charaders, as tlie epifodes of Antilochus and
Menelaus, Ajax and Idomeneus, with that beautiful in-
terpofition of old Nertor, (fo naturally introduced into
jin affair where one fo little experts him.) On the other
fide, in Virgil the defcription itfelf is nobler; it hasfome-
thing more oftentatioufly grand, and feems a fpedacle
more worthy the prefence of princes and great perfons.

In three other games we find the Roman poet con-
tending openly with the Grecian. That of the Caeitus
is in great part a verbal tranflation : but it muft be owned
in favour of Virgil, that he has varied from Homer in
the event of the combate with admirable judgment and
with an improvement of the moral. Epeus and Dares
are defcribed by both poets as vain boaiters ; but Virgil
v/ith more poetical juiHce punifhes Dares for his arro-
gance, whereas the prefumption and pride of Epeus is
rewarded by Homer.

On the contrary, in thQ foot 'race, I am of opinion,
that Homer has Ihewn more judgment and morality than
Virgil. Nifus in the latter is unjuil: to his adverfary in
favour of his friend Euryalus ; fo that Euryalus wins the
race by a palpable fraud, and yet the poet gives him the
fjrft prize ; whereas Homer makes UlyfTes victorious*

Book XXIIT. H O M E R'5 I L I A D. 227

purely through the niifchange of Ajax, and his own piety
in invoking Minerva.

The shooting is alfo a direcfl copy, but with tlie addi-
tion of two circumftances which make a beautiful grada-
tion. In Homer the firfl: archer cuts the ftring that held
the bird, and the other ihoots him as he is mounting.
1« Virgil the firft only hits the maft which the bird was
fixed upon, the fecond cuts the ftring, the third fhoots
him, and the fourth to vaunt the ftrength of his arm di-
rects his arrow up to heaven, where it kindles into a
flame, and makes a prodigy. This laft is certainly fupe-
rior to Homer in what they call the nuonderful : bat
what is the i?iient or effe SI of this prodigy, or whether
a reader is not at leaft as much furprized at it, as at the
moft unreafonable parts in Homer, I leave to thole cri-
tics v/ho are more inclined to find faults than I am : nor ^
fliall T obferve upon the many literal imitations in the
Roman poet, to objedt againft which were to derogate
from the merit of thofe fine pafTages, which Virgil was
fo very fenfible of, that he was refolved to take them,
at any rate, to himfelf.

There remain in Homer three games untouched by-
Virgil ; the ^r eft tins-, "C^vz Jingle combat e^ and the Difcus.
In Virgil there is only the Lufiis Trojse added, which is
purely his own, and muft be confeft to be inimitable : I
do not know whether I may be allowed to fay, it is worth
all thofe three of riomer ?

I could not forgive myfelf if I omitted to mention in this
place the funeral games in the fixth Thebaid of Statius ; it
is by much the mofl beautiful book of the poem. It is
very remarkable, that he has followed Homer thro' the
whole courfe of his games : there is the chariot-race, the
foot-race, the Difcus, the Casilus, xhfujreftlifig, xhz/ingl^
combat e{\y\i\c\-\ is put off in the fame manner as In Komer)
and the shooting', which lafl ends (as in Virgil) with a
prodigy : yet in the pariiculaf defcriptions of each of thefe
games this poet has notborrov^ed from either of his pre-
deceffors, and his poem is fo much the worfe for it.


T n E

I L I A D.



The redemption of the body of Hcclor.

THE Gods deliberate about the redcivplion of Heeler's

holy. Jupiter fends Thetis to Achilles to difpofe him

for the refloring it^ and Iris to Priahiy to encourags

him to go in perfon, and treat for it. The cldking^

noiimthjinnding the rejnonfrances of his queen,

makes ready for the journey, to nxhich he is encou^

raged by an omen from Jupiter, He fets forth in his

chariot y ivith a ivaggon loaded muithprefents under

the charge of Idee us the herald. Mercury defends

in ihefl?ape of a young man, and CondaCis him to

the pavilion of Achilles. Their converfition on tha

ivay. Priam finds Achilles at his table, cnfs hint-

flfat his feet, and begs for the body of his fon ; A'

chilles, moved luith cornpajjhn, grants his requefi^

detains him one nioht in his tent, and the next nior-


ning fends him home nxith the body : the Trojans run
out to i}:eet him. The lamentations of Andromache ,
H scuba, and Helen, 'iSjil'h the folemt'liiics of the fu-

I he time of twelve dsys is employed in this hoolyixhils
the body cf Heclo-r lies in the tent of Achilles. And
as many more ars fpcnt in the truce alio^xedfor
his interment. The fce7ie is partly in Achilles' s
camp, and partly in Troy,


OW from the finlfa'd games the Grecian band
Seek their black iliip?, and clear th.e croudcd flrand;
V L. IV. V

230 H O M E R's ILIA D. Book XXIV.

All ftretch'd at eafe the genial banquet (hare.

