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Extremes pudeat rediiffe! hoc vincite, elves y
Et proh'tbete nefas—

*E/x€rjT0v, xa) crpv'i nrcclvcTOV orlt Ta^irXt

*H TCI fJ.lv KtiVOlG-lV tpi^i/JLtV UTl KiKt-JV

TuhiSiu 'ixjroHrt Scttfpovo;, o7<rw'A$riv)i
Nuv vpi%i Tx^o$

T lvx\ig S' 'ArpuSxo x.t%zviTt, p-nSi \<V»cr9ov,
Kccprrakiy.xf, uri crpZiv Ixify.ilw v.XTa^jw
M A»6« GJjXu; Ihcrx

Upon the whole, the defcripticn-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 fo picturefque, fo animated, or which fo much
marks the characters, as the epifodes of Antilochus and
Menelaus, Ajax and Idomeneus, with that beautiful in-
terpofitioii of old Neftor, (fo naturally introduced into
an arTair where one fo little expects him.) On the other
fide, in Virgil the defcription itfelfis nobler; it has
fornething more oflentatioufly grand, and feems a fpec-
tacle more worthy the prefence of princes and great

In three other games we find the Roman poet con-
tending openly with the Grecian. That of the Caetfus
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 boafters ; but Virgil
with more poetical juRice puniihes Dares for his arro-
gance, whereas the preiiimption and pride of Epeus is
rewarded by Homer.

On the contrary, in the foot-race, I am of opinion,
that Homer has (hewn morejudgmentand morality than
Virgil. Nifus in the latter is unjuft. 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
firft prize; whereas Homer makes UlyfTes victorious^

Book XXIII. H O M E R's ILIAD. 227

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

The /hooting is alfo a direct copy, but with the addi-
tion of two circumflances which make a beautiful grada-
tion. In Homer the firft archer cuts the firing that held
the bird, and the other (hoots him as he is mounting.
In Virgil the firft only hits the mall which the b ; rd Was
fixed upon, the fecond cuts the firing, the third fhoots
him, and the fourth to vaunt the flrength of his arm
directs his arrow up to heaven, where it kindles into a
flame, and makes a prodigy. This laft is certainly fu-
perior to Homer in what they call the wonderful : but
what is the intent or effect of this prodigy, or whether
a reader is not at leafr. as much furprized at it, as at the
mofl unreafonable parts in Homer, I leave to thofe cri-
tics who are more inclined to find faults than I am :
nor fhall I obferve upon the many literal imitations in
the Roman poet, to object againft which were to dero-
gate from the merit of thofe fine paflages, 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
Virgi!; the wreftling, the combate y and the Difcus. In
Virgil there is only die Lufus Trojoe added, which is
purely his own, and mud be confefl to be inimitable : I
do not know whether I may be allowed to fay, it is
worth all thofe three of Homer?

I could not forgive myfelf if I omitted to mention in this
place the funeral games in the flxth Thebaid of Statius ; it
is by much the moft beautiful book of that poem . It is very
!remarkable,thathe has followed Homer through the whole
courfe of his games: thereis the chariot-race, the fbot-race 9
the Difcus, the C&ftus, the wreftling, the/ingle comitate
(which is put off in the fame manner as in Horner) and
the /hooting; which laftends (as in Virgil) with a pro-
digy: yet in the particular defcriptions of each of thefe
games this poet has not borrowed from either of his
predeceflbrs, and his poem is fo much the worfe for it.

I 229 1





The redemption of the body of Hector.

THE Gods deliberate about the redemption ofHec7or*r
body. Jupiter fends Thetis to Achilles to difyofe him

for the reftoring it, and Iris to Priam, to encourage him
to go in perfn, and treat for it. The old king, notwitfr*
/landing the remonflrances of his queen, makes Tea hfor
the journey, to which he is encouraged by an omen from
Jupiter. He fets forth in his chariot, with a waggon
loaded with prefents under the charge of Idxus the
herald. Mercury defends in the fb ape of a young man 9
end conducts him to the pavilion of 'Achilles. Their con-
verfation on the way. Priam finds Achilles at his table t
cajls himfelfat his feet, and begs for the body of his fan ;
Achilles, moved with Companion, grants his requefl, de-
tains him one night in his tent, and the next morning

fends him home with the body : the Trojans run out to
meet him. The lamentations of Andromache \ Hecuba,
and Helen, with the folemnities of the funeral.
The time o/twelvedays is employed in this book, while thebodf
of He dor lies in the tent of Achilles. And as many more
are fpent in the truce allowed for his interment. The

fcene is partly in Achilles' 's camp, and partly in Troy.


