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An enquiry into the life and writings of Homer online

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HTH E Notes are intended ofily as Proofs ;
and are long in fome places where an In -
dn6iion of Fa6ls luas neceffary. The Tran^
jlations from ancient Authors^ being defigned
for the fame purpofe, are almofl literal -,
'which is the Re-afon why they are not ta*
ken from more poetical Verfions.


"li' - lj[lli


^4. >/tn / I. ^'

IT is the good-natured Advice of an admired
Ancient^ To think over the feveral Virtues
and Excellencies of our Acquaintance^
when we have a mind to indulge ourfelves,
and be chearful. His Friends, it wou'd feem>
were fuicere and conflant, or found it their In-
tereft to appear fo ; elfe the Remembrance of
good or great Qualities, never to be employed
in his Service, cou d not have proved fo enter-

Tis however certain, That the Pleafures of
rriendihip and mutual Coniidence, are purfu-
cd in one fhape or other by Men of all Cha-
racers : Neither Bufinefs, nor Divcrfions, nor


% j4n Enquiry into the Life

Learning, can exempt us from the Power of
this agreeable Pallion. Even a fancied Prefence
afFeds our Minds, and raifes our Spirits both in
Thought and Action. The Morahfl's Diredion
extends its Influence to every part of Life ; and
at this moment I put it in pradice, while I en-
deavour to enhvcn a few Thoughts, upon no
mean Subjed, by addreffing them to your

It is Homer, My Lord^ and the Queftioii
which you looked upon as hitherto unrefolved :
By "sjhat Fate or ^'tfpojition of things it has
happened, that None have equalled him in
Epic- Poetry for two thoiifand feven hun-
^^ dred Years ^ the Time fine e he wrote ; Nor
*' any^ that we know^ ever fur pajfed him be-
" forel' For this is the Man, whofe Works
for many Ages, were the Delight of Princes »,
and the Support of Priefts, as well as the Won-
der of the Learned, which they flill continue
to be.

However unfafe it might be, to have faid
fo of old at Smyrna ^, where Homer was dei-
fied, or at Chios among his Pofterity S I be-

*> Sirabo, fpeaking of Smynm, fays, *£«-< ^ '5 l2ioMe^it>cii j j^ rt

3-«p' uvrtr, 'Of/jy>^Hcy Mvircct. XrpccS. /3<?. <^. This Struaure wa»
built by Lyjimachnsy one of Akxande^h Succeflbrs. ^ ^

« 'A|i>t.(Pi(r*i)7a(r» (^ »^ '0/*^p8 Xiix, fx,uf>Tvpt6v ^"Tas'OMHPl A AS

and Writings ^y^ H o m e r. j

lieve it \vou*d be difficult to perfuade your
Lordfhip, That there was a Miracle in the
Cafe. That, indeed, wou*d quiclcly put an end
to the Qiieflion ; For were we really of the
fame Opinion, as the Ancients, that Homer
was infpired from Heaven , that he fung, and
wrote as the Prophet and Interpreter of the
Godss we lliould hardly be apt to wonder : Nor
wou'd it furprize us much, to find a Book of
an heavenly Origin without an Equal among
human Compofitions : to find the Subjed of it
equally ufeful and great, the Stile juft, and yet
fublime, the Order both fimple and exquifite,
to find the Sentiments natural without lownefs,
the Manners real, and withal fo extenfive, as to
include even the Varieties of the chief Characters
of Mankind ; We fhou'd expcd: no lefs, con-
fidering whence it came: And That I take
to have been the Reafon, why none of the An-
cients have attempted to account for this Pro-
digy. They acquiefced, it is probable, in the
Pretenfions, which the Poet conftantly makes
toceleftial Inftrudion, and feem to have been of
Tacitus' s Opinion, " That it is more pious and

" rcfpeclful to believe, than to enquire into

« the Works of the Gods b".
But, My Lord^ the happy Change that has
been fince wrought upon the face of religious
AffairSj gives us liberty to be of the contrary

B 2 Opinion;

• 'n? (pn'inv o E O'S, ^ him O P * H'THS., HAktah, 'AAxj? («^# ^».
^ Pe Moribus Germanomm.