And pleafiiig {lumbers quiet all their care.

Not fo Achilles t he, to giief r^fign'd, J

His friend's dear image prefent to his mind,

Takes his fad couch, more unobferv'd to weep,

Nor taflcs the gifts of all-compofing fleep.

Reftlefs he roll'd around his weary bed.

And all his foul on his Patroclus fed: lO

The form Co pleafing, and the heart fo kind,

T'hat youthful vigour, and that manly mind,

"What toils they fhar'd, what martial works they wrought,

"What feas they meafur'd, and what fields they fought ;

V. 14- IVhat fcas they meafur'dy etc.] There is fome-
thin^ very noble in thefe fentiments of Achilles : he does
not recollecft any foft moments, any tenderncfles that
iiad pafTed between him and Patroclus, but he revolves
the many difficulties, the toils by land, and the dangers
by fea, in which they had been companions: thus the
poet on all occalions admirably fullains the charade r of
Achilles ; when he played upon the harp in the ninth
book, he fung the atcbievements of kings ; and in this
place there Is an air of greatnefs In his very (brrows : A-
chilles is as much a hero vv^hen he weeps, as when he

This pafiage in Homer has not efcaped the cenfure
oT Plato, who thought it a dimmution to his charadler
to be thus tranfported with grief; but the objedion will
vanifh, if we remember that all the paflions of Achilles
nre in the extreme ; his nature is violent, and it would
have been an outrage to his general charadler to have
reprefented l-im as mourning moderately for his friend.
Plato fpoke more "like a philofopher than a critic when
iie blamed the behaviour -cf Achilles as unmanly thefe


All pad before him in remembrance dear, 1 5

Thougiit follows tliought, and tear fiicceeds to tear.

And now fiipine, now prone, the hero lay.

Now fhifts his fide, impatient for the daj*^ :

Then flai ting up, difconfolate he goes

AVide on the lonely beach to vent his woes, 20

There as the foiitary mourner raves,

The ruddy morning rifes o'er the waves :

Soon as itrofe, his furious deeds he join'd ;

The charriot flies, and He(ftor trails behind.

And thrice Patroclus ! round thy monument 25

Was Hedlor dragg'd, then hurry'd to the tent.

There fleep at lafl o'ercomes the hero's eyes :

While foul in duft th' unhonour'd carcafe lies,

Rut not deferted by the pitying fides.

For Phoebus watch*d it with fuperior care, 30

Prcferv'd from gaping wounds, and tainting air;

tears would have ill become Plato, but they are grace-
ful in Achilles.

■ Befides, there is fomething very inftrudive in this
whole reprefentation, it Ihews us the power of a fincere
friendfhip, and foftens and recommends the character
of Achilles ; the violence he ufed towards his ertemy is
alleviated by the fincerity he exprefTes towards his friend ;
he is a terrible enemy, but an amiable fnend.

V. 30. For Phcs-bus nvatch'diti tic.'} Euftatliius fays^
that by this fhield of Apollo are meant the clcuds that
are drawn up by the beams of the fun, whFch cooling
and qualifying the fultrinefs of the air, preferved tlie
body trorn decay : but perhaps the poet had fomething
farther in his e^e when he introduced Apollo upon tin's
occalion; Apollo is a phyfician and the God of niedi-


232. HO M E R's ILIA D. BookXXiV.

And ignominious as it fwept the field, -
Spread o'er the facred corfe his golden fhield,
Ail heav'n was mov'd, and Hermes will'd to go
By ftealth to fnatch him from th' infulting foe : 35

But Neptune this, and Pallas this denies
And th' unrelenting emprefs of the fkies:

caments ; if therefore Aceilles ufed any arts to preferve
Hedor from decay, that he might be able the longer to
infult his remains, Apollo may properly be faid to prote^;
it with his JEgis.

V. 36. But N'plune thisy and Pallas this denies ^^
tt is v/ith excellent art that the poet carries on this part of
ihe poem : he fhews that he could have contrived ano-
ther way to recover the body of Hedor, but as a God
is never to be introduced but when human means fail>
lie rejeds the interpoGtlon of IVTercary, makes ufe of or-
dinary methods, and Priam redeems his fon : this gives
on air of probability to the relation, at the flime time
that it advances the glory of Achilles ; for the greateft
of his enen-Jes labours to purchafe his favour, tlie gods
lioli a confultation, and a king becomes his fuppliant.