O W from the finifli'd games the Grecian band
Seek their black (hips, and clear thecrouded (brand <
Vol. IV. U


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

And pleafing flumbers quiet all their care.

Not To Achilles : he, to grief refign'd, 5

His friend's dear image prefent to his mind,

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

Nor tafles the gifts of all-compofing deep.

Refilefs he rcll'd around his weary bed,

And all his foul on his Patrocius fed : 19

The form fo pleafing, and the heart fo kind,

That youthful vigour, and that manly mind,

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

Whatfeas they meafur'd, and what fields they fought;

f. 14. Whatfeas they meafur'd, etc.] There is fome*
thing very noble in thefe fentiments of Achilles : he
does not recollect any foft moments, any tendernelfes
that had paiTed between him and Patrocius, but he re-
volves the many difficulties, the toils by land, and the
dangers by fea, in which they had been companions:
thus the poet on all occafions admirably fuftains the
character of Achilles ; when he played upon the harp in
the ninth book, he fung the atchievements of kings ;
and in this place there is an air of greatnefs in his very
forrows : Achilles is as much a hero when he weeps, as
when he fights.

This paiFage in Homer has not efcaped the cenfure
of Plato, who thought it a diminution to his character
to be thus tranfported with grief; but the objection will
vanifh, if we remember that all the pafTions of Achilles
are in the extreme; his nature is violent, and it would
have been an outrage to his general character to have
reprsfented him as mourning moderately for his friend.
Plato fpoke more like a philofopber than a critic when
be blamed the behaviour of Achilles as unmanly: thefe

Book XXIV. H O M E K's ILIAD. 231

All paH: before him in remembrance dear, . 15

Thought follows thought, and tear fucceeds to tear.

And now fupine, now prone, the hero lay,

Now fhifts his fide, impatient for the day :

Then ftarting up, difconfolate he goes

Wide on the lonely beach to vent his woes. 30

There as the folitary mourner raves,

The ruddy morning rifes o'er the. waves :

Soon as it rofe, his furious deeds he join'd ;

The chariot flies, and Heclor trails behind.

And thrice Pairoclus ! round thy monument 2$

Was Hector dragg'd, then hurry o to the tent.

There deep at laft o'efcoiiies the hero's eyes: *1

While foul in dull th' ushoaour'd ctrcafe lies, >

But not deferted by the pitying fides. 3

For Phoebus watch'd it with fuperior care, 30

Preferv'd from gaping wounds, and tainting air;

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

BeGdes, there is fomething very inftruaive in this
whole reprefentation, it (hews us the power of a fincere
friendfliip, and foftens and recommends the character
of Achilles; the violence he ufed towards his enemy is
alleviated bythefincerity heexpre-Tes towardshis friend;
he is a terrible enemy, but amiable friend.

f.yb. For Phtebus watch'd it, etc.] Euftathius fays,
that by this fliield of Apollo are meant the clouds that
are drawn up by the beams of the fun, which cooling
and qualifying the fultrinefs of the air, preferved the
body from decay: but perhaps the poet had fomething
farther in his eye when he introduced Apoilo upon this
eccafion: Apollo is a phyfician and the God of medi-

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

And ignominious as it fwept the field,

Spread o'er the facred corfe his golden fhield.

All heav'n was mov'd, and Hermes wifTd to go

By Health to fnatch him from th' infuking foe : 35

But Neptune this, and Pallas this denies,

And th' unrelenting emprefs of the fides :

caments ; if therefore Achilles ufed any arts to preferve
Hector from decay, that he might be able the longer to
infult his remains, Apollo may properly be faid to protecl
it with his .ffigis.

f. 36. But Neptune this, and Pallas this denies.'] It
is with excellent art that the poet carries on this part of
the poem : he (hews that he could have contrived ano-
ther way to recover the body of Hector, but as a God
is never to be introduced but when human means fail,
he rejects the interposition of Mercury, makes ufe of
ordinary methods, and Priam redeems hisfon: this gives
an air of probability to the relation, at the fame time
that it advances the glory of Achilles ; for the greateft
of his enemies labours to purchaie his favour, the gods
liokl a confutation, and a king becomes his fuppliant.
JEufta thins.

