Essays and Miscellanies - The Complete Works Volume 3
by Plutarch
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On the following day Iris calls the winds to the pyre of Patroclus (I. xxiii. 212):—

They with rushing sound rose and before them drove the hurrying clouds.

So the eclipse of the sun takes place in a natural manner, when the moon on its passage by it goes under it perpendicularly and is darkened. This he seems to have known. For he said before that Odysseus was about to come (O. xiv. 162):—

As the old moon wanes, and the new is born;—

that is, when the month ends and begins, the sun being conjoined with the moon at the time of his coming. The seer says to the suitors (O. xiv. 353):—

Ah, wretched men, what woe is this ye suffer, shrouded in night are your heads and your faces and knees, and kindled is the voice of wailing and the path is full of phantoms and full is the court, the shadows of men hasting hellwards beneath the gloom, and the sun is perished out of heaven, and an evil mist has overspread the world.

He closely observed the nature of the winds, how they arise from the moist element. For the water transformed goes into air. The wind is air in motion. This he shows in very many places, and where he says (O. v. 478):—

The force of the wet winds blew,—

he arranged the order of their series (O. v. 295):—

The East wind and the South wind clashed and the stormy West and the North that is born in the bright air, welling onwards a great wave.

Of these one comes from the rising, one from the midday quarter, one from the setting, one from the north.

And Subsolanus, being humid, changes into the South, which is warm. And the South, rarefying, is changed into the East; but the East, becoming further rarefied, is purified into the North wind, therefore (O. v. 385):—

She roused the swift North and brake the waves before him.

Their contention he explains naturally (O. v. 331):—

Now the South would toss it to the North to carry, and now again the East would yield it to the West.

He knew besides that the North Pole is suspended over the earth, and how it weighs on the men who dwell in that climate. But the South Pole, on the contrary, is profound; as when he says of the North Pole (O. v. 296):—

And the North that is born in the bright air rolling on a great wave on the Southwest wind.

(O. iii. 295):—

Where the Southwest wind drives a great wave against the left headland."

For by saying "rolling" he notes the force of the wave rushing on from above, but the wind "driving" signifies a force applied to what is higher, coming from what is lower.

That the generation of rains comes from the evaporation of the humid, he demonstrates, saying (I. xi. 54):—

Who sent from Heav'n a show'r of blood-stained rain,—

and (I. xvi. 459):—

But to the ground some drops of blood let fall,—

for he had previously said (I. vii. 329):—

Whose blood, beside Scamander's flowing stream, Fierce Mars has shed, while to the viewless shade Their spirits are gone,—

where it is evident that humors of this sort exhaled from the waters about the earth, mixed with blood, are borne upward. The same argument is found in the following (I. xvi. 385):—

As in the autumnal season when the earth with weight of rain is saturate,—for then the sun on account of the dryness of the ground draws out humors from below and brings from above terrestrial disturbances. The humid exhalations produce rains, the dry ones, winds. When the wind is in impact with a cloud and by its force rends the cloud, it generates thunder and lightning. If the lightning falls, it sends a thunderbolt. Knowing this our poet speaks as follows (I. xvii. 595):—

His lightnings flash, his rolling thunders roar.

And in another place (O. xii. 415):—

In that same hour Zeus thundered and cast his bolt upon the ship.

Justly thinking men consider that gods exist, and first of all Homer. For he is always recalling the gods (I. i. 406):—

The blessed gods living a happy life.

For being immortal they have an easy existence and an inexhaustible abundance of life. And they do not need food of which the bodies of mortal men have need (I. v. 341):—

They eat no bread, they drink no ruddy wine, And bloodless and deathless they become.

But poetry requires gods who are active; that he may bring the notion of them to the intelligence of his readers he gives bodies to the gods. But there is no other form of bodies than man's capable of understanding and reason. Therefore he gives the likeness of each one of the gods the greatest beauty and adornment. He has shown also that images and statues of the gods must be fashioned accurately after the pattern of a man to furnish the suggestion to those less intelligent, that the gods exist.

But the leader and head of all these, the chief god the best philosophers think, is without a body, and is rather comprehensible by the intelligence. Homer seems to assume this; by him Zeus is called (I. iv. 68):—

The Sire of gods and men. O father ours, son of Kronos, chief of the greater beings.

And Zeus himself says (I. viii. 27):—

As much as I am better than gods and men.

And Athene says of him (I. viii. 32):—

Well do we know thy power invincible.

If it is necessary to ask how he knew that God was an object of the intelligence, it was not directly shown, as he was using poetic form combined with myth. Yet we can gather it from the things he says (I. i. 498):—

The all-seeing son of Saturn there she found sitting apart.

And where he himself says (I. xx. 22):—

Yet he will upon Olympus' lofty ridge remain and view serene the combat."

That solitude and the not mingling with the other gods, but being gladly by himself and using leisure for one directing and ordering all things, these constitute the character of an "intelligible" God. He knew besides that God is mind and understands all things, and governs all. For censuring Poseidon, he says (I. xiii. 354):—

Equal the rank of both, their birth the same, But Jupiter in wisdom as in years the first.

And this expression frequently is used "when he again thought over other things." This shows that he was ever in thought.

But to the mind of God pertain Providence and Fate, concerning which the philosophers have spoken much. The stimulus to this came from Homer,—why should any one insist on the providence of the gods? Since in all his poetry not only do they speak to one another on behalf of men, but descending on the earth they associate with men. A few things we shall look at for the sake of illustrations; among these is Zeus speaking to his brother (I. xx. 20):—

The purpose, Neptune, well thou know'st thyself For which I called thee; true, they needs must die, But still they claim my care.

And in other places (I. xxii. 168):—

A woful sight mine eyes behold: a man I love in plight around the walls! my heart For Hector grieves.

He refers to the royal dignity of the gods and their loving care of men, saying (O. i. 65):—

How should I forget divine Odysseus, who in understanding is beyond mortals, and beyond all men hath done sacrifice to the deathless gods who keep the wide heaven?

How he makes the gods mingling with and working with men themselves it is possible to learn completely in many passages for just as he represents Athene once helping Achilles and always aiding Odysseus, so he represents Hermes helping Priam, and again Odysseus, for he says (O. xvii. 485):—

Yea even the gods, in the likeness of strangers from far countries, put on all manner of shapes, and wander through cities to watch the violence and the righteousness of men.

It is the characteristic of divine providence to wish men to live justly. This the poet indicates very clearly (O. xiv. 83):—

Verily it is not forward deeds the gods love, but they reverence justice and the righteous acts of men.

And (O. xvi. 386):—

When Jove Pours down his fiercest storms in wrath to men, Who in their courts unrighteous judgments pass.

Then just as he introduces the gods caring for men, so he represents men as mindful of them in every crisis. As the leader, succeeding in an action, says (I. viii. 526):—

Hopeful to Jove I pray, and all the gods To chase from hence these fate-inflicted hounds.

And in danger (I. xvii. 646):—

Father Jove, from o'er the sons of Greece, Remove this cloudy darkness.

And again when one has slayed another (I. xxii. 379):—

Since heaven has granted us this man to slay.

And dying (I. xxii. 358):—

But see I bring not down upon thy head the wrath of heaven.

From what other place than here did originate that doctrine of the Stoics? I mean this, that the world is one and in it both gods and men minister, sharing in justice by their nature. For when he says (I. xx. 4):—

Then Jove to Themis gave command to call The gods to council from the lofty height Of many ridg'd Olympus. Why, Lord of lightning, hast thou summoned here The gods of council, dost thou aught desire Touching the Greeks and Trojans?

What does this mean except that the world is conducted by civilized laws and the gods consult under the presidency of the father of gods and men?

His opinion on fate he shows clearly in his poems (I. vi. 488):—

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 among the other things in which he confirms the power of fate, he thinks as the most-approved philosophers have thought after him,—Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus,—that not all things happen by fate, but some things are in the power of men, the choice of whom is free. The same man in a way acts as he desires and falls into what he does not desire. And this point of view he has clearly expounded in many places, as in the beginning of each of his poems: in the "Iliad" saying the wrath of Achilles was the cause of the destruction of the Greeks and that the will of Zeus was fulfilled; in the "Odyssey" that the comrades of Odysseus went to their destruction by their own folly. For they had offended by touching the sacred oxen of the Sun, although they could have abstained from doing so. Yet it was foreordained (O. xi. 110):—

But if thou hurtest them, I signify ruin for thy ships, and for thy men, and even though thou shalt thyself escape. If thou doest them no hurt and art careful to return, so may ye yet reach Ithaca, albeit in evil case.

So not to violate them depended on themselves, but that those who had done the evil should perish follows from fate.

It is possible to avoid what happens accidentally by foresight as he shows in the following (O. v. 436):—

Then of a truth would luckless Odysseus have perished beyond what was ordained had not gray-eyed Athene given him some counsel. He rushed in and with both his hands clutched the rock whereto he clung till the great wave went by.

Then on the other hand running a great danger as he was, he had perished by fortune; yet by prudence he was saved.

Just as about divine things there are many divine reasonings in the philosophers taking their origin from Homer, so also with human affairs it is the same. First we will take up the subject of the soul. The most noble of the doctrines of Pythagoras and Plato is that the soul is immortal. To it in his argument Plato affixed wings. Who first determined this? Homer says this among other things (I. xvi. 856):—

But the soul flying on its members came to Hades,—i.e. into a formless and invisible place, whether you think it in the air or under the earth. But in the "Iliad" he makes the soul of Patroclus stand by the side of Achilles (I. xxiii. 65):—

The soul of wretched Patroclus came.