4- An Enquiry into the Lije

Opinion : Tiio' in ancient times it migiit have

gone near to banilTi us from Smyrna or Colophon,

yet at prefent it is become pertedly harmlels ; and

we may any where affert, *' That Horner^ Poems

" are of HiimanCompofitionh infpired by no

*' other Power tiian his own natural Faculties,

** and the Ciiances of his Education: In a

** word. That a Concourfe of natural Caufes,

*' confpired to produce and cultivate that

" miehty Genius, and gave him the nobleft

" Field to exercife it in, that ever fell to the

*' fhare of a Poet."

Here, My Lord, there feems to be occa-

fion for a little Philofophy, to put us, if pofli-

ble, upon the Track of this fuigular Phaenome-

non : It has fhone for upwards of two thou-

fand Years in xh^Toetick World ; and fo dazzled

Men's Eyes, that they have hitherto been more

employed in gazing at it, than in inquiring

What formed ity or How it came there? And

veiy fortunately, the Author of all Antiquity,

who feeins to have made the happiefl union

of the Courtier and the Scholar^ has determined

a Point that might have given us fome trouble.

He has laid it down as a Principle, " That

*' the greateft Genius cannot excel without

*' Culture ; Nor the fineft Education produce

" any thing Noble without Natural Endow-

" ments'^y Taking this for granted, We may

aflure ourfelves that Homer hath been happy

in them bothj and niufl now follow the dark


« Horat. De Arte Poet.

and Writings ^ H o m e R. 5"

Hints afforded us by Antiquity, to find out
How a hl'mdJirolingBard could come ly them,

I DO not choofe to entertain your Lordfhip
with the Accidents about his Birth b; tho'
fome Naturalifts would reckon them the Begin-
nings of his good Fortune. I incline rather to
obferve, That he is generally reputed to have
been a Native of y4fia the lefs > a Trad: of
Ground that for the Temperature of the Climate^
and Qualities of the Soil^ may vye with any
in Europe^. It is not fo fat and fruitful as
the Plains of Babylon or Banks of the AT//?, to
effeminate thelnhabitants,and begetLazinefs and
Inadivity : But the Purity and Benignity of the
Air, the Varieties of the Fruits and Fields, the
Beauty and Number of the Rivers, and the con-
ftant Gales from the happy Iflesofthe Weftern
Sea, all confptre to bring its Productions of
every kind to the highefl Perfedion : They in- .
fpire that Mildnefs of Temper, and Flow of
Fancy, which favour the moflextenfive Views,
and give the finefl Conceptions of Nature and

I N the Divifion commonly made of Cli-
mates, the Rough and Cold are obferved to

B 3 pro-

** Sw/?-,) THv neCi^ot, ( (>fc'/)T£pc4 'OjM<n'p») jW.jyfHreti' ivJ^j ?[xBfutui;, Of

*^ Mimnermus, a Man of a delicate Tafte, who knew the Coun-
try well, calls it, (>-E»ri'iv 'Ao-'ur, the lovely y^?« ; And Herodotu.', who
was acquainted with it, and moft of the fine Countries tiien known,
afnrms, (3( 1^4^'' "li5ȣ(; itT-oj, t j^ to rixnoinot i?\, ^ f^ 'Ov^cci x.- T^

6 An Enquiry into the Life

produce the ftrongeft Bodies, and moil martial
Spirits ; the hotter, lazy Bodies with cunning
and obilinatc PaiTions ; but the temperate Re-
gions, lying under the benign Influences of a
genial Sky, have the beft Chance for a fine Pcf"-
ception, and a proportioned Eloquence ^ Good
Senfe is indeed faid to be the Produd of every
Country, and I believe it is ; but the richeft
Growths, and faired Shoots of it, fpring, like


•* Left it be thought thatthefe Conftquencesare ftrained, it may-
be worth while to fet down the Opinion at length of the Great
Hippocrates, in his IVeatife of Air, Water and Situation : B»;io/a«6< i\

