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ercise of the bow. Later writers differ from Homer, as Eustathius observes, concerning Eurytus. They write that Hercules overcame him; and he, denying his daughter, was slain, and his daughter made captive by Hercules: whereas Homer writes that he was killed by Apollo, that is, died a sudden death, according to the import of that expression. The ancients differ much about Oechalia; some place it in Euboea, and some in Messenia, of which opinion is Pausanias. But Homer in the Iliad places it in Thessaly: for he mentions with it Tricca and Ithomè, which, as Dacier observes, were cities of Thessaly.

How then is Ulysses speaks

V. 263. Sole in the race the contest I decline.] This is directly contrary to his challenge in the beginning of the speech, where he mentions the race amongst the other games. this difference to be reconciled? Very naturally. with a generous warmth, and is transported with anger in the beginning of his oration: here the heat of it is cooled, and consequently reason takes place, and he has time to reflect that a man so disabled by calamities is not an equal match for a younger and less fatigued antagonist. This is an exact representation of human nature; when our passions remit, the vehemence of our speech remits; at first he speaks like a man in anger, here like the wise Ulysses.

It is observable that Ulysses all along maintains a decency and reverence towards the gods, even while his anger seems to be master over his reason; he gives Eurytus as an example of the just vengeance of heaven, and shews himself in a very opposite light: he is so far from contending with the gods, that he allows himself to be inferior to some other heroes: an instance of modesty.

V. 265.


age well may fail, When storms and hunger ......]

This passage appears to me to refer to the late storms and shipwreck, and the long abstinence Ulysses suffered in sailing from Calypso to the Phæacian Island; for when Nausicaa found him, he was almost dead with hunger, as appears from the sixth of the Odyssey. Dacier is of a different opinion, and thinks it relates

to his abstinence and shipwreck upon his leaving Circe, before he came to Calypso. This seems very improbable; for Ulysses had lived seven years with that goddess in great affluence, and consequently must be supposed to have recruited his loss of strength in so long a time, and with the particular care of a goddess: besides Alcinous was acquainted with his late shipwreck, and his daughter Nausicaa was in some degree witness to it: is it not therefore more probable that he should refer to this latter incident, than speak of a calamity that happened seven years past, to which they were entirely strangers?

V. 336. Prefers his barb'rous Sintians to thy arms. s!] The Sintians were the inhabitants of Lemnos, by origin Thracians: Homer calls them barbarous of speech, because their language was a corruption of the Greek, Asiatic, and Thracian. But there is a concealed raillery in the expression, and Mars ridicules the ill taste of Vulcan for leaving so beautiful a goddess to visit his rude and barbarous Sintians. The poet calls Lemnos the favourite isle of Vulcan; this alludes to the subterraneous fires frequent in that island, and he is feigned to have his forge there, as the god of fire. This is likewise the reason why he is said to fall into the island Lemnos when Jupiter threw him from heaven. DACIER.

V. 348. See the lewd dalliance of the queen of love!] The original seems to be corrupted: were it to be translated according to the present editions, it must be, See the ridiculous deeds of Venus.' I conceive, that few husbands who should take their spouses in such circumstances would have any great appetite to laugh; neither is such an interpretation consonant to the words immediately following ela. It is therefore very probable that the verse was originally

Δευθ' ένα εργ' αγελαστα και εκ επιεικία ίδησθε.

Come, ye gods, behold the sad and unsufferable deeds of Venus;' and this agrees with the tenour of Vulcan's behaviour in this comedy, who has not the least disposition to be merry with his brother deities.

V. 358. Till Jove refunds his shameless daughter's dow'r.] I doubt not but this was the usage of antiquity: it has been ob

served, that the bridegroom made presents to the father of the bride, which were called svda; and if she was afterwards false to his bed, this dower was restored by the father to the husband. Besides this restitution, there seems a pecuniary mulct to have been paid, as appears evident from what follows:

the god of arms

Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.'

Homer in this, as in many other places, seems to allude to the laws of Athens, where death was the punishment of adultery. Pausanias relates, that Draco the Athenian lawgiver granted impunity to any person that took revenge upon an adulterer. Such also was the institution of Solon: If any one seize an adulterer, let him use him as he pleases : εαν τις μοιχόν λάβη, οτι αν βελήλαι Xenoba. And thus Eratosthenes answered a person who begged his life after he had injured his bed, εκ εγω σε αποκτένω, αλλ' ο της Wodεws voμ, 'It is not I who slay thee, but the law of thy country.' But still it was in the power of the injured person to take a pecuniary mulct by way of atonement: for thus the same Eratosthenes speaks in Lysias, ηνλιβολει και ικέτευε μη αυτον κλειναι, αργυριον πραξασθαι, 'He entreated me not to take his life, but exact a sum of money.' Nay, such penalties were allowed by way of commutation for greater crimes than adultery, as in the case of murder. Iliad ix.


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On just atonement, we remit the deed:

A sire the slaughter of his son forgives;

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Plutarch, in his dissertation upon reading the poets, quotes this as an instance of Homer's judgment, in closing a ludicrous scene with decency and instruction. He artfully inserts a sentence by which he discovers his own judgment, and lets the reader into the moral of his fables; by this conduct he makes even the representation of evil actions useful, by shewing the shame and detriment they draw upon those who are guilty of them.

V. 386. He suffers who gives surety for th' unjust.] This verse is very obscure, and made still more obscure by the explanations of critics. Some think it implies, that it is wicked to be surety for a wicked person; and therefore Neptune should not give his promise for Mars thus taken in adultery. Some take it generally, suretyship is detrimental, and it is the lot of unhappy men to be sureties; the words then are to be construed in the following order, δειλαι τοι είγυαι, και δειλων ανδρων εΓγυαασθαι. • Sponsiones sunt infelices, et hominum est infelicium sponsiones dare.' Others understand it very differently, viz. to imply that the sureties of men of inferior condition should be to men of inferior condition; then the sentence will bear this import: if Mars, says Vulcan, res fuses to discharge the penalty, how shall I compel Neptune to pay it, who is so greatly my superior? And therefore adds by way of sentence, that the sponsor ought to be of the same station with the person to whom he becomes surety; or in Latin, Simplicium hominum simplices esse debent sponsores.' I have followed Plutarch, who, in his banquet of the seven wise men, explains it to signify that it is dangerous to be surety for a wicked person, according to the ancient sentence, είγυα παρα d3 ата. 'Loss follows suretyship.' Agreeably to the opinion of a much wiser person, He