He makes a small speech for him in which he says this (I. xxiii. 72):—

The spirits and spectres of departed men Drove me from them, nor allow to Cross the abhorred river.

In the "Odyssey" through the whole account of the descent to Hades what else does he show but that souls survive after death, and when they drink blood can speak. For he knows that blood is the food and drink of the spirit, but spirit is the same thing as soul or the vehicle of the soul.

123. Most clearly he reveals that he considers man is nothing else but soul, where he says (O. xi. 90):—

There came up the soul of the Theban Tiresias having a golden sceptre.

Purposely he changes the word for soul to the masculine, to show that it was Tiresias. And afterward (O. xi. 601):—

And after him I described the mighty Heracles, his phantom I say; but as for himself he hath joy at the banquet among the deathless gods.

For here again he showed that the semblance thrown off from the body appeared, but no longer connected with its matter. The purest part of the soul had gone away; this was Heracles himself.

124. Whence that seems to philosophers a probable theory that the body is in a way the prison house of the soul. And this Homer first revealed; that which belongs to the living he calls [Greek omitted] (from "binding") as in this line (I. i. 115):—

Not the body nor the nature.

O. iv. 196:—

A body came to the woman.

O. xvi. 251:—

By my form, my virtue, my body.

But that which has put off the soul he calls nothing else but body as in these lines (I. vii. 79):—

To bring home my body again.

And (O. xxiv. 187):—

The bodies lie uncared for in the hall of Odysseus.

O. xi. 53:—

And we left the body in the house of Circe.

For the same thing, while a man lives, was the bond of the soul; when he dies it is left, as it were, his monument.

To this is related also another doctrine of Pythagoras, namely, that the souls of the dead pass into other forms of bodies. This did not escape Homer's notice, for he made Hector talking with horses, and Antilochus and Achilles himself not only talking with them but listening to them, and a dog recognizing Odysseus before men, even before his intimates. What other thing is he establishing but a community of speech and a relation of soul between men and beasts? Besides, there are those who ate up the oxen of the Sun and after this fell into destruction. Does he not show that not only oxen but all other living creatures, as sharers of the same common nature, are beloved by the gods?

The change of the comrades of Odysseus into swine and that type of animal signifies this, that the souls of undeserving men are changed into the likeness of brute beasts; they fall into the circular periphery of the whole, which he calls Circe; whereas she is justly represented as the child of the Sun, dwelling in the island of Aeaea, for this word [Greek omitted] is so called because men lament and wail by reason of death. But the prudent man Odysseus did not suffer the change, because from Hermes, i.e. reason, he had received immortality. He went down into Hades, as it were, dissolving and separating the soul from the body, and became a spectator of souls both good and bad.

The Stoics define the soul as a cognate spirit, sensible to exhalations. It has its origin from the humid portions of the body. In this they follow Homer, who says (I. ix. 609).—

While the breath abides in the breast.

And again (I. xxiii. 100):—

Vanish'd like smoke, the spirit beneath the earth.

Here he makes the vital spirit, being humid, a breath; when it is extinguished he likens it to smoke. And the word "spirit" itself he uses for soul (I. xv. 262):—

His words fresh vigor in the chief infus'd.

And (I. iv. 524):—

Breathing away his spirit.

And (I. xxii. 475):—

But when her breath and spirit returned again.

That is, she collected her distracted spirit (I. v. 697):—

But soon revived, as on his forehead blew, While yet he gasped for breath, the cooling breeze.

While his spirit was failing him in a faint, the outside breeze having a natural affinity to it brought him back to life. This argument is strengthened because for the external spirit he uses the word "soul," saying (I. xxiii. 440):—

He turned aside with lightest breath.

He wishes to say: "Having got back his breath."

Plato and Aristotle considered the soul incorporeal, but always associating with the body and needing it as a vehicle. On this account, then, it drew along the spiritual matter with it, oftentimes as an image, which had the shape of the body impressed upon it. So therefore Homer is never in his poetry found calling the soul body, but to what is deprived of soul he always gives the name, as we have mentioned in what has gone before.

The soul has, according to the views of the philosophers, a rational part, seated in the head, and an irrational part of which one element, the passionate, dwells in the heart and another, the appetitive, in the intestines. Did not Homer see this distinction when he made in the case of Achilles, the rational struggling with the passionate, deliberating in the same moment whether he should drive off the one who had filled him with grief or should stay his anger (I. i. 193):—

Up to this time he revolved these things in his mind and heart,

that is, the intelligent part and what is opposed to it? The emotional anger is represented by him as overcome by prudence. For the appearance of Athene signifies this. And in these places he makes reason admonish the emotions, as a ruler giving orders to a subject (O. xx. 18):—

Endure my heart; yea, a baser thing thou once didst bear.

And often the passionate element gives way to reason (I. xx. 22):—

Pallas indeed sat silent and though inly wroth with Jove, yet answered not a word.

Likewise injury (I. xviii. 112):—

Though still my heart be sore, Yet will I school my angry spirit down.

Sometimes he shows the passionate element getting the better of reason. This he does not praise, but openly blames; as when Nestor speaks upbraiding the insult offered by Agamemnon to Achilles (I. ix. 108):—

Not by my advice I fain would have dissuaded thee; but thou, Swayed by the promptings of a lofty soul, Didst to our bravest wrong dishonoring him Whom ev'n the Immortals honor'd.

Achilles speaks like things to Ajax (I. ix. 645):—

All thou hast said hath semblance just and fair, But swells my heart with fury at the thought of him, Of Agamemnon, who, amid the Greeks Assembled, held me forth to scorn.

So, too, reason is paralysed by fear, where Hector deliberates whether he will abide the conflict with Achilles (I. xxii. 129):—

Better to dare the fight and know at once To whom Olympian Jove the triumph wills,

Then he withdraws when he gets near Achilles (I. xxii. 136):—

Nor dared he there await th' attack, but left The gates behind, and terror-stricken fled.

It is also plain that he places the emotions about the heart. Anger as (O. xx. 13):—

The heart within barked for him.

Grief (I. xiv. 128):—

How long, my son, wilt thou thy soul consume with grief an mourning?

Then fear (I. x. 95):—

And leaps my troubled heart as tho' it would burst My bosom's bounds; my limbs beneath me shake.

In the same way just as fear, so he declares daring to be about the heart (I. xvi. 11):—

And fix'd in every breast The fierce resolve to wage unwearied war.

From these passages the Stoics took the opinion that the leading element is about the heart. That the appetitive element is placed in the intestines in many places he declares; in these verses, for example (O. xviii. 54):—

But my belly's call is urgent on me, that evil worker,—

and (O. xvii. 286):—

But now may conceal a ravening belly, a thing accursed.

And the causes which belong to the passionate element of the soul he says happen by nature. For wrath created by grief he shows is a kind of effervescence of the blood and the spirit in it as in the following (I. i. 103):—

His dark soul filled with fury, and his eyes flashing like flames of fire.

For he seemed to call spirit [Greek omitted], i.e. wrath, and this in the case of those who are angry he thinks is extended and inflamed. Again the spirit, if there is fear, is perturbed and made cold, generates tremors and terrors and pallors in the body. Pallor, by the heat coursing into the interior ruddiness leaves the surface. Tremor, because being, confined within the spirit it shakes the body. Terror, because when the moisture is congealed the hairs are contracted and stand on end. All of these Homer clearly indicates when he says (I. xv. 4):—

Pallid from fear.

And (I. vii. 479):—

Pallid fear lay hold on him.

(I. x. 95):—

My valiant members tremble.

And (I. xxiv. 358):—

The old man heard, his mind confus'd with dread, So grievously he fear'd that every hair Upon his bended head did stand on end.

According to these passages for "feared" he says "frozen" and "fear" he calls "freezing." On the other hand, for "daring" and "courage" he uses [Greek omitted], "heat." Evil effects, he distinguishes in these ways.

Again when Aristotle considers indignation a mercy among the generous emotions (for when good men are stirred because their neighors seem to succeed beyond their worth, it is called indignation. When they, beyond their desert, have misfortunes, it is called pity.) These two Homer considers to belong, to the good, for he reckons them as belonging to Zeus. Other passages he has as well as the following (I. xi. 542):—

But Jove, high-throned, the soul of Ajax filled with fear.

And in other places he pities him being chased about the wall.

What opinion the poet had about virtue and vice he shows in many places. For since one part of the soul is intelligent and rational, and the other devoid of reason and open to emotions, and on this account man has a middle position between God and brute, he thinks the highest, virtue, is divine, and the other extremity, evil, is brutelike. Just as later on Aristotle thought, he adopts these principles in his companions. For he always considers good men to be like gods, and as he says (I. ii. 167):—

By a counsel not, unworthy of Zeus.

Among the evil ones he names cowards (I. xiii. 102):—

Like to timid stags,—

and to sheep without a shepherd and to hares in flight. About those borne headlong and heedlessly to anger (I. xvii. 20):—

Nor pard, nor lion, nor the forest boar, Fiercest of beasts, and provident of his strength In their own esteem With Panthous' sons for courage nor may vie.

The laments of those grieving to no purpose he compares to the sounds of birds (O. xvi. 218):—

Where Younglings the country folk have taken from the nest ere yet they are fledged.

The Stoics who place virtue in apathy follow the passages in which he takes up every feeling, saying about grief (I. xix. 218):—

Behoves us bury out of sight our dead, Steeling our heart and weeping but a day.

And (I. xvi. 7):—

Why weep over Patroclus as a girl?