Tci. — Tita'AHl' UK 7:/'.i~<rov i'liUp'i^iv <pi;i/,'t'^'E'{P il'nUE, «; rlci <Pu-

tvx ;^ ubil^ovu, TTUvrx yivtrai c* t^ 'AitA; ; ij tI yyj^^^A "^ ^^pw^ vt/Jbt^uTify], >^

Tu' HB-iiiT kvS'fciTruv yiTTilUTlfX fC iliifjOTipX, To d'l cilTiOV TiiTiUV, if rt

y^oiCic, T ilfttkiVj 07 i i ^AjK ci f/ii(ra> t eivxri}>Mv xitrxi zrpo^ 7Y]v «ft!,
is" T£ Y^/tpS zycfipuTifa; Tj'jv di uvtri<y» f^ y.fjjifOTi/iTX i^x^kxi 't>M-
fjji' ccTCMTUi, 0K6TXV fjj/)div vj iziy-f»ri\i fiiu'wc^ ac.?>i,x 7ru.vT(^ i(ro-
f/joipivi cvtotf/j'^, ' t.^4 ^'i x-xroi rnv 'Atrtw « tixvjx)!^ o/t^o/o)?, xXt.x
ccx w,'J 'i' JC^'fiXi ov iMio-a/x.iirxt S ^ii'iJi'5 J^ ^ '\'^/C?^i uvrvi fOfi iv-
■nxjiZiroTUTii is'iy y^ tvS^n^xTtif y^ ivi'i.^ficrxT^, y^ uS'cta-i, uuxXirx Kt-
^finrxi, rcTtri ts oupuvioia-i y^ Toitrt <y^ t 7^5. ' Ovn ffi q^k S ^iffJUiS
iKKiKuvrxt Xixv -J 'Ovn u,to xvx,t^uy y^ ccvui'^iyK; xvx^/^xtvtTa.i ^ ' Ourt

W-TO i^U^i'^ TTKyvVTUl' NoTJOS 7£ ^'KX.7f.O^'^- S-7J, VTTO ri 'tf/jQf,tVt TToX'

^iiiiv y^ X""^' '^'^ '■^ o)fx'ix xvToSt T,o>hai ioiKoc, i-jinQxi, o>co(rx
rs 'i>bn> asri^f/txr&iv, \u oyJatrx ocvttj v, -/v, xixMoX <puvx, wii rctiri xx^-
vrcirt ;^piovTet4 xvB^puTroi^ itfjuipQiirii i'^ ccyi^iuv, K. lit, iyriT>i^ioy fijiTx-
(pvTievrUg Tx T£ c^v-rpiip'of^JfiX xtijvsoc fv^u-/<lv suta? tCj fjJxXt^Xy Tix.-

tit ti 7!VK.V07XTX, >i £K-p£^i;'l' XaJ^^tf «. TuC, T( ' AvB-^illTTiSi; iVTfXCplTi

iivxi, J^ TX iic'ix x.<»^iV»?5 >^ uiiysS^i) fJjiyWuc , y^ viKti-x S'iX<p'o^>ii
*5 TXTi ii^ix xvrav i^ tx f/jiyt^ix, 'EiyJoi; ts tjjv X'^'f''''^ TxvTii*
■srfo<r(lyuTXTX avxt^ sJ kxtx t};» (puinv y^ tjjv //jiTpioTtiTX T flpi»v ;

To 05 XV^flXoV, r^ TO XTXPiXiTTOpo)^ >^ TO tl/jTTCtCV, J^ TO B'Vf/joioic, CVJC
til OViXITO on TOiXOTtf <Pu(ri E.'y{«c3j, fJt^KTi OfJljO<PvXl», f/jVjTi ««;»i^^fAo>;
it,'<^X Ti]il WOVyiV XpXTi'iv, 'l7r~0KpuliK'^S^ TOTtZv, &C.