Thofe feven lines, from K\i^xi y urpvvca-xov to M«^-
\o3-vvnv dxtyuvriv, have been thought fpurious by fome of
the ancients: they judged it as an indecency that the
goddefs of wifdom and Achilles mould be equally inexo-
rable; and that it was below the majefty of the gods to
be faid to deal. Befides, fay they, had Homer been
acquainted with the judgment of Paris, he would un-
doubtedly have mentioned it before this time in his
poem, and confequently that ftory was of a later inven-
tion : and Ariftarchus affirms that Ma^xoo-uvu is a more
modern word, and never known before the time of He*
liod, who ufes it when he fpeaks of the daughters of
J'rsetus; and adds, that it is appropriated to fignify the

Book XXIV. H O M E R's I L I A D. 233

E'er fince that day implacable to Troy,

What time young Paris, fimple fhepherd boy,

Won by deftruaive lull (reward obfcene) 40

Their charms rejefted for the Cyprian queen.

But when the tenth celeftial morning broke;

To heav'n ailembled, thus Apollo fpoke.

Unpitying pow'rs ! how oft each holy fane
Has Heftor ting'd with blood of vicVims flain ? 45

incontinence of women, and cannot be at all applied to
men : therefore others read the lad verfe,

Thefe objeaions are entirely gathered from Euftathius ;
to which we may add, that Macrobius feems to have
been one of thofe who rejected thefe verfes, fince he ai-
firms that our author never mentions the judgment of
Paris It may be anfwered, that the filence or Homer
in the foregoing part of the poem, as to the judgment
of Paris, is no argument that he was ignorant of that
ftory : perhaps he might think it mod proper to unfo.d
the caufe of the definition of Troy in the conclufion of
thellias; that the reader feeing the wrong done, and
the puniflimcnt of that wrong immediately following,
might acknowlege thejuftice of it. #

The fame reafon will be an anfwet to the objection
relating to the anger of Pallas: Wifdom cannot be fa-
nned without juftice, and confequently Pallas ought
lot to ceafe from refentment, till Troy has fnfTered the
deferts of her crimes.

I cannot think that the objection about the word
iuxxW., is of any weight; the date of words is utterly
uncertain, and as no one has been able to determine the
ages of Homer and Hcfiod, fo neither can any pcrfon
be aifured that fuch words were not in ufe in Hoaur *

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

And can ye ftill his cold remains purfue?

Still grudge his body to the Trojans view?

Deny to confort, mother, fon, and fire,

The laft fad honours of a fun'ral fire ?

Is then the dire Achilles all your care ? $6

That iron heart, inflexibly fevere;

A lion, not a man, who (laughters wide

In ftrength of rage and impotence of pride,

"Who hafies to murder with a favage joy,

Invades around, and breathes but to deftroy. 55

Shame is not of his foul ; nor underftood,

The greateft evil and the greateft good.

Still for one lofs he rages unrefign'd,

Repugnant to the lot of all mankind ;

To lofe a friend, a brother, or a fon, (Jo

3I«av'n dooms each mortal, and its will is done:

.A while they forrow, then difmifs their care ;

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

But this infatiate the commiffion giv'n

By fate, exceeds 5 and tempts the wrath of beav'n: 6$

$. 52. A Uotiy not a man, etcj This is a very for-
mal condemnation of the morals of Achilles, which Ho-
roer puts into the mouth of a God. One may fee from
this alone that he was far from designing his hero a vir-,
tnons character; yet the poet artfully introduces Apollo I
in the midi of his reproaches, intermingling the hero's
praifes with his blemifhes: Brave though he be, etc.
Thus what is the real merit of Achilles is diftinguifhed [
from what is blameable in his character, and we fee A-
polio or the God of wifdom, is no lefs impartial than
juft in his representation of Achilles.

IBookXXIV. H O M E R's ILIAD. 23;

1 3Lo how his rage diflioneft drags along

I Hector's dead earth infenfible of wrong !

I Brave tho' he be, yet by no reafon aw'd,

I He violates the laws of man and God.

If equal honours by the partial fkies 7$

I Are doom'd both heroes, (Juno thus replies)

I If Thetis' fon muft no diftinclion know,

I Then hear, ye Gods ! the patron of the bow.

I But Hector only boafts a mortal claim ;

|j His birth deriving from a mortal dame: 75

Achilles of your own sethereal race
Springs from a Goddefs by a maiv s embrace j
(A Goddefs by our felf to Peleus giv*n,
A man divine, and chofen friend of heav'n.)
To grace thofe nuptials, from the bright abode 80

Your felves were prefent; where this minftrel-God
(Well pleas'd to fhare the feaft,) amid the quire
Stood proud to hymn, and tune his youthful lyre.