About anger (I. xviii. 107):—

May strife perish from gods and men.

About fear (I. v. 252):—

Do not speak of fear, if thou thinkest to persuade me.

And (O. xv. 494):—

Struck and smitten seeing fate and death, he fell heroicly from the sword. So those challenged to single combat obey fearlessly, and several arise to take the place of one. And the wounded man has none the less abiding courage.

(I. xi. 388):—

And now because thy shaft has grazed my foot, thou mak'st thy empty boast.

And every valiant person is likened to a lion, boar, to a torrent and whirlwind.

Now the Peripatetics think that freedom from emotion is unattainable by men. They bring in a certain mean; by taking away excess of feeling, they define virtue by moderation. And Homer brings in the best men neither feeble nor altogether fearless nor devoid of pain, but yet differing from the worst in not being overcome extravagantly by their feelings. For he says (I. xiii. 279):—

The cowards color changes, nor his soul Within his heart its even balance keeps But changing still, from foot to foot he shifts, And in his bosom loudly beats his heart Expecting death; and chatter all his teeth. The brave man's color changes not with fear, He knows the ambush ent'ring.

For it is evident that by taking away excessive fear from the good man he leaves the mean between the two. The same must be thought about the like emotions, pain and anger. To this effect is that verse of his (I. vii. 215):—

The Trojans' limbs beneath them shrank with fear, E'en Hector's heart beat quicker in his breast, The others, even at the sight, trembled.

But he, in the midst of dangers being brave, was only troubled. So he makes Dolon and Lycaon feeling fear; Ajax and Menelaus, turning gradually and going away step by step, as lions driven from their quarry. In the same way he shows the differences of those who grieve and also of those who rejoice. As Odysseus, relating the way he deceived the Cyclops, says (O. ix. 413):—

My heart within me laughed.

The suitors seeing the beggar laying on the ground (O. xviii. 100):—

But the proud wooers threw up their hands, and cried outright for laughter.

But in more trivial matters the difference of moderation appears. Odysseus though loving his wife, and seeing her lamenting on his account, contains himself (O. xix. 211):—

His eyes kept steadfast between his eyelids as it were horn or iron.

But the suitors who were in love with her when they saw her (O. xviii. 212):—

And straightways the knees of the wooers were loosened, and their hearts were enchanted with love, and each one uttered a prayer that he might be her bedfellow.

Such is the poet's treatment of the powers and passions of the soul.

Although there are various things said by the philosophers about the chief end of virtue and happiness, it is agreed by all that virtue of the soul is the greatest of goods. But the Stoics consider that virtue by itself is sufficient for happiness, taking the cue from the Homeric poems in which he has made the wisest and most prudent man on account of virtue despising trouble and disregarding pleasure. As to the first point in this way (O. iv. 242):—

Now all of them I could not tell or number, so many as were the adventures of the patient Odysseus. He bruised himself with unseemly stripes and cast a sorry covering over his shoulders, and in the fashion of a servant he went into the wide-wayed city of the foemen.

And as to the second, i.e. (O. ix. 29):—

Vainly Calypso, the fair goddess, would fain have kept me with her in her hollow caves longing to have me for her lord. Circe of Aia would have stayed me in her halls, longing to have me for her lord. But never did they prevail upon my heart within my breast.

Especially does he expound his opinion of virtue in the passages in which he makes Achilles not only brave but most beautiful in form, and swiftest of foot, and most illustrious in birth and distinguished in race and aided by the chiefest of the gods; and Odysseus understanding and firm in soul—in other respects not enjoying an equal fortune. His stature and aspect not conspicuous, his parentage not altogether noteworthy, his country obscure, hated by a god who was all but first. None of these things prevented him from being famous, from gaining the chief good of the soul.

But the Peripatetic School think the goods of the soul have the pre-eminence, such as prudence, fortitude, temperance, justice. Afterward are those of the body, such as health, strength, beauty, swiftness; and there are besides external goods such as reputation, nobility, wealth. For they think any one worthy of praise and admiration if he, fortified by the protective virtues of the soul, holds out against evils in the midst of sufferings, disease, want, unforeseen accidents, but that this situation is not a desirable nor a happy one. For not only the possession of virtue do they think good, but its use and its activity. And these distinctions Homer directly showed, for he always makes the gods (O. viii. 325):—

The givers of good things,—

these things also men pray the gods to furnish them, as being plainly neither useless to them nor indifferent, but advantageous to happiness.

What the goods are men aim at, and through which they are called happy, he declares in many places. But all of them together were centred in Hermes (I. xxiv. 376):—

Blessed are thy parents in a son so grac'd, In face and presence, and of mind so wise.

He bears witness to his beauty of body, his intelligence, and his lineage. Separately he takes them up (I. vi. 156):—

On whom the gods bestowed The gifts of beauty and of manly grace, And Zeus poured out lordly wealth,—

for this, too, is a gift of God (O. vi. 188):—

For Zeus himself gives prosperity to mortals.

Sometimes he esteems honor a good (I. viii. 540):—

Would that I might be adored as Athene and Apollo.

Sometimes good fortune in children (O. iii. 196):—

So good a thing it is that a son of the dead should be left.

Sometimes, too, the benefit of one's family (O. xiii. 39):—

Pour ye the drink offering, and send me safe on my way, and as for you, fare ye well. For now I have all my heart's desire,—an escort and loving gifts. May the gods of heaven give me good fortune with them and may I find my noble wife in my home, and my friends unharmed while ye, for your part, abide here, and make glad your gentle wives and children, and may the gods vouchsafe all manner of good and may no evil come, nigh the people.

That in a comparison of goods valor is better than wealth, he shows in the following (I. ii. 872):—

With childish folly to the war he came, Laden with stress of gold; yet naught availed His gold to save him from the doom of death.

And (O. iv. 93):—

I have no joy of my lordship among these my possessions.

And that intelligence is better than beauty of form (O. viii. 169):—

For one man is feebler than another in presence, yet the gods crown his words with beauty.

It is evident that bodily excellence and external things he considers as good, and that without these virtue alone is not sufficient for happiness he declares in the following way. He created two men who attained to the height of virtue, Nestor and Odysseus, different indeed from one another, but like one another in prudence and valor and power of eloquence. He has made them not at all equal in fortune, but on the side of Nestor he has placed the gods (O. iv. 208):—

Right easily is known that man's seed for whom Cronion weaves the skein of luck at bridal and at birth, even as now hath he granted prosperity to Nestor forever, for all his days, that he himself should grow into smooth old age in his halls, and his sons moreover should be wise and the best of spearsmen.

But Odysseus, though shrewd and clever and prudent, he often calls unfortunate. For Nestor goes back home quickly and safely, but Odysseus wanders about for a long time and endures constantly innumerable sufferings and dangers. So it is a desirable and blessed thing if fortune is at hand helping and not opposing virtue.

How the possession of virtue is of no use unless it accomplishes something, is evident from the passages where Patroclus complains to Achilles and says (I. xvi. 31):—

Whoe'er may hope in future days by thee To profit, if thou now forbear to save The Greeks from shame and loss.

So he speaks to him because he makes his virtue useless by inactivity. Achilles himself deplores his inactivity (I. xviii. 104:):—

But idly here I sit cumb'ring the ground, I, who amid the Greeks no equal own In fight,—

for he laments because though possessing virtue he does not make use of it; but being indignant with the Greeks (I. i. 490):—

No more he sought The learned council, nor the battlefield; But wore his soul away, and only pined For the fierce joy and tumult of the fight.

And so Phoenix admonished him (I, ix. 433):—

To teach thee how to frame Befitting speech, and mighty deeds achieve.

After his death he is indignant at that inertia, saying (O. xi. 489):—

Rather would I live upon the soil as the hireling of another with a lordless man who had no great livelihood, than bear sway among the dead that are no more.

And he adds the cause (O. xi. 498):—

For I am no longer his champion under the sun, so mighty a man as once I was, when in wide Troy I slew the best of the host, succoring the Argives.

That saying of the Stoics, that good men are friends of the gods, is taken from Homer, who says about Amphiaerus (O. xv. 245):—

Whom Zeus, lord of the ages, and Apollo loved with all manner of love.

And of Odysseus (O. iii. 52):—

And Athene rejoiced in the wisdom and judgment of the man.

There is, too, an opinion of the same philosophic school that virtue is teachable, and has for its beginning good birth. For Homer says (O. iv. 206):—

And from such a sire thou too art sprung, wherefore thou dost even speak wisely.

And by training it is brought to perfection. For virtue is the knowledge of living rightly, i.e. of doing the things which it is necessary for those who live well to do. These principles can also be found in Homer, for he says (I. ix. 440):—

Inexperienced yet in war, that sorrow brings alike on all And sage debate in which attends renown.

And in other places (I. vi. 446):—

Nor did my heart compel me, since I had learnt to be good,

And Phoenix says of Achilles (I. ix. 442):—

Me then he sent, to teach thee how to frame Befitting speech, and mighty deeds achieve.

For since life is made up of acts and speech, therefore he says he was the young man's teacher in these things. From what has been said it is plain that he declares the whole of virtue to be teachable. So, then, Homer is the first philosopher in ethics and in philosophy.