To the fame Purpofe the Philofopher, 'H ©s«5 {'Ai/.vx) -r^oTipysi

wM/5? KXToiKi^i'/, iKMixfJjfy) T ToTtov CUD o) ysys'vjjc&t. Till/ 'Ev>cpx<rtxf
T 'Q.pmii in xvTM KXTi^ia-x, on 4>P O N I M O T A'TO r S xvS'pxi, La-i,

UKxTm(^ T</A<»»®-.


and Writings (j/' H o m e R . 7

other Plants, from the happieft Expofition and
moft friendly Soil ^

The purfuing a Thought thro* its rcmoteft Con-
fequences, is fo familiar to your Lordfhip, that I
need hardly mention the later Hiftory of this
Trad. It has never failed to fhew itsVirtue, when
Accidents from abroad did not (land in the way.
In the early Times of Liberty, the firft, and
grcatefl Number oi^htlofophers f, Hijiorians^^

B 4 and

* Ittgenta Hominum ub i que Iocorum7?/a J format. Q^Curtius,
Lib. 8. The Proof of this Afl'crtion is attempted in form in a
Tf eatife of Galen's ; That the Manners of Mankind depend upon the
Conjlitution of their Bodies.

f Thales of Miletus, contemporary witli Cyrus : Jnaximander,
Anaximenes, his Scholars, of the fame Place. Pythagoras of Sa-
fnos. Heraclitjis of Ephefus ; and Hermagoras, who was banifhed
that City for his too great Sobriety. Chryjippus was of Solis, Zena
of Cyprus, Atiaxagoras of Cla%omene. Xenophanes, the Naturalifl,
was of Colophon. Cleanthes, the Stoick, of JJJiiSf where ^>/>
Jlotle ftay'd for many Years. Me tr odor us, the great Friend of Epi-
<urus, was of Lampfaats ; where this Philofopher too dwelt fo long
that he may almoit pafs for a Native. Theophrajius, and his Com-
panion P/?'i2/;/<?/, were of fr^w, andhis Succeffor iV>/c'/«, the Heir
of Arijlotles Library, was of Scepjis. Thefe, and Xenocrates the
Platonick, Arcefilas the Academick, Protarchus the Epicurean,
and Eudoxus the Mathematician, Plato 6 Friend (all great Names
in Philofophy) drew their firft Breath on the fame Coall : As did
likewife Hippocrates, Simus, Erajijlratus, Afclepiades, Apollonius,
the greatelt Mailers of Medicine. It is alfo obfervable, tliat of the
fe'ven early Sages, called the ivif Men of Greece, four belonged to
phis Climate : Pittacus of Mitylene, Bias of Priene, Cleobulus the
hindian, and the abovemcntioaed Milefian Thales.

t Hecataus and Pherecydes, the two oldeft Hiftorians the Greekt
had, was the one of Miletus, and the other of the little Ifland
Syros. Hellanicus was of Lejbus, Theopcmpus of Chios : The old
Scylax was of Caryanda. Ephorus, the great Hiltorian, was of
Cuma ; Ctefias, Phyfician to Artaxerxes King of Perfa, and a
great Writer of Wonders, was of Gtiidus : 'Yo whom if you join
the inimitable Plerodotus, you will have the Names of the cliief
Hiltorians among the Greeks, excepting the tfio Athenians, Thucy-
dides and Xenophon.

8 An Enquiry into the Life

and Toets \ were Natives of tlu A,7atick
Coafl:, and adjacent Iflands. And after an In-
terval of Slavery, when the Influences of the
Roman Freedom, and of their mild Govern-
ment, had reached that happy Country, it re-
paid them, not only with the Delicacies of their
Fields and Gardens, but with the more valua-
ble Produdions of Men of Virtue and Learn-
ing^, and in fuch Numbers, as to fill their