Then thus the thundVer checks th' imperial dame:^
Let not thy wrath the court of heav'n inflame ; > £5
Their merits, not their honours, are the fame. j
But mine, and ev'ry God's peculiar grace
Hector deferves, of all the Trojan race:
Still on our fnrines his grateful ofF'rings lay,
(The only honours men to Gods can pay) $0

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

236 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XXIV.
But hafte, and fummon to our courts above or

The azure queen ; let her perfuaflon move
Her furious fon from Priam to receive
The proffer'd ranfom, and the corfe to leave.

He added not : and Iris from the fides,
Swift as a whirlwind on the mefTage flies, ico

Meteorous the face of Ocean fweeps,
Refulgent gliding o'er the fable deeps.
Between where Samos wide his forefts Spreads,
And rocky Imbrus lifts its pointed heads,
Down plung'd the maid; (the parted waves refound) 105
She plung'd, and inftant (hot the dark profound.
As bearing death in the fallacious bait
From the bent angle finks the leaden weight;
So part the Goddefs thro' the clofing wave,
Where Thetis forrow'd in her fecret cave : 1 1&

There plac'd amidd her melancholy train
(The blue-hair'd lifters of the facred main)
Penfive me fate, revolving fates to come,
And wept her God-like fon's approaching doom.

f . 114. And wept her God-like fin's approaching doom !\
Thefe words are very artfully inferted by the poet.
The poet could not proceed to the death of Achilles
without breaking the adtion; and therefore to fatisfy
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 circumftances as thefe greatly raife the character
cf Achilles; he is fo truly valiant, that though he knows
he rauft fall before Troy, yet he does not abftain from

^ookXXlV. B'OMEK'I ILIAD. 2 3 7
Then thus the Goddefs of the painted bow. i i 5
Arife, O Thetis, from thy feats below,
>Tis Jove that calls. And why (the dame replies)
Calls Jove his Thetis to the hated fkies >
Sad object as I am for heav'nly fight !
Ah may my forrows ever fnun the light ! 1 2©

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

She fpake, and veil'd her head in fable (hade,
Which, flowing long, her graceful perfon clad;
And forth (he pac'd, majeftically fad.

Then thro' the world of waters, they repair 125
(The way fair Iris led) to upper air.
The deeps dividing, o'er the coaft they rife,
And touch with momentary flight the fkies.
There in the light'nings blaze the fire they found,
And all the Gods in mining fynod round. 13°

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

the war, but couragioufly meets his death: and here I
h nk i proper to infert an obfervation that ought to
have been made before, which is, that Achilles did not
know that Heaor was to fall by his hand; if he had
known it, where would have been the #J«W
Raging him in a fingk cotnbate, in which he .as
L to conquer? The contrary of this is evident from
fe words o^ Achilles to Hector juft before the comhate,

Tlph y » *TJpo* yt iurhroi

AlpxTog uaai «/>»»«, etc.

IwWmah no comparts with the, fays Achllks, but *n*
of us Jhali fall.


Ev'n Juno fought her forrows to confole,

And offer'd from her hand the nectar bowl :

She tafted, and refign'dit: Then began 13J

The facred fire of Gods and mortal man:

Thou com'it, fair Thetis, but with grief o'ercaft,
Maternal forrows long, ah long to laft I
Suffice, we know and we partake thy cares:
But yield to fate, and hear what Jove declares. 14©
Nine days are paft, fince ail the court above
In Hector's caufe have mov'd the ear of Jove;

f. 141. Nine days are fafl > fince all the court akve,
etc.] It may be thought that fo many interpofitions of
the gods, fuch meffages 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
many deities mould be employed to pacify Achilles :
but I am of opinion that the poet conducts this whole
affair with admirable judgment. The poem is now al-
moPc at the conclufion, and Achilles is to pafs from a
(late of an almoft inexorable refentment to a ftate of
perfect tranquillity; fuch a change could not be brought
about by human means; Achilles is too ftubborn to
obey any thing lefs than a God: this is evident from
his rejecting the perfuafion of the whole Grecian army
to return to the battel : fo that it appears that this ma-
chinery was neceiTary, and confequently a beauty to the

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 fulfils the promife mentioned in the firft
book, of honouring the fon of Thetis, and Homer excel-
lently fufhins his character by reprefenting the inexora*

SookXXlV. H O M E R's ILIAD. 239

hrwas voted, Hermes from his god-like foe

By ftealth mould bear him, but we will'd not To :

We will, thy Ton himfclf the corfe reftore, 14$

And to his conqueft add this glory more.