Thofe feven lines, from KXV'l'oii ^ ar^ivsTxcv to Mx^'
>.a<ryyjjv kMys-tvytv, have been thought fpurius by fome of
the ancients : they judged it as an indecency that the
gcddcfs of wifdom and Achilles Hiould be equally inexo-
rable ; and that is was below the majtfiy of the gods to
be faid to fteal. Befides, fay they, had Homer been
fxqualntef with the judgment of Paris, he would un-
doubtedly have mentioned it before this time in his
poem, and confcqucntly that ftory was of a later inven-
tion: and Ariibrchus affirms diat Max>^acvvy) is a more
modern word, and never known before the time of He-
fiod, who ufes it when he fpeaks of the daughters of
Prsetus J and adds, diat it is appropriated to fignify the


E'er fince tliat day implacable to Troy,

What time young Paris, fimple ftiepherd boy.

Won by deftrudive luft (reward obfcene) 40

Their charms rejefled for the Cyprian queen.

But when the tenth celeftial morning broke ;

To heav'n afTembled, thus Apollo fpoke.

Unpitying pow'rs ! how oft each hqly fane
Has Hedor ting'd with blood of vidims flam ? 4 »

incontinence of woman, and cannot be at all applied to
men : therefore others read the hi\,

Thefe objections are entirely gathered from Euflathius %
to whicii we may add, that iMacrobius feenjs to liave
been one of thofe who rejeifred thefe vcrfes^ fince he af-
firms that our author never mentions the iLidament of
Paris. 1 1 may be anfvvered, that the filenct of Homer
m the foregoing part of the poem, as to the judgment
of Paas, is no argument that he was ignorant of that ffo-
ry : perhaps he might think it moll: proper to unfold the
eaufe of the defli ucflion of Troy in the conclufion of the
llias ; that the reader feeing the wrong done, and the pu-
niiliment of that wrong immediately f4)llowing, miglit ac-
knowledge the juflice of it.

The fame reafon will be an anfwsr to the objedion
relating to the an ?^er of Pallas : Vs'ifdom cannot be fa -
tisfied without judice, and confequently Pallas ought
nor. to ceafe from refentrnent, till Troy has fuifered the
deferts of her crimes.

I cannot think that the objeftion about the word

Mi^x,>^oo-Cyn is of any weight ; the date of words is utterly

uncertain, and as. no one has been able to determine the

Hges of Homer and Heiiod, fo neither can any perfoa

be a:Tlircd that iucli words were not in life in Honv.-r's-:


V ^

234 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XXIV.

And can ye ftlll his cold remains puifue ?

Still grudge his body to the Trojans view I

Deny to conlbrt, mother, fon, and fire.

The lad: fad honours of a fun'ral fire ?

Is then the dire Achilles all your care t 50

That iron heart, inflexibly fevere ;

A lion, not a man, who flaughters wide

in flrength of rage and impotence of pride.

Who hades to murder with a lavage joy.

Invades around, and breathes but to deftroy. 55

Shame is not of his foul ; nor underllood.

The greatefl evil and the greateft good.

^tUl for one lofs he rages unrefign'd.

Repugnant to the lot of all mankind ;

To lofe a fliend, a brother, or a fon, 60

Heav'n dooms each mortal, and its will is done :

A while they forrow, then difmlfs their care ;

Fate gives the wound, and man is born to bear.

But this iniatiate the commlilion giv'n

By fate, e^cceeds; and tempts the wrath ofheav'n: 6^

V. 52. ^^ /'"<?«, »of a man^ etc.]] This is a very for-
mal condemnation of the morals of Achilles, which Ho-
mer puts into the mouth of a God. One m.ay fee from
this alone that he was far from defigning his hero a vir-
tuous characf^er ; yet the poet artfully introduces Apollo
in the midll: of his reproaches, intermingling the hero's
praifes v/ith his blemifhes : Brave though be be^ etc.
Thus what is the real m.erit of Achilles is didinguiflied
from what is blameable in his charadler, and we fee A-
pollo or the God of wifdom, Is no lels impartial than
juft in his rcprefentation of Achilles,

Book XXIV. H O M E R's ILIAD, 23.^

Lo how his rage diihoneH: drags along
He(5lor's dead earth infenfible of wrong !
Brave tho' he be, yet by no reafon aw'd.
He violates the laws of man and God.