'' Hejiod^ near Hamer's own Days, was of Cumee ; Mimnermus
of Colophor', Archilochus of Paros, Tyrtaus of Miletus ; ThaleSy
the Poet and Law-giver, and Epimenides, the Charmer, were of
Crete. Anacreon was a Teian^ Simonides a Cean, Arion and Ter-
fander were Lejbians : And not to mention the particular Places of
efvery one's Birth, The admired Sappho, her Lover Alco'us, Bachylli-
des, Chierilus (not Alexanders), Phocylides, Bion, Si/nmias, PhiletaSf
Ion the Tragedian, Philetnon Me)iander\ Rival, Hegcmon Epami-
vondass Panegyrift, and the Afeonomick Poet Aratus, were all
born in this Poetical Region. It had alfo the Honour of producing
the Erythraean Sihl, and another infpired Lady, Athendis, under
Alexander. But what is by far the moll remarkable upon this Ar-
ticle is. That the famous Five, who diltinguifhed themfelves in
Epick-Poetry, were all Natives of this very Climate. Hear the
Tellimony of the learned Tzf/x^j : liyatxa-i oithtuv t noinrav
t 'Evix-iv ) uv^fi^ ovofAtci^oi vivTi ; 'O/Jijy.soc o ■xcn.Xu.iO';, Auri/Xici^©^
h KeXo^ain^ , T1civvic(rn, nsi«r«i'^|®- o ICasf/^^^sy;, )C^ »t;^ o 'Heri-
6!o^, 'lux'j, T(^sTi^))5 lie, 'lltriuooi. Pifander was of Rhodes, and,
of great Reputation, niltrxv^p©^ 6 ^\cc(ry]i/jnT»i(^ nenjrik, K«-
f/jiaug ht '^ri<poi\i. tsh^ jtoAeSi'. Antimachus wrote the Theban
War ; and Panyajis the Labours oi Hercules : He was of Halicar-
tialfus. Suidas fays of him, "ZZio-^'iKrxv Tjif netvjT^xwv jVat^yayf.

" 1 Pantet'tus, St-ratocks, Andronkus the Peripatetick, Leonidas the
Stoick, and before them Praxiphanes, Eudemus, and Hieronymus, were
all of Rhodes. Pojidonius was of Apamea in Syria, but lived, govern-
ed and taught in the fame Ifland. Charon the Hiftorian, Adeiman-
tus, and Anaximenes the Rhetor, were of Lampfaciis. Agathar-
chides the Ariftotelicic, of Gnidus. Erajlus and Caryfcus, of the
Socratick School, were Natives of Scepjis near Troy. That little
Place was formerly famous for the Birth of Demetrius, the cele-
brated Critick, contemporary with Arijlarchus ; and of MetrodoruSy
a Man of high Spirit and Eloquence, the unhappy Favourite of the


and Writings of}!{ounvi. 9

Schools, and the Houfes of the Great ; to be
Companions for their Princes % and to leave
fome noble Monuments for Poflerity.

I T will probably be thought too great a Re-
finement to obferve, that Homer muft have


^t^xMithridates. HegeJias,Xenocles, and Menippus , the Authors
and greateft Ornaments of the JJiatick Eloquence : And in general,
the Tcacners of Oratory and Philofophy came from the fame Coaft :
Diophanes ; Potamon zndLe/doc/es, great Men and Rivals, from Miiy-.
lene ; Crinagoras, Dtonyjiui Jtticus, Diodorus Sardianus, Diotrephes^
Alexander firnamed Lychnus, Dionyfocles, and Damafus called
Scombrus ; Apolloniiis Nyf^ns, Menecratcs, Apollonius Malacus, Nl-
cias of Cos, who grew Anibitious and tamed Tyrant ; Theodoras
C> onus the Dialeftick, Archidamus, Jntipater, Nejlory Stoicks ;
with many others, whom fee in Setieca the Father, his Confro-
rjer. iS Suafor. where he relates the Sentences of the Grecian