Then hye thee to him, and our mandate bear ;

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

Ror let him more (our anger if he dread)

Vent his mad vengeance on the facred dead : 150

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

The mournful father Iris mall prepare,

With gifts to fue; and offer to his hands

Whate'er his honour a(ks, or heart demands.

His word the Giver-footed queen attends, I55

And from Olympus' fnowy tops defcends.
Arriv'd, (he heard the voice of loud lament,
And echoing groans that (hook the lefty tent.
His friends prepare the victim, and difpofe
Repaft unheeded, while he vents his woes. 16Q

The Goddefs feats her by her petifive fen,
She preft 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 the poet had conducted thefe incidents merely by
human means, or fuppofed Achilles to reftore the body
of Hector entirely out of companion, the draught had
been unnatural, becaufe unlike Achilles: fuch a violence
of temper was not to be pacified by ordinary methods.
Befides, he has made ufe of the propereft perfonages to
- carry on the affair; for who could be fuppofed to have
fo great an influence upon Achilles as his own mother,
who is a goddefs ?

240 HOME R's ILIAD. Book XXIV.

How long, unhappy ! (hall thy forrows flow !
And thy heart wafte with life-confuming woe ?
Mindlefs of food, or love whole pleafing reign 165

Soothes weary life, and foftens human pain.
O fnatch the moments yet within thy pow'r,
Nor long to live, indulge the am'rous hour !

f. 164. And thy heart wafte with llfc-confuming woe.J
Thisexpreflion in the original is very particular. Were
it to be tranflated literally, it mult be rendered, how
long wilt thou eat, or prey upon thy own 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, pi W?«» xxpfitcv, that is, grieve not exceffively,
let not forrow make too great an impreffion ipon thy
heart. Euftathius.

^.168. Indulge the amorous hour!'] The ancients

(fays Euftathius) rejecled thefe verfes becaufe of the in-
decent 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 biihop is
of opinion, that they ought to be rejecled, but the rea-
fon he gives is as extraordinary as that of Thetis : fol-
diers, fays he, have more occafion for fomething to
ftrengthen themfelves with, than for women : and this
is the reafon, continues he, why wreftlers are forbid all
commerce with that fex during the whole time of their

Dionyfius of HalicarnafTus endeavours to juftify Ho-
mer by obferving that this adviceof Thetis was not given
him to induce him to any wantonnefs, but was intended
to indulge a nobler paffion, his defire of glory: me ad-
yifes him to go to that captive who was reftored to him
in a public manner to fatisfy his honour: to that cap-
tive, the detention of whom had been fo great a punifn-
ment to the whole Grecian army. And therefore Thetis


feookXXlV. H O M E R's ILIAD. 24*
Lo ! Jove himfelf <for Jove's command I bear)
Forbids to tempt the wrath of heav'n too far, 170-

ufes a very proper motive to comfort her Ton, by advi-
fing him to gratify at once both his love and his glory.
Plutarch has likewife laboured in Homer's j unification;
he obferves that the poet has fet the pidure of Achilles
in this place in a very fair and (bong point of light:
though Achilles had fo lately received his beloved Brifcis
from the hands of Agamemnon; though he knew that
his own life drew to a Cudden period ; yet the hero pre-
vails over the lover, and he does not hade to indulge
his love : he does not lament Patroclus like a common
man by neglecting the duties of life, but he abftains from
all pleafure by an excefs of forrow, and the tove of his
miftrefs is loft in that of his friend.

This obfervation excellently j unifies Achilles, in not
indulging hiinfelf with the company of his miurefs : the
hero indeed prevails fo much over the lover, that Thetis
thinks herfelf obliged to recall Brifeis to his memory.
Yet frill the indecency remains. Ail that can be faid
in favour of Thetis is, that (he was mother to Achilles,
and confequently might take the greater freedom with
her fon.

Madam Dacier difapproves of both the former obfer-
vations : me has recourle to the lawfulness of fuch a
pra&ice between Achilles and Brifeis; and becaufc fuch
commerces in thofe times were reputed honeir, therefore
(bethinks the advice was decent: the married ladies
are obliged to her for this obfervation, and I hope all
tender mothers, when their fons are afflicted, will advife
them to comfort themfelves in this manner.

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