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poetry with them.' If this be true, there lay a debt of gratitude upon Homer, and he pays it honourably, by this distinguishing character, which he gives to the father. An instance of a worthy disposition in the poet, and it remains at once an honour to Tiresias, and a monument of his own gratitude.

V. 602. Soon shalt thou reach old Ocean's utmost ends, &c.] This whole scene is excellently imagined by the poet, as Eustathius observes; the trees are all barren, the place is upon the shores where nothing grows; and all the rivers are of a melancholy signification, suitable to the ideas we have of those infernal regions. Ulysses arrives at this place, where he calls up the shades of the dead, in the space of one day; from whence we may conjecture, that he means a place that lies between Cumæ and Baiæ, near the lake Avernus, in Italy; which, as Strabo remarks, is the scene of the necromancy of Homer, according to the opinion of antiquity. He further adds, that there really are such rivers as Homer mentions, though not placed in their true situation, according to the liberty allowable to poetry. Others write, that the Cimmerii once inhabited Italy, and that the famous cave of Pausilipe was begun by them about the time of the Trojan wars: here they offered sacrifice to the manes, which might give occasion to Homer's fiction. The Grecians, who inhabited these places after the Cimmerians, converted these dark habitations into stoves, baths, &c.

Silius Italicus writes, that the Lucrine lake was anciently called Cocytus, lib. xin

Ast hic Lucrino mansisse vocabula quondam
Cocyti memorat.'


It is also probable, that Acheron was the ancient name of Avernus, because Acherusia, a large water near Cumæ, flows into it by concealed passages. Silius Italicus informs us, that Avernus was also called Styx:

'Ille olim populis dictum Styga, nomine verso,

Stagna inter celebrem nunc mitia monstrat Avernum.'

Here Hannibal offered sacrifice to the manes, as it is recorded by

Livy and Tully affirms it from an ancient poet, from whom he quotes the following fragment:

'Inde in viciniâ nostrâ Averni lacus,

Unde animæ excitantur obscurâ umbra,

Alti Acherontis aperto ostio.'

This may seem to justify the observation that Acheron was once

the name of Avernus, though the words are capable of a different interpretation.







ULYSSES Continues his narration, How he arrived at the land of the Cimmerians, and what ceremonies he performed to invoke the dead. The manner of his descent, and the apparition of the shades: his conversation with Elpenor, and with Tiresias, who informs him in a prophetic manner of his fortunes to come. He meets his mother Anticlea, from whom he learns the state of his family. He sees the shades of the ancient heroines, afterwards of the heroes, and converses in particular with Agamemnon and Achilles. Ajax keeps at a sullen distance, and disdains to answer him. He then beholds Tityus, Tantalus, Sysiphus, Hercules: till he is deterred from further curiosity by the apparition of horrid spectres, and the cries of the wicked in


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