* Theophanes the Hiftorian, Pofnpeyh great Friend and Counfellor,
was of Mitylene : His Son was afterwards Prefedl of AJia. Ari-
Jiodemus of Ny/a had been Pompefs Mailer ; and his Coufin-Ger-
man of the fame Name, was entrufted with the Education of the
Children of that great Man His younger Son Sextus Pompey,
when he was Lord of the Seas, had Dionyjlus the Halicar7iajfean
among his Friends, the celebrated Hiilorian and Critick. Theo-
pompus of Gnidus, and his Son, were botli Favourites of Jid'ius
CJfar ; and the Father had a great hand in his ihort Adminiltra-
tion. ApoHonius Molo was Cicero's Mailer. Pompey going to his
Eaftern Expedition, paid Pojldoiiius a Vifit in his School at Rhodes,
and humbled his Fafces at the Gate as they ufed to do to a Superior :
When he was about to take leave, Pompey alked his Commands, and
this courtly Philofopher bid him, in a line of Homer, ' Hiu ^pi^ lunv >^
x}aiifio;(^of ''■•tjf/^j^.. 'k>\uv', Al'iicays excel a7id Ihine aboue the reji y the
thing in the World he moft wanted to do. Hyhreas tJie fineil Speaker
in his time, was in high Favour with Marc Antony ; and the Care of
j^«|-K/?«/s Marmers was committed by C^efar his Onclc, toApollodore
the Pergamenian. The elder Athe-nodore needs no other Proot of
his Virtue and Merit, than that he lived and died with '' a :us
Cato. The younger held a high Place in AugKJlush Favour, grew
dearer to him the longer he lived, got great Honour ; and ^ jn
weary of the Court, returned with abfolute Power from the ■ ' i^e
to reform and g?'';ern his native City. He was fucceeded in J ^vovr
and Honour by Nejior the Academick, who was ch^irged wit:, uie
Education of the noble ManelluSy O^avia's Son, and apparent;
fLeix of the Empire.

JO An Enquiry into the Life

been the firft or fecond Generation, after the
Tranfplantation or rather the final Settlement
of this Colony, from the rocky Morea to thefe
happy Lands: A Situation, in which Nature is
obferved to make the moft vigorous Efforts, and
to be moft profufe of her genial Treafure. The
Curious in Horfes, are concerned to have a
mixed Breed, a Remove or two from the fo-
reign Parent 5 and what Influence it might have
here, will belong to the Curious in Mankind
to determine.

If Homer then, came into the World, in
fuch a Country, and under fo frop'tUous an Af-
peft of Nature, we muft next enquire, what
Reception he met with upon his Arrival ; in
what Condition he found things, and what Dif-
pofitions they muft produce in an exalted Qtf
nius, and comprehenfive Mind. This is a dif-
ficult Speculation, and I fhou*d be under no
fmall Apprehenfions how to get thro' it, if
I did not know that Men moving, like your
Lordfliip, in the higher Spheres of Life, are well
acquainted with the EfFeds of Culture and Edu-
cation. They know the Changes they are able
to produce ; and are not furprized to find them,
as it were, new-moulding human Creatures, and
transforming them more than Urganda or
Circe. The Influence of Example and Difci-
pline is, in effcd, fo extenfive, that fome very
acute Writers have miftaken it for the only


and Writings ^/ H o m e r. i i

Source of our Morals ^ : the' their Root lies
deeper, and is more interwoven with our Ori-
ginal Frame. However, as we have at prefent
only to do with Homer, in his Poetical Capa-
city, we need give ourfelves no further Trouble
in confidering the Tenour of his Life, than as ic
ferved to raifc him to be the Prince of his Pro-

In this Search, we mull: remember that
young Minds are apt to receive fuch ftrong Im-
preflions from the Circumftances of the Coun-
try where they are born and bred, that they
contrad a mutual kind of Likenefsto thofe Cir-
cumftances, and bear the Marks of the Courfe
of Life thro' which they have paffed. A Man
who has had great Misfortunes, is eafiiy diftin-
guifhed from one who has lived all his Days in
high Profperity ; and a Perfon bred to Bufinefs,
has a very different Appearance from, another
brought up in Sloth and Pleafure : Both our Un-
derftanding and Behaviour receive a Stamp from
our Station and Adventures ; and as a liberal
Education forms a Gentleman, and the contrary
a Clown, in the fame manner, if we take things
a little deeper, are our Thoughts and Manners
influenced by the Strain of our Lives. In this
view, the Circumftances that may be reafona-
bly thought to have the greatefl EfFedt upon us,
may perhaps be reduced to thefe following :
Hrft, The State of the Country where a Per-

' Monf. Moihe k Vaytr, &c.