If equal honours by the partial fides 70

Are doonrd both heroes, (Junothus replies)
If Thetis' fon rnuft no dilHndion know.
Then hear, ye Gods ! the patron of the bow.
But Hedlor only boa(ts a mortal claim \
His birth deriving from a mortal dame : 75

Achilles of your own aethereal race
Springs from a Goddefs by a man's embrace ;
(A Goddefs by ourfelf to Peleus giv'n,
A man divine, and chofen friend of heav'n.)
To grace thofe nuptials, from the bright abode - 80
Yourfelves were prefent; where this minfirel-God
{ Well pleas 'd to fhare the fealt) amid tlie quire
Stood proud to hymn, and tune his youthful lyre.

Then thus thethund'rer checks th' imperial dame: ^
Let not thy wrath the court of heav n inflame ; y S^
Their merits, not their honours, are the fame. J
But mine, and ev'ry God'i peculiar grace
Heaor defei-ves, of all the Trojan race :
Still on our fhrines his grateful off 'rings lay,
(The only honours men to Gods can pay) 90

Nor ever from our fmoaking altar ceaft
The pure libation, and the holy feafh
Howe'er by ftealth to fnatch the corfe away.
We will not : Thetis guards it night and day.

25^ H O M E R.'s I L I A D. Book XXIV.

But hafte, and fummon to our courts above 9-

The azure queen ; let her perfuafion move
Her furious fon from Priam to receive
The profferM ranfom, and the corfe to leave.

He added not ; and Iris from the fides,
Swift as a whirlwind on the meffage flies, iCa>

Meteorous the face of Ocean fweeps,
Refulgent gliding o'er the fable deeps.
Between where Samos wide his forefts fpreads,
And rocky Imbrus lifts its pointed heads,
Down plung'd the maid ; the parted waves refbund^ 10^
She plung'd, and inilant fhot the dark profound.
As bearing death in the fallacious bait
From the bent angle finks the leaden weight j
So paft the Goddefs thro' the clofing wave.
Where Theris forrow'd in her fecret cave : IIO

There plac'd amidfl her melancholy train
(The blue-hair'd fift.^rs of the facred main)
P^nfive fhe fate, revolving fates to come.
And wept her godlike fon's approaching doom,

V. 114. Arid miept her godlike fori' s approaching
doofn,'] Thefe words are very artfully inferted by the
poet. The poet could not proceed to the death of A-
chilles without breaking the adion ; and therefore to fa-
tisfy the curiofity of the reader concerning the fate of
this great man, he takes care to inform us that his life
draws to a period, and as it were celebrates his funeral
before his death.

Such circumftanccs as thefe greatly raife the chara(5ler
of Achilles ; he is fo truly valiant, that though he knows
he muft fall before Troy, yet he docs not abitain froni

Book XXIV. HOMEPv's ILIAD. 237

Then thus the Goddefs of the painted bow. 1 1 5
Arife, Thetis ! from thy feats below,
'Tis Jove that calls. And why (the dame replies)
Calls Jove his Thetis to the hated (16.QS ?
Sad object as I am for heav'nly fight !
Ah may my forrows ever fliun the light ! 120

Howe'er be heav'n's almighty fire obey'd

She fpake, and veil'd her head in fable fliade.
Which, flowing lon^, her graceful perfon clad ;
And forth fhe pac'd, majeltically fad.

Then thro' the world of waters, they repair 12 J
(The way fair Iris led) to upper air.
The deeps dividing, o'er the coaft they riie.
And touch with momentary flight the fldes.
There in the light'nings blaze the fire they found.
And all the Gods in fliining fynod round. 13 O

Thetis approach'd with anguifh in her face,
(Minerva rifing, gave the mourner place)

the war, but couragiouHy meets his death : and here I
think it proper to infert an obfervation that ought to have
been made before, which is, that .^ichilles did not know
that Hedor was to fall by his hand ; if he had known it,
where v/ould have been the mighty courage in engaging
him in a fmgle combate, in which he was fure to con-
quer ? The contrary of this is evident from the words of
Achilles to He^or juft before the combate.