Now to the same science belongs arithmetic and music, which Pythagoras especially honored. Let us see whether these are mentioned by our poet. Very often. A few examples from very many will suffice. For Pythagoras thought number had the greatest power and reduced everything to numbers—both the motions of the stars and the creation of living beings. And he established two supreme principles,—one finite unity, the other infinite duality. The one the principle of good, the other of evil. For the nature of unity being innate in what surrounds the whole creation gives order to it, to souls virtue, to bodies health, to cities and dwellings peace and harmony, for every good thing is conversant with concord. The nature of duality is just the contrary,—to the air disturbance, to souls evil, to bodies disease, to cities and dwellings factions and hostilities. For every evil comes from discord and disagreement. So he demonstrates of all the successive numbers that the even are imperfect and barren; but the odd are full and complete, because joined to the even they preserve their own character. Nor in this way alone is the odd number superior, but also added to itself it generates an even number. For it is creative, it keeps its original force and does not allow of division, since PER SE the mind is superior. But the even added to itself neither produces the odd nor is indivisible. And Homer seems to place the nature of the one in the sphere of the good, and the nature of the dual in the opposite many times. Often he declares a good man to be [Greek omitted] "kind" and the adjective from it is "benignity"; as follows (I. ii. 204):—

It is not good for many to reign, let there be but one ruler.

And (O. iii. 127):—

We never spake diversely either in the assembly or in the council, but always were of one mind.

He always makes use of the uneven number as the better. For making the whole world to have five parts, three of these being the mean, he divides it (I. xv. 189):—

Threefold was our portion each obtained, His need of honor due.

Therefore, too, Aristotle thought there were five elements, since the uneven and perfect number had everywhere the predominance. And to the heavenly gods he gives the uneven shares. For Nestor nine times to Poseidon sacrificed nine bulls; and Tiresias bids Odysseus sacrifice (O. xi. 131):—

A ram and a bull and a boar, the mate of swine.

But Achilles immolated for Patroclus, all in even numbers, four horses and (I. xxiii. 175):—

Twelve noble sons he slew, the sons of Troy,—

and of nine dogs he casts two on the pyre, in order to leave for himself seven. And in many places he uses the ternary, quinary, and septenary number, especially the number nine (I. vii. 161):—

The old man spoke reproachfully; at his words Uprose nine warriors.

And (O. xi. 311):—

At nine seasons old they were of breadth nine cubits, and nine fathoms in height.

(I. i. 53):—

Nine days the heavenly Archer on the troops hurl'd his dread shafts.

And (I. vi 174):—

Nine days he feasted him, nine oxen slew.

Why pray, is the number nine the most perfect? Because it is the square of the first odd number, and unevenly odd since it is divided into three triads, of which again each is divided into three units.

But not only the virtue of numbers but a natural way of counting he showed, as in the catalogue of ships he made (I. ii. 509):—

With these came fifty ships; and in each Were sixscore youths, Boeotia's noblest flow'r.

And again (I. xvi. 170):—

They were fifty men.

Whence it is possible to compute that as all the ships were near 1200, and each had 100 men, the whole number is 12 myriads—120,000.

Again speaking. of the Trojans (I. viii. 563):—

A thousand fires burnt brightly; and round each Sat fifty warriors in the ruddy glare.

He enables one to compute that without counting allies they were 50,000 men.

Now music being closest to the soul, since it is a harmony produced by different elements, by melodies, and by rhythms, intensifies what is relaxed and relaxes the intense. The Pythagoreans have clearly proved this, and before them Homer. For he gives praise to music, in the case of the Sirens, to which he adds the following (O. xii. 188)

And had joy thereof and gone on his way the wiser.

In another place he introduces in banquets the lyre, as among the suitors (O. xvii. 271):—

And the voice of the lyre is heard there which the gods made to be mate of the feast.

And at the house of Alcinous the player on the lyre (O. vii. 266):—

Was composing a beautiful song.

And at marriages (I. xviii. 495):—

The pipes and lyres were sounding.

And in the works of the vintage (I. xvii. 569):—

A boy amid them, from a clear-ton'd pipe Drew lovely music; well his liquid voice The strings accompanied.

Besides in war (I. x. 13):—

Of pipes and flutes he heard the sound.

Also he uses music to express grief (I. xxiv. 721):—

Poured forth the music of the mournful dirge,

by the sweetness of melodies softening the bitterness of the soul.

It is clear that melody is twofold,—one of the voice, the other of instruments, partly wind, partly string. Of sound some are bass, some treble. These differences Homer knew, since he represents women and boys with treble voices, by reason of the tenuity of their breath; men, he makes with bass voices. As in the following (I. xviii. 70):—

She with bitter cry Clasped in her hands his head, and Sorrowing spoke.

And again (I. ix. 16):—

So with deep groans he thus addressed the Greeks.

But old men like the locusts (I. iii. 151) he compares to shrill-voiced creatures. Instruments whose strings are thin and vibrate quickly, easily cut the air, and give an acute sound. Those with thick ones, through the slow movement, have a deep sound. Homer calls the pipe acute—acute because being thin it gives an acute sound. Homer has this information about music.

Since we are speaking here about Pythagoras, to whom taciturnity and not expressing those things which it is wrong to speak were especially pleasing, let us see whether Homer had also this opinion. For about those drunken with wine he says (O. xiv. 466):—

And makes him speak out a word which were better unsaid.

And Odysseus upbraids Thersites (I. ii. 246):—

Thou babbling fool Therites, prompt of speech, Restrain thy tongue.

And Ajax speaks, blaming Idomeneus (I. xxiii. 478):—

But thou art ever hasty in thy speech. And ill becomes thee this precipitance

And while the armies are entering the fight (I. iii. 2-8):—

With noise and clarmor, as a flight of birds, The men of Troy advanced, On th'other side the Greeks in silence mov'd.

Clamor is barbaric, silence is Greek. Therefore he has represented the most prudent man as restrained, in speech. And Odysseus exhorts his son (O. xvi. 300):—

If in very truth thou art my son and of our blood, then let no man hear that Odysseus is come home; neither let Laertes know it nor the swineherd nor any of the household nor Penelope herself.

And again he exhorts him (O. xix. 42):—

Hold thy peace and keep all this in thine heart and ask not thereof.

So the opinions of famous philosophers have their origin in Homer.

If it is necessary to mention those who elected for themselves certain individual views, we could find them taking their source in Homer. Democritus in constructing his "idola," or representative forms, takes the thought from the following passage (I. v. 449):—

Meanwhile Apollo of the silver bow A phantom form prepar'd, the counterpart Of great Aeneas and alike in arms.

Others deviated into error in ways he would not approve of, but he represented them as fitting to the special time. For when Odysseus was detained with Alcinous, who lived in pleasure and luxury, he speaks to him in a complimentary way (O. ix. 5):—

Nay, as for me I say that there is no more gracious or perfect delight than when a whole people make merry, and the men sit orderly at feasts in the halls and listen to the singer, and the tables by them laden with food and flesh, and a winebearer drawing the wine serves it into the cups. The fashion seems to me the fairest thing in the world.

Led by these words, Epicurus took up the opinion that pleasure was the SUMMUM BONUM. And Odysseus himself is at one time covered with a precious and thin woven garment, sometimes represented in rags with a wallet. Now he is resting with Calypso, now insulted by Iros and Melantheus. Aristippus taking the model of this life not only struggled valiantly with poverty and toil, but also intemperately made use of pleasure.

But it is possible to take these as specimens of Homer's wisdom, because he first enunciated the many excellent sayings of the Wise Men, as "follow God" (I. i. 218):—

Who hears the gods, of them his prayers are heard,

And "nothing too much" (O. xv. 70):—

I think it shame even in another heart, who loves overmuch or hates overmuch; measure is in all things best.

And the expression (O. viii. 351):—

A pledge is near to evil, Evil are evil folks' pledges to hold.

And that saying of Pythagoras to one who asked who is a friend said "an ALTER EGO."

Homer's parallel saying is (O. xviii. 82):—

The equal to my head.

Belonging to the same species of Apothegm is what is called the Gnome, a universal expression about life stated briefly. All poets and philosophers and orators have used it and have attempted to explain things gnomically. Homer was the first to introduce in his poetry many excellent Gnomes stating a principle he wishes to lay down; as when he says (I. i. 80):—

And terrible to men of low estate the anger of a king.

And again what must needs be done or not done (I. ii 24):—

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief.

Of Homer's many good sayings and admonitions not a few afterward have been paraphrased. Some examples of these should find a place here; as the following passage of Homer (I. xv. 104):—

Fools are we all, who madly strive with Jove, Or hope, by access to his throne, to sway By word or deed his course! From all apart, He all our counsels heeds not, but derides! And boasts o'er all the immortal gods to reign. Prepare, then, each his several woes to bear.

Like this is a saying of Pythagoras:—

Whatever pains mortals have from the gods, whatever fate thou hast, bear it nor murmur.

And also these words of Euripides:—

Nor is it fitting to be indignant at events, no good comes of it; but when things go wrong, if one bears them right, they do go well.

Again Homer says (I. xxiv. 128):—

How long, my son, wilt thou thy soul consume with grief and mourning?

So Pythagoras:—

Spare thy life, do not wear out thy soul.

Then Homer says (O. xviii. 136):—

For the spirit of men upon the earth is even as their day, that comes upon them from the father of gods and men.

Archilochus, who imitates other things of Homer, has paraphrased this too, saying:—

Such for mortal men, O Glaucus, son of Leptineus, is their mind, as Zeus directs for a day.

And in other words, Homer says (I. xiii. 730):—

To one the gods have granted warlike might, While in another's breast all-seeing Jove Hath plac'd the spirit of wisdom and mind Discerning for the common good of all. By him are states preserved! and he himself Best knows the value of the precious gift.

Euripides has followed this original:—

Cities are well ordered by the instructions of one man. So, too, a house. One again is mighty in war. For one wise judgment conquers many hands, but ignorance with a crowd brings the most evil.