IX An Enquiry into the Life

fon is born and bred 5 in which I include the
common Manners of the Inhabitants, their
Conft'tttitton civil and reUgious, with its Caufes
and Confequences : Their Manners are ittn
in the Ordinary way of living, as it hap-
pens to be polite or barbarous, luxurious or
iimple. Next, the Manners of the TimeSy
or the prevalent Humours and Profeflions in
vogue : Thefe two are publick, and have a com-
mon efFeft on the whole Generation . O f a more
confined Nature is, firft, ^Private Education ;
and after that, the particular way of Life we
choofe and purfiie, with our Fortunes in it.

From thefe Accidents, My Lordy Men
in every Country may be juftly faid to draw
their Character, and derive their Manners. They
make us what we are^ in fo far as they reach our
Sentiments, and give us a peculiar Turn and Ap-
pearance : A Change in any one of them makes
an Alteration upon Ush and taken together, we
muft confider them as the Moulds that form us
into thofe Habits and Difpofitions, which fway
our Conduft and diftinguilh our Adions,


rUings o/R o M e R. i j

THERE is, My Lord, a thing, which,
tho' it has happened in all Ages and Na-
tions, is yet very hard to defcribe. Few Peo-
ple are capable of obferving it, and therefore
Terms have not been contrived to exprefs a Per-
ception that is taken from the wideft Views of
Human Affairs. It may be called a ^rogrejVon
of Manners -, and depends for the moft part up-
on our Fortunes : As they flourifh or decline, fo
we live and are affedled ; and the greateft Revo-
lutions in them produce the moft confpicuous
Alterations in the other ; For the Alanners of a
I People

14- An Enquiry Into the Life

People feldom ftand ftill, but are either polifli-
ing or fpoiling. In Nations, where for many
Years no confiderable Changes of Fortune hap-
pen, the various Rifes and Fails in their moral
Character are the lefs obferved : But when by
an Invafion and Conqueft the Face of things is
wholly changed ; or when the original Planters
of a Country, from a State of Ignorance and
Barbarity, advance by Policy and Order, to
Wealth and Power, it is then^ that the Steps of
the Progreflion become obfervable : We can fee
every thing on the growing Hand, and the very
Soul and Genius of the People rifing to higher
Attempts, and a more liberal Manner ,

From the Accounts left us of the State of
ancient Greece^ by the moll accurate of their
Hiftorians=^, wc may perceive three Periods in
their Affairs. The jirft, from the dark Ages,
of which they had little or no Knowledge ^, to
the tim e of the Trojan War. The fecond, from
the taking of Troy, to the ^erjian Invafion un-
der Xerxes. The thirdy from that time, to the
lofs of their Liberty, firil by the Macedonians,
and then by the Romans, Greece v^zs peopled
in the Firft ; Ihe grew, and the Conflitution was
fettled in the Second ^ Jhe enjoyed it in the
Third, and was in all her Glory. From the two


* ThucydUes, Lib. i.

^ Cur fupera Bellum Thebanum & Funera Troja-,
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poets ?
Quo tot fafta Virum toties cecidere ? Nee ufauani,
iEtemis fam« jMonuraentis kiita fiorent ? T. Lucret*

and Writings of Howe r. ly

frft Periods, Homer drew his Imagery and
Manners, learned his Language, and took his
Suhje5f^ which makes it neceflary for us to re-
view them.

What is properly called Greece y is but a
rough Country : It boafts indeed, as well it may
in fuch an Extent, many a fine Vale, and deli-
cious Field ; but taking it together, the Soil is
not rich or inviting. It was anciently but thin-
ly inhabited, and thefe Inhabitants were expo-
led to the greateft Hardfhips : They had no
conftant nor fixed Pofiefilons ; but there were
frequent Removes, one Nation or Tribe ex-
pelling another, and poflefiing themfelves of
their Seats ^ : This was then look*d upon to be a
Calamity, but not near fo grievous as we ima-

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Online LibraryThomas BlackwellAn enquiry into the life and writings of Homer → online text (page 1 of 23)