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ALEXANDER POPE, Efq;
VOLUME THE THIRD.
Printed for T. OSBORNE, H.WOODFALL, J.WHISTON and
M DCC LXIII.
Telemachus returning to the city, relates to Penelope the fum of his travels. Ulyffes is. conducted by Eumaus to the palace, where his old dog Argus acknowledges his mafter, after an abfence of twenty years, and dies with joy. Eumæus returns into the country, and Ulyffes remains among the fuitars, whofe behaviour is defcribed.
OON as Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
My friend, adieu; let this fhort ftay fuffice
v. 8. I bafte to meet my mother's longing eyes.] There are two reafons for the return of Telemachus; one, the duty a fon owes to a mother; the other, to find an opportunity to put in execution the defigns concerted with Ulyffes: the poet therefore fhifts the scene from the lodge to the palace. Telemachus takes not Ulyffes along with him, for fear he should raise fufpicion in the fuitors, that a perfon in a beggar's garb has fome fecret merit, to obtain the familiarity of a king's fon, and this might be an occafion of a difcovery; whereas when Ulyffes afterwards appears amongst the fuitors, he is thought to be an entire ftranger to Telemachus, which prevents all jealousy, and gives them an opportunity to carry on their measures, without any particular obfervation. Befides, Eu mæus is still to be kept in ignorance concerning the perfon of Ulyf
But thou attentive, what we order heed ;
This hapless stranger to the city lead;
By public bounty let him there be fed,
And blefs the hand that ftretches forth the bread.
My will may covet, but iny pow'r denies.
If this raise anger in the ftranger's thought,
The pain of anger punishes the fault :
To this Ulyffes. What the prince requires. Of fwift removal, feconds my defires.
To want like mine, the peopled town can yield
fes; Telemachus therefore gives him a plaufible reafon for his return; namely, that his mother may no longer be in pain for his fafety this likewife excellently contributes to deceive Eumæus. Now as the prefence of Ulyffes in the palace is abfolutely neceffary to bring about the fuitors deftruction, Telemachus orders Eumæus to conduct him thither, and by this method he comes as the friend and guest of Eumæus, not of Telemachus: moreover, this injunc tion was neceffary: Eumæus was a perfon of fuch generofity, that he would have thought himself obliged to detain his guest under his own care and infpection: nay, before he guides him towards the palace in the fequel of this book, he tells Ulyffes he does it folely in compliance with the order of Telemachus, and acts contrary to his own inclinations.
v. 14. To wipe the tears from all afflicted eyes, My will may covet, but my pow'r denies.]
This might appear too free a declaration, if Telemachus had made it before he knew Ulyffes; for no circumstance could juftify him for ufing any difregard toward the poor and ftranger, according to the ftrict notions, and the fanctity of the laws of hofpitality amongst the antients: but as the case ftands, we are not in the least shocked at the words of Telemachus; we know the reason why he thus fpeaks; it is to conceal Ulyffes. He is fo far from fhewing any particular regard to him, that he treats him with a severity in fome degree contrary to the laws of hofpitality; by adding, that if he complains of this hard ufage, the complaint will not redress but increase his calamity.
Adieu! but fince this ragged garb can bear
A few hours space permit me here to ftay;
With riper beams when Phoebus warms the day. 30
But left the manfion with a lofty ftride:
He props his fpear against the pillar'd wall;
v. 46. Her beauteous cheeks the blufh of Venus wear,
This defcription prefents us with a noble idea of the beauty and chastity of Penelope; her "perfon resembles Venus, but Venus "with the modeft air of Diana." Dionyfius Halicarn. takes notice of the beauty and softness of these two verfes.
Ἡ δ ̓ ἵεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο περίφρων Πηνελόπεια
When Homer (remarks that author) paints a beautiful face or an engaging object, he chufes the fofteft vowels, and most smooth and flowing femivowels: he never clogs the pronunciation with rough founds, and a collifion of untunable confonants, but every fyllable, every letter, confpires to exhibit the beauty of the object he endeavours to reprefent: there are no lefs than three and thirty vowels in two lines, and no more than twenty-nine confonants, which makes the verses flow away with an agreeable smoothness and harmony.