Where he makes Idomeneus exhorting his comrade, he says (I. xii. 322):—

O friend, if we survivors of this war Could live from age and death forever free, Thou shouldst not see me foremost in the fight, Nor would I urge thee to the glorious field; But since in man ten thousand forms of death Attend, which none may 'scape, then on that we May glory in others' gain, or they on us!

Aeschylus saying after him:—

Nor receiving many wounds in his heart does any one die, unless the goal of life is run. Nor does any one sitting by the hearth flee any better the decreed fate.

In prose, Demosthenes speaks as follows (O. xviii. 9):—

For all mortals, death is the end of life even if one keeps himself shut up in a cell; it is necessary ever for good men to attempt noble things and bravely to bear whatever God may give.

Again take Homer (I. iii. 65):—

The gifts of Heav'n are not to be despis'd.

Sophocles paraphrases this, saying:—

This is God's gift; whatever the gods may give, one must never avoid anything, my son.

In Homer there are the words (I. i. 249):—

From whose persuasive lips. Sweeter than Honey flowed the stream of speech.

Theocritus said (I. vii. 82):—

Therefore the Muse poured in his mouth Sweet nectar.

How, also, Aratus paraphrased this (I. xviii. 489):—

Sole star that never bathes in th' ocean wave,—


The Bears protected from cerulean ocean.

(I. xv. 628):—

They win their soul from death,

is paraphrased:—

He escaped Hades by a small peg.

Let this be enough on this subject.

But civil discourse belongs to the rhetorical art, with which it seems Homer was first to be familiar. If Rhetoric is the power of persuasive speaking, who more than Homer depended on this power? He excels all in eloquence; also in the grasp of his subject he reveals an equal literary power.

And the first part of this art is Arrangement, which he exhibits in all his poetry, and especially at the beginning of his narratives. For he did not make the beginning of the "Iliad" at a distant period, but at the time when affairs were developing with energy and had come to a head. The more inactive periods, which came into past time, he goes over in other places succinctly. The same he did in the "Odyssey," beginning from the close of the times of Odysseus's wanderings, in which it was clearly time to bring in Telemachus and to show the haughty conduct of the suitors. Whatever happened to Odysseus in his wanderings before this he introduces into Odysseus's narrative. These things he prefers to show as more probable and more effective, when said by the one who experienced them.

As therefore all orators make use of introductory remarks to get the benevolent attention of their audience, so our poet makes use of exordiums fitted to move and reach the hearer. In the "Iliad" he first declares that he is about to say how many evils happened to the Achaeans through the wrath of Achilles and the high-handed conduct of Agamemnon; and in the "Odyssey" how many labors and dangers Odysseus encountered and surmounted all of them by the judgment and perseverance of his soul. And in each one of the exordiums he invokes the Muse that she may make the value of what is said greater and more divine.

While the characters introduced by him are made to say many things either to their relatives or friends or enemies or the people, yet to each he assigns a fitting type of speech, as in the beginning he makes Chryseis in his words to the Greeks use a most appropriate exordium. First he desires for them that they may be superior to their enemies and may return home, in order that he might gain their kindly feeling. Then he demands his daughter. But Achilles being angered by the threat of Agamemnon combines a speech for the Greeks and for himself, in order to make them more friendly disposed. For, he says, all had proceeded to the war, not on account Of some private enmity, but to please Agamemnon himself and his brother, and he went on to say he had done many things himself and had received a present not from Agamemnon and Menelaus, but from the whole body of the Greeks. Agamemnon replying to him has no difficulty in winning the crowd. For when Achilles says he means to sail back home, on account of the insult he has received, he does not say "go" but "flee," changing what is said abruptly into an attack on Achilles reputation. And his words are:—

I do not exhort you to remain; there are here who value me.

And this was agreeable to his hearers.

And afterward he introduces Nestor, whom he had previously called sweet in speech and a shrewd orator (I. i. 249):—

Whose voice flowed from his tongue sweeter than honey.

There could be no greater praise for an orator. He starts off with an exordium by which he tries to change the minds of the contesting chiefs, bidding them consider by opposing one another they give occasion of joy to their enemies. He goes on to admonish both and to exhort them to give heed to him as their elder. And by telling one to be prudent, he says what gratifies the other. He advises Agamemnon not to take away what has been given to a man who has labored much; Achilles, not to strive with the king who is his superior. And he gives suitable praise to both: to the one as ruling over more people; to the other, as having more prowess. In this way he seeks to moderate them.

Again, in what follows, when Agamemnon saw the dream bearing good hopes to him from Zeus, and exhorting him to arm the Greeks, did he not use rhetorical art speaking to the multitude, saying the contrary of what he wishes, to try their feeling and to see if they will be disgusted by being compelled to do battle for him. But he speaks to please them. Another of the men able to influence them bids them stay in their tents, as if the king really wished this. For to those he speaks to he indicates that he desires the contrary. Odysseus taking up these words, and making use of a convenient freedom, persuades the leaders by his mild language; the common people he compels by threats to heed their superiors. Stopping the mutiny and agitation of the crowd, he persuades all by his shrewd words, moderately blaming them for not carrying out what they promised, and at the same time excusing them on the ground that they have been idle for some time and have been deprived of what is dearest to them. He persuades them to remain by the hope of the seer's prophecy.

Likewise Nestor, using arguments unchanged indeed but tending to the same end, and also using greater freedom to those who have been spoilt by inaction, brings over the crowd. He places the blame of their negligence on a few unworthy people and advises the rest. He threatens the disobedient and immediately takes counsel with the king as to how the forces are to be drawn up.

Again, when in the deeds of war the Greeks have partly succeeded and partly failed and been reduced to terror, Diomed, since he has the audacity of youth and freedom of speech by reason of his success, before he had shown his valor, took the king's reproof in silence, but afterward he turns on Agamemnon as if he had counselled flight through cowardice. For he says (I. ix. 32):—

Atrides I thy folly must confront, As is my right in council! thou, O King, Be not offended.

In his speech he tries to advise him and at the same time deprecate his anger. He then recites the things just performed by him, without envy, saying (I. ix. 36):—

How justly so Is known to all the Greeks both young and old.

Afterward he exhorts the Greeks, giving them indirect praise (I. ix. 40):—

How canst thou hope the sons of Greece shall prove Such heartless cowards as thy words suppose?

And he shames Agamemnon, excusing him if he wishes to depart, saying the others will be sufficient, or if all flee, he will remain alone with his comrade and fight (I. ix. 48):—

Yet I and Sthenelaus, we two, will fight.

Nestor commends the excellence of his judgment and his actions. As to the aim of the council he considers that, as the eldest, he has the right to offer advice. And he continues endeavoring to arrange for sending ambassadors to Achilles.

And in the embassy itself he makes the speakers employ different devices of arguments. For Odysseus, at the opening of his speech, did not say immediately that Agamemnon repented the taking away of Briseis, and would give the girl back, and that he was giving some gifts immediately and promised the rest later. For it was not useful, while his feelings were excited, to remember these things. But first he wished to provoke Achilles to sympathize with the misfortunes of the Greeks. Then he suggests that later on he will want to remedy these disasters and will not be able to. After this he recalls to him the advice of Peleus; removing any resentment toward himself, he attributes it to the character of his father as being more able to move him. And when he seemed mollified, then he mentioned the gifts of Agamemnon and again goes back to entreaties on behalf of the Greeks, saying that if Agamemnon is justly blamed, at least it was a good thing to save those who had never injured him.

It was necessary to have a peroration of this kind containing nothing to irritate the hearer. He specifically recalls the purpose of the speech. The final exhortation has something to stir him against the enemy, for they are represented as despising him. "For now you can take Hector if he stands opposed to you! Since he says none of the Greeks is his equal." But Phoenix, fearing that he has used less entreaties than were befitting, sheds tears. And first he agrees with his impulse, saying he will not leave him if he sails away. This was pleasant for him to hear. And he tells Achilles how Peleus intrusted Phoenix to bring Achilles up, taking him as a child, and how he was thought worthy to be his teacher in words and deeds. In passing he relates Achilles' youthful errors, showing how this period of life is inconsiderate. And proceeding he omits no exhortation, using briefly all rhetorical forms, saying that it is a good thing to be reconciled with a suppliant, a man who has sent gifts, and has despatched the best and most honored ambassadors; that he himself was worthy to be heard, being his tutor and teacher; that if he let the present occasion go, he would repent. He makes use of the example of Meleager who, when called upon to help his fatherland, did not heed until by the necessity of the calamities that overtook the city he turned to defend, it. But Ajax used neither entreaty nor pity, but freedom of speech. He determined to remove Achilles' haughtiness partly by blaming him seasonably, partly by exhorting him genially not to be completely embittered. For it befitted his excellency in virtue. Replying to each of these Achilles shows nobility and simplicity. The others he refutes cleverly and generously by bringing out worthy causes of his anger; to Ajax he excuses himself. And to Odysseus he says that he will sail away on the following day; then being stirred by the entreaties of Phoenix, he says he will take counsel about leaving. Moved by the free speech of Ajax, he confesses all that he intends to do: that he will not go forth to fight until Hector gets as far as his tents and the ships, after killing many of the Greeks. Then he says, "I think I shall stop Hector no matter how earnestly he fights." And this argument he offers in rebuttal to Odysseus about resisting the onslaught of Hector.