.^^^ ■! Uplv y H iTi^av yg Triff-cvrcc

Aif^ccrog oicoK «g)5sf, etc,

/ ivi// 7nake no compass nvitA thse, fays Achilles , hut
one of us fhallfalL

238 HO M E R's ILIAD. Book XXIV.

Ev'n Juno lought her forrows to confole,
And offer'd from her hand die nedar bowi :
Shetalied, and refign'd it : Then began 135-

Thefacred fire of Gods and mortal man:

Thou cora'ft, fair Thetis, but u ith grief o'ercaft,
Maternal forrows long, ah long to lafl !
SuiEce, we know and we partake thy cares :
But yield to fate, and hear what Jove declares, 140
Nine days are pad, fince all the court above
in Hedor's caufe have mov*d the ear of Jove ;

V. 141. Nine day i arepaft.fince all ths court alovey
etc.] It may be thought that fo many interpofitions of
the gods, fach meflages from heaven to earth, and down
to the feas, are needlefs machines; and it may be ima-
gined that it is an offence againft probability that fo ma-
ny deities Should be employed to pacify Achilles : but I
am of opinion that the poet conducts this whole affair
widi admirable judgment. The poem is now almoft at
the conclufion, and Achilles is to pafs from a (late of anc
almoft inexorable refentment to a (late of perfect tranquil-
lity; fuch a change could not be brought about by hu-
man means ; Achilles is too ftubborn to obey any thin^
Icfs than a God : this is evident from his rejecting the
perfuafion of the whole Grecian army to return to the
battle : fo that it appears that this machinery was necef-
fary, and confequently a beauty to the poem.

It may be farther added, that thefe feveral incidents
proceed from Jupiter : it is by his appointment that fo
many gods are employed to attend Achilles. By thefe
means Jupiter fuliiis the promife mentioned in the firfl
book, of honouring the fon of Thetis, and Homer excel-
lently fudains his chara^^^er by reprefentuig the ine^ora-

Book XXIV. H O M E R's I L f A D. 239

'Twas voted, Hermes from \us godlike foe

By ftealth fliould bear him, but we will'd not fo :

We tvilJ, thy Ton himfelf the corfe refbre, 14 j

And to his conquefl add this glory more.

Then hye thee to him, and our mandate bear ;

Tell him he tempts the wrath of heav'n too far :

Nor let him more (our anger if he dread)

Vent his mad vengeance on the ficred dead : 1 50

But yield to ranfoni and the father's pray'r.

The mournfal father Iris fhall prepare.

With gifts to fue ; and offer to his hands

Whate'er his honour asks, or heart demands.

His word the fiiver-footed queen attends, j^^

And from Olympus' fnowy top defcends
Arriv'd, flie heard the voice of loud lament.
And echoing groans tliat fhook the lofty tent.
His friends prepare the vidim , and difpofe
Repafl: unheeded, Vv'hile he vents his woes. 160

The Goddefs feats her by her penfivc fon,
She prefi: his hand, and tender thus begun.

ble Achilles as not parting with the body of his mortal
enemy, but by the immediate command of Jupiter,

If die poet had conduded thefe incidents merely by
human means, or fuppofed Achilles to reftore the body
of He<5tor entirely out of compafiion, the draught had
been unnatural, becaiife unlike Achilles : fuch a violence
of temper was not to be pacified by ordinary mediods.
Befides, he has made ufe of the properefl perfonages to
carry on the affair ; for who cowld be fuppofed to 1: ive
fo great an influence upon Achilles as his own mother,
"^vho is a geddeis ?

240 H O M E R's ILIA D. Book XXIV.

How long, unhappy ! (hall thy forrows flow !
And thy heart wade with Hfe-confuming woe ?
Mindlefs of fjod, or love whofe pleafing reign 165

Soothes weary Hfe, and foftens human pain.
O fhatch the moments yet within thy pow'r.
Nor long to Hve, indulge the am*rous hour !


V. 164. y^^ci thy heart *wafie iviih life- con fuming
•u;0(?,3 This expreiEcn in the original is very particular.
Were it to be tranflated literally, it muft be rendered,
how long wilt thou eat^ or prey upon thy oivn heart by
thefe forrows ? And it feems that it was a common way
of exprefling a deep forrow ; and Pythagoras ufes it in
this fenfe, ^>) ItrS/etv kx^^'ccv^ that is, grieve not excef-
fively, let not forrow make too great an impreflion upon
thy heart. Euftathius.

V. 168. Indulge the avCroui hour /] The anci-
ents (fays Euilathius) reje(5led thefe verfes becaufe of the
indecent idea they convey : the goddefs in plain terms
advifes Achilles to go to bed to his miftrefs, and tells him
a woman will be a comfort. The good bifhop is of o-
pinion, that they ought to be reje61:ed, but the reafon he
gives is as extraordinary as that of Thetis : foldiers, fiys
he, have moreoccafion for fomethingto ftrengthen them-
ielves with, than for women : and this Is the reafon, con-
tinues he, why wreftlers are forbid all commerce with
that fex during the whole time of their exercifc.

Dionyfius of Halicarnaflas endeavours to juftify Ho-
mer by o1)ferving that this advice of Theiis was not given
him to Induce him to any wantonnefs, but was intended

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