In the words of Phoenix he shows that there is such a thing as the art of Rhetoric. For he says to Achilles that he had taken him over (I. ix. 440):—

Inexperienced yet in war that sorrow brings alike on all And sage debate, on which attends renown Me then he sent, to teach thee how to frame Befitting speech and mighty deeds achieve.

These words show that the power of speech especially makes men renowned.

It is besides possible to find in many other parts of his poems passages pertaining to the art of Rhetoric. For he shows the method of accusation and purgation elsewhere and in the place where Hector taxes his brother, accusing him of cowardice and dissoluteness. Because he had this character, he had injured those who were far different from him; so he had become the cause of evil to his family. And Alexander softens his brothers' temper by confessing he was rightly blamed; he wipes off the charge of cowardice by promising to meet Menelaus in combat. And that Homer was a skilful speaker, no one in his right mind would deny, for it is all clear from reading his poems.

He did not overlook to give certain types to his speakers. He introduces Nestor as agreeable and attractive to his hearers; Menelaus, fond of brevity, attractive, and sticking to his subject; Odysseus, abundant subtility of speech. These things Antenor testifies about the two heroes; he had heard them when they came to Ilium as ambassadors. And these characteristics of speech Homer himself introduces, displaying them in all his poetry.

He was acquainted with Antithesis in eloquence. This in every subject introduces the contrary, and proves and disproves the same thing by clever handling of the art of logic. For he says (I. xx. 248):—

For glibly runs the tongue, and can at will Give utt'rance to discourse in every vein; Wide is the range of language, and such words As one may speak, another may return.

He knew how to say the same things at length, and to repeat them briefly, which is called Recapitulation, and is used by orators whenever it is necessary to recall briefly the numerous things which have been said. For what Odysseus related in four books in the Phaeacians, these he goes over again shortly in the passage beginning (O. xxiii. 310):—

He began by setting forth how he overcame the Cicones, etc.

But civil discourse embraces also knowledge of laws. No one can really say whether the word "law" was used in his time. Some say that he certainly knew it, for he said (O. xvii. 487):—

To watch the violence and righteousness of men.

Aristachus says the word "righteousness" ([Greek omitted]) comes from the words "to distribute well." Hence law ([Greek omitted]) seems to be called, because it distributes ([Greek omitted]) equal parts to all or to each according to his worth. But that he knew the force of law was conserved, if not in writing at least in the opinion of men, he shows in many ways. For he makes Achilles talking about the sceptre say (I. i. 237):—

And now 'tis borne, Emblem of justice, by the sons of Greece, Who guard the sacred ministry of law Before the face of Jove.

For usages and customs, the laws of which Zeus is reported as the lawgiver, with whom Minos the king of the Cretans had converse men say; which converse is, as Plato bears witness, the learning of the laws. Clearly in his poems he reveals that it is necessary to follow the laws and not to do wrong (O. xviii. 141):—

Wherefore let no man forever be lawless any more, but keep quietly the gifts of the gods, whatsoever they may give.

Homer first of all divided into different parts civil polity. For in the shield which was made in imitation of the whole world by Hephaestus (that is, spiritual power) he imagined two cities to be contained: one enjoying peace and happiness; the other at war, and exposing the advantages of each he shows that the one life is civil and the other military. Neither did he pass over even the agricultural. But he showed this, too, making it clear and beautiful in his language.

In every city it is sanctioned by the law that there is to be a meeting of a council to consider before the popular assembly is called together. This is evident from the words of Homer (I. ii. 53):—

But first of all the Elders A secret conclave Agamemnon called.

Agamemnon collects the Elders, and examines with them how to arm the people for the fight.

And that it is necessary for the leader before all things to care for the salvation of the whole, he teaches in his characters by the advice he gives (I. ii. 24):—

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief.

And how it is necessary for subjects to obey their leader, and how the commander should bear himself toward each class; Odysseus shows this, persuading the superior class by soft words, but using toward the crowd bitter words of rebuke.

To rise up for one's superiors is sanctioned in all laws. This the gods themselves do in the case of Zeus (I. i. 535):—

At his entrance all Rose from their seats at once; not one presumed To wait his coming.

There is a rule among most that the eldest shall speak. Diomed by necessity of the war having dared to speak first, requests to be pardoned (I. xiv. 111):—

Nor take offence that I, The youngest of all, presume to speak.

And it is an universal rule that voluntary offences are punished and involuntary ones are excused. This, too, the poet shows, in what the minstrel says (O. xxii. 350):—

And Telemachus will testify of this, thine own dear son, that not by mine own will or desire did I resort to thy house to sing to the wooers after their feasts; but being so many and stronger than I, they led me by constraint.

There are three forms of polity intended to attain justice and good laws,—Royalty, Aristocracy, and Democracy. To these are opposed three which end in injustice and lawlessness,—Tyranny, Oligarchy, and Mob Rule. Homer does not seem ignorant of these. Throughout his whole poem he names kingly rule and praises it; for example (I. ii. 196):—

For fierce his anger, and the Lord of counsel, Jove, From whom proceeds all honor, loves him well.

And what sort of a man a king must be, he plainly reveals (O. ii. 236):—

Be kind and gentle with all his heart.

And (O. iv. 690):—

One that wrought no iniquity toward any man, nor spake aught unrighteous in the township, as is the wont of divine kings.

And severally where he enumerates five kings of the Boeotians, and among the Phaeacians (O. viii. 390):—

Behold there are twelve glorious princes who rule among this people and bear sway, and I myself am the thirteenth.

The image of democracy he shows clearly on the shield, in which he makes two cities. The one he says is ruled democratically, since they have no leader, yet all by their own will conduct themselves according to the laws; then, too, he introduces a trial proceeding. And he exhibits a democracy when he says (O. xvi. 425):—

In fear of the people, for they were exceedingly wroth against him, because he had followed with Topheon sea-robbers and harried the Thesprotians, who were at peace with us.

A man ruling with violence and contrary to the laws he does not call a tyrant, for the name is of more recent date. But his nature he exhibits in his deeds (O. vxiii. 85):—

And send thee to the mainland to Echetus the king, the maimer of all mankind, who will cut off thy nose and ears with the pitiless steel.

And he shows Aegisthus tyrannical, who killed Agamemnon and lorded over Mycenae. And when he was killed he says he would have had no sepulchre if Menelaus had been there. For this was the custom with tyrants (O. iii. 258):—

Then even in his death would they not have heaped the piled earth over him, but dogs and fowls of the air would have devoured him as he lay on the plain far from the town: so dread was the deed he contrived.

Oligarchy he seems to show in the ambition of the suitors, about whom he says (O. i. 247):—

As many as lord it in rocky Ithaca.

He describes the mob rule in the Trojan government in which all are accomplices of Alexander and all are involved in misfortunes. Priam accuses his sons of being the cause (I. xxiv. 253):—

Haste, worthless sons, my scandal and my shame!

And also another Trojan, Antimachus (I. xi. 124):—

'Twas he who chief Seduc'd by Paris' gold and splendid gifts Advis'd the restitution to refuse Of Helen to her lord.

It is esteemed just among men to distribute to each according to his worth. This principle concerns especially reverencing the gods, and honoring parents and relations. Piety toward the gods he teaches in many passages, introducing the heroes sacrificing, praying, offering gifts to the gods, and celebrating them in hymns, and as a reward for their piety they receive from the gods.

Honor to parents he shows especially, in the character of Telemachus, and in his praise of Orestes (O. i. 298):—-

Or hast thou not heard what renown the goodly Orestes got among all men in that he slew the slayer of his father?

For parents to be cared for in their old age by their children is just by nature and a debt of retribution; this he showed in one passage where he says (I. xvii. 302):—

Not destin'd he his parents to repay their early care.

The good will and good faith of brothers to one another he shows in Agamemnon and Menelaus, of friends in Achilles and Patroclus, prudence and wifely love in Penelope, the longing of a man for his wife in Odysseus.

How we should act toward our country he showed especially in these words (I. xii. 243):—

The best of omens is our country's cause.

And how citizens should share a common friendship (I. ix. 63):—

Outcast from kindred, law, and hearth is he Whose soul delights in fierce, internal strife.

That truthfulness is honorable and the contrary to be avoided (I. ix. 312):—

Him as the gates of hell my soul abhors Where outward speech his secret thought belies.

And (O. xviii. 168):—

Who speak friendly with their lips, but imagine evil in the latter end.

Households are chiefly well ordered when the wife does not make a fuss over the undeclared plans of her husband nor without his counsel undertakes to do any thing. Both he shows in the person of Hera; the former he attributes to Zeus as speaker (I. i. 545):—

Expect not Juno, all my mind to know.

And the latter Hera herself speaks (I. xiv. 310):—

Lest it displease thee, if, to thee unknown, I sought the Ocean's deeply flowing stream,

There is a custom among all people for those who go to a war or who are in danger to send some message to their families. Our poet was familiar with this custom. For Andromache, bewailing Hector, says (I. xxiv. 743):—

For not to me was giv'n to clasp the hand extended from thy dying bed, Nor words of wisdom catch, which night and day, With tears, I might have treasur'd in my heart.

Penelope recalls the commands of Odysseus when he set forth (O. xviii. 265):—

Wherefore I know not if the gods will suffer me to return, or whether I shall be cut off there in Troy; so do thou have a care for all these things. Be mindful of my father and my mother in the halls, even as thou art or yet more than now, while I am far away. But when thou see'st thy son a bearded man, marry whom thou wilt and leave thine own house.

He knew also the custom of having stewards (O. ii. 226):—

He it was to whom Odysseus, as he departed in the fleet, had given the charge over all his house that it should obey the old man, and that he should keep all things safe.

Grief at the death in one's household he thinks should not be unmeasured; for this is unworthy, nor does he allow it altogether to be repressed; for apathy is impossible for mankind, whence he says the following (I. xxiv. 48):—

He mourns and weeps, but time his grief allays, For fate to man a patient mind hath given.

Other places he says (I. xix. 228):—

Behooves us bury out of sight our dead Steeling our hearts and weeping but a day.

He also knew the customs used now at funerals, in other passages and in the following (I. xvi. 456):—

There shall his brethren and his friends perform His fun'ral rites, and mound and column raise The fitting tribute to the mighty dead

And as Andromache says (before) the naked and prostrate body of Hector (I. xxii. 509):—

But now on thee, beside the beaked ships Far from thy parents, when the rav'ning dogs Have had their fill, the wriggling worms shall feed In thee all naked; while within thy house Lies store of raiment, rich and rare, the work Of women's hands: these I will burn with fire Not for thy need—thou ne'er shalt wear them more But for thine honor in the sight of Troy.

So, too, Penelope prepares the shroud (O. ii. 99):—

Even this shroud for the hero Laertes.

But these are examples of moderation. But exceeding these are the living creatures and men Achilles burns on the pyre of Patroclus. He tells us of them, but does not do so in words of praise. Therefore he exclaims (I. xxi. 19):—

On savage deeds intent.

And he first of all mentions monuments to the slain (I. vii. 336):—

And on the plains erect Around the pyre one common pyre for all.

And he gave the first example of funeral games. These are common to times of peace and war.

Experience in warlike affairs, which some authorities call Tactics, his poetry being varied by infantry, siege, and naval engagements, and also by individual contests, covers many types of strategy. Some of these are worth mentioning. In drawing up armies it is necessary always to put the cavalry in front, and after it the infantry. This he indicates in the following verses (I. ii. 297):—

In the front rank, with chariot and with horse, He plac'd the car-borne warriors; in the rear, Num'rous and brave, a cloud of infantry!

And as to placing leaders among the soldiers as they are arranged in files (I. ix. 86):—

Seven were the leaders; and with each went forth, A hundred gallant youths, with lances armed.

Some of the leaders fight in the front rank; some in the rear exhort the rest to fight (I. iv. 252):—

And come where round their chief Idomeneus, the warlike bards of Crete Were coming for the fight; Idomeneus Of courage stubborn as the forest boar The foremost ranks array'd; Meriones The rearmost squadrons had in charge.

It is necessary for those who are valiant to camp in the extreme limits, making as it were a wall for the rest; but for the king is pitched his tent in the safest place, that is, in the midst. He shows this by making the most valorous men, Achilles and Ajax, encamp in the most exposed spaces of the fleet, but Agamemnon and the rest in the middle.

The custom of surrounding the camp with earth-works, and digging around it a deep and wide ditch and planting it in a circle with stakes so that no one can jump over it by reason of its breadth, nor go down into it because of its depth, is found in the warlike operations of Homer (I. xii. 52):—

In vain we seek to drive Our horses o'er the ditch: it is hard to cross, 'Tis crowned with pointed stakes, and then behind Is built the Grecian wall; these to descend, And from our cars in narrow space to fight, Were certain ruin.

And in battle those who follow the example of Homer's heroes die bravely (I. xxii. 304):—

Yet not without a struggle let me die, Nor all inglorious; but let some great act, Which future days may hear of, mark my fall.

And another time (O. xv. 494):—

And if there be among you who this day shall meet his doom by sword or arrow slain, e'en let him die! a glorious death is his who for his country falls.

To those who distinguish themselves he distributes gifts (I. ix. 334):—

To other chiefs and kings he meted out their several portions.

And he threatens deserters (I. xv. 348):—

Whom I elsewhere, and from the ships aloof Shall find, my hand shall down him on the spot.

Why is it necessary to speak of the heroes in battle? How differently and variously he makes them give and receive wounds. One he thinks worthy of mention, because he thinks those wounded in front are the more honorable because they prove steadfastness and a desire to abide the shock. Those who are struck in the back or neck were less honorable, since these blows they received in flight. Both of these are mentioned in Homer (I. xii. 288):—

Not in the neck behind, nor in thy back Should fall the blow, but in thy breast in front, Thy courage none might call in doubt Shouldst thou from spear or sword receive a wound.

And again (I. xxii. 213):—

Not in my back will I receive thy spear, But through my heart.

In putting enemies to flight he gives useful advice, not to be busied with the spoil, nor give time for flight, but to press on and pursue (I. vi. 68):—

Loiter not now behind, to throw yourselves Upon the prey, and bear it to the ships; Let all your aim be now to kill, then Ye may at leisure spoil your slaughtered foe.

There are in his poetry successful deeds achieved by every age, by which every one, no matter who he may be, can be encouraged: the man in the flower of his strength by Achilles, Ajax, and Diomed; by younger ones Antilochus and Meriones; the mature by Idomeneus and Odysseus; the old men by Nestor; and every king by all of these named and by Agamemnon. Such are in Homer the examples of the discourse and action of civilized life.

Let us see now whether Homer had any familiarity with medicine. That he held the art in high regard is clear from the following (I. xi. 514):—

Worth many a life is his, the skilful leech.

Medical science appears to be the science of disease and health. That it is a science any one can learn from this (O. iv. 23):—

There each one is a leech skilled beyond all men.

That it deals with disease and health (O. iv. 230):—

Many that are healing in the cup, and many baneful,—

he indicates with these things.

Medicine has, too, a theoretical side which reaches the knowledge of particulars by universal reasoning and by inductive method. The parts of this are the study of symptoms and the knowledge of the courses of disease. The active part treating of action and effect; the parts of it diatetic, surgical, medicinal. How did Homer appraise each of these? That he knew the theoretical side is evident from this (O. iv. 227):—

Medicines of such virtue and so helpful had the daughters of Zeus.

He calls them "of such virtue" because they were prepared by theoretic art.

But the study of symptoms he goes over in the case of Achilles. For he was a disciple of Charon. He first observed, then, the causes of the pestilence which was attacking the Greeks. For he knew that the causes of common diseases were from Apollo, who seems to be the same as the Sun. For he notices the seasons of the year. If these are intemperate, they become the causes of disease. For, in general, the safety and destruction of men are to be ascribed to Apollo, of women to Artemis, i.e. to the Sun and Moon, making them the casters of arrows by reason of the rays they throw out. So dividing the male and female he makes the male of the warmer temperament. On this account, at any rate, he says Telemachus is of this type, "by the guidance of Apollo"; but the daughters of Tyndarus grew up, he says, under the protection of Artemis. Moreover, to these gods he attributes death in many places, and among others in the following (I. xxiv. 605):—

The youths, Apollo with his silver bow; The maids, the Archer Queen Diana slew.

Where he relates the rising of the Dog Star, the same is a sign and cause of fever and disease (I. xxii. 30):—

The highest he but sign to mortal man Of evil augury and fiery heat.

He gives the causes of disease where he speaks about the gods (I. v. 341):—

They eat no bread, they drink no ruddy wine, Thence are they bloodless and exempt from death.

For food, whether dry or humid, is generative of blood. And this nourishes the body; if it is excessive or corrupt, it becomes the cause of disease.

The practical part of medicine he carefully distinguishes. In this is the dietetic. First, he knew the periods and cures of diseases, as when he says (O. xi. 171):—

What doom overcame thee of death that lays men at their length? Was it a slow disease, or did Artemis the archer slay them with the visitation of her gentle shafts?

It is evident that he thinks a light diet is healthful. For he pictures his heroes making use of cooked food and so removes extravagant attention about things to eat. And since the stomach needs constant repletion, when cooked food, which has the closest relation to the body, is digested in the heart and veins, and the surfeit is cast forth, he says words like the following (O. vii. 215):—

But as for me suffer me to sup afflicted as I am; for naught is there more shameless than a ravening belly, which biddeth a man perforce be mindful of him.

And again (O. vii. 219):—

Yet ever more he biddeth me eat and drink, and maketh utterly to forget all my sufferings and commandeth me to take my fill.

He knew, too, the difference in the use of wine: that immoderate drinking is harmful but moderate profitable; as follows (O. xxi. 294):—

Honey sweet wine, that is the bane of others too, even of all who take great draughts and drink out of measure.

The other so (I. vi. 261):—

But great the strength, Which gen'rous wine imparts to men who toil And that gives additional force.

and (I. xix. 167):—

But he who first with food and wine refreshed All day maintains the combat with the foe. His spirit retains unbroken, and his limbs Unwearied till both armies quit the field.

And he thinks the agreeable taste contributes to good fellowship (O. vii. 182):—

So spake he, and Pontonous mixed the gladdening wine.

The strong and heady kind Odysseus gives to the Cyclops, the sharp kind for a medicine, for such is the Promneon brand, which he gives to wounded Machaon.

That he advises the use of gymnastics is evident in many places, for he makes his characters always at work, some in appropriate occupations, some for the sake of exercise. Although the Phaeacians are externally given to softness, and the suitors are dissolute, he introduces them doing gymnastic feats. And moderate exercise he thinks is the cause of health. For a tired body sleep is a remedy. For he says "sleep came upon Odysseus" after he had been tired out by the sea (O. v. 493):—

That so it might soon release him from his weary travail, overshadowing his eyelids.

Nature requires a tired body to take rest. And where there is too little heat, as it is not able to penetrate everywhere, it remains at the lowest level. Why does the body rest? Because the tension of the soul is remitted and the members are dissolved and this he clearly says (O. iv. 794):—

And she sank back in sleep, and all her joints were loosened.

As in other things, immoderation is not advantageous; so he declares the same with regard to sleep, at one time saying (O, xiv. 394):—

Weariness and much sleep.

And another (O. xx. 52):—

To wake and watch all night, this, too, is vexation of spirit.

He knew, too, that clearness of air contributes to health, where he says (O. iv. 563):—

But the deathless gods will convey thee to the Elysian plain and the World's end, where is Rhadamanthus of the fair hair, where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor yet great storm, nor any rain; but always ocean sendeth forth the breeze of the shrill west to blow cool on men.

He knew remedies for sufferings; for cold revives those who are fainting, as in the case of Sarpedon (I. v. 697):—

He swooned, and giddy mists o'erspread his eyes, But soon revived as on his forehead blew While yet he gasped for breath the cooling breeze.

Heat is a remedy for cold, as in the case of storm-tossed Odysseus, who bends down in the thicket, where there is a protection against winds and rains, and he covers himself with the wood about him. And other places he mentions baths and anointing, as in the case of Diomed and Odysseus returning from their night expedition. The special usefulness of baths he shows especially in the following (O. x. 362):—

She bathed me with water from out a great caldron, pouring it over head and shoulders, where she had mixed it to a pleasant warmth till from my limbs she took away consuming weariness.

It is plain that the nerves have their origin in the head and shoulders. So probably from this he makes the healing of fatigue to be taken. This takes place by the wetting and warming; for labors are parching.

We have now to consider how he treated the function of surgery. Machaon heals Menelaus by first removing the javelin; then he examines the wound and presses out the blood, and scatters over it dry medicaments. And it is evident that this is done by him in a technical fashion. Eurypalus, who is wounded in the thigh, first treats it with a sharp knife, then he washes it with clear water; afterward to diminish the pain, he employs an herb. For there are many in existence that heal wounds. He knew this, too, that bitter things are suitable; for to dry up wounds requires exsiccation. After Patroclus has applied the healing art, he did not go away immediately, but (I. xv. 393):—

Remaining, with his converse soothed the chief.

For a sufferer needs sympathy. Machaon wounded not with a great or fatal wound on the shoulder, he makes using intentionally a somewhat careless diet. Perhaps here he shows his art. For he who takes care of himself at ordinary times is able to heal himself.

This is noted, too, in Homer, that he knows the distinction of drugs. Some are to be used as plasters, others as powders, as when he says (I. iv. 218):—

And applied with skilful hand the herbs of healing power.

But some are to be drunk, as where Helen mixes a medicine in a bowl (O. iv. 221):—

A drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness of every sorrow.

He knows, too, that some poisonous drugs are to be applied as ointments (O. i. 261):—

To seek a deadly drug, that he might have wherewithal to smear his bronze-shod arrows.

Others are to be drunk, as in these words (O. ii. 330):—

To fetch a poisonous drug that he may cast it into the bowl and make an end of all of us.

So much for medicines in the Homeric poems.

Divination is useful to man like medicine. A part of this the Stoics call artificial, as the inspection of entrails and birds' oracles, lots, and signs. All of these they call in general artificial. But what is not artificial, and is not acquired by learning, are trances and ecstasy, Homer knew, too, of these phenomena. But he also knew of seers, priests, interpreters of dreams, and augurs. A certain wise man in Ithaca he tells of (O. ii 159):—

He excelled his peers in knowledge of birds and in uttering words of fate.

And Odysseus, praying, says (O. xx. 100):—

Let some one I pray of the folk that are waking show me a word of good omen within and without; let soon other sign be revealed to me from Zeus.

Snoring with him is a good sign. A divinely inspired seer is with the suitors, telling the future by divine inspiration. Once, too, Helenus says (I. vii. 53):—

He was the recipient of a divine voice. By revelation from th' eternal gods.

He gives cause of believing that Socrates had actually communications from the voice of the daemon.

What natural or scientific art is left untouched? Tragedy took its start from Homer, and afterward was raised to supremacy in words and things. He shows that there is every form of tragedy; great and extraordinary deeds, appearances of the gods, speech full of wisdom, revealing all sorts of natures. In a word, his poems are all dramas, serious and sublime in expression, also in feeling and in subject. But they contain no exhibition of unholy deeds, lawless marriages, or the murder of parents and children, or the other marvels of more recent tragedy. But when he mentions a thing of this kind, he seems to conceal rather than to condemn the crime. As he does in the case of of Clytemnestra. For he says (O. iii. 266):—

That she was endowed with an excellent mind as she had with her a teacher appointed by Agamemnon, to give her the best advice.

Aegisthus got this tutor out of the way and persuaded her to sin. He allows that Orestes justly avenged his father's death by killing Aegisthus; but he passes over in silence the murder of his mother. Many of the like examples are to be seen in the poet, as a writer of majestic, but not inhuman, tragedy.

None the less, however, Comedy took from him its origin; for he contains, although he relates the gravest and most serious things, episodes which move to laughter, as in the "Iliad" Hephaestus is introduced limping and pouring out wine for the gods (I. i. 599):—

Rose laughter irrepressible, at sight Of Vulcan hobbling round the spacious hall.

Thersites is most contemptible in body and most evil in disposition, from his raising a disturbance, and his slanderous speech and boastfulness. Odysseus attacks him on this account and gives occasion to all to laugh (I. ii. 270):—

The Greeks, despite their anger, laugh'd aloud.

In the "Odyssey" among the pleasure-loving Phaeacians their bard sings the adultery of Ares and Aphrodite. He tells how they fell into the snares of Hepheastus, and were taken in the act, and caused all the gods to laugh, and how they joked frequently with one another. And among the dissolute suitors Irus the beggar is brought in, contesting for a prize with the most noble Odysseus, and how he appeared ridiculous in the action. Altogether it is the character of human nature, not only to be intense, but to take "a moral holiday" so that the men may be equal to the troubles of life. Such relaxation for the mind is to be found in our poet. Those who in later days introduced Comedy to produce laughter made use of bare and naked language, but they cannot claim to have invented anything better. Of erotic feelings and expression, Homer makes but a moderate use; as Zeus says (I. iii. 442):—

For never did thy beauty so inflame my sense.

And what follows, and about Helen (I. iii. 156):—

And 'tis no marvel, one to other said, The valiant Trojans and the well-greaved Greeks For beauty such as this should long endure The toils of war.

And other things of the same kind. Other poets have represented men taken by this passion uncontrollably and immoderately. This is sufficient for this subject.

Epigrams are a pleasing variety of speech; they are found on statues and on monuments indicating succinctly to whom they are dedicated. And this, too, is a mark of Homer where he says (I. vii. 89):—

Lo! there a warrior's tomb of days gone by, A mighty chief whom glorious Hector slew.

And again (I. vi. 460):—

Lo! this was Hector's wife, who, when they fought On plains of Troy, was Ilion's bravest chief.

But if any one should say that Homer was a master of painting, he would make no mistake. For some of the wise men said that poetry was speaking painting, and painting silent poetry. Who before or who more than Homer, by the imagination of his thoughts or by the harmony of his verse, showed and exalted gods, men, places, and different kinds of deeds? For he showed by abundance of language all sorts of creatures and the most notable things—lions, swine, leopards. Describing their forms and characters and comparing them to human deeds, he showed the properties of each. He dared to liken the forms of gods to those of men. Hephaestus prepared Achilles' shield; he sculptured in gold, land, sky, sea, the greatness of the Sun and the beauty of the Moon and the host of the stars crowning all. He placed on it cities in different states and fortunes, and animals moving and speaking. Who has more skill than the artificer of such an art?

Let us see in another example out of many how poems resemble more those things that are seen than those that are heard. As for example, in the passage where he tells of the wound of Odysseus, he introduces what Eurychleias did (O. xix. 468):—

Now the old woman took the scarred limb and passed her hand down it, and knew it by the touch and let the foot drop suddenly, so that the knees fell into the bath, and the vessel broke, being turned over on the other side, and that water was spilled on the ground. Then grief and joy came on her in one moment, and her eyes filled with tears, and the voice of her utterance was stayed, and touching the chin of Odysseus, she spake to him saying, "Yea, verily, thou art Odysseus, my dear child, and I knew thee not before till I had handled all the body of my lord." Therewithal she looked toward Penelope, as minded to make a sign and the rest.

For here more things are shown than can be in a picture and those can be weighed by the eyes. They are not to be taken in by the eyes, but by the intelligence alone: such as the letting go of the foot through emotion, the sound of the tears, the spilt water and the grief, and at the same time the joy of the old women, her words to Odysseus, and what she is about to say as she looks toward Penelope. Many other things are graphically revealed in the poet which come out when he is read.

It is time to close a work which we have woven, like a crown from a beflowered and variegated field, and which we offer to Muses. And we, we shall not lay it to the heart if any one censures us, because the Homeric poems contain the basis of evil things, if we ascribe to him various political, ethical, and scientific discussions. Since good things are by themselves simple, straightforward, and unprepared; but what is mixed with evil has many different modes and all kinds of combinations, from which the substance of the matter is derived. If evil is added to the others, the knowledge and choice of the good is made easier. And on the whole a subject of this sort gives occasion to the poet for originating discourse of all kinds, some belonging to himself, some proper to the characters he introduces. From this circumstance be gives much profit to his readers. Why should we not ascribe to Homer every excellence? Those things that he did not work up, they who came after him have noticed. And some make use of his verses for divination, like the oracles of God. Others setting forward other projects fit to them for our use what he has said by changing or transposing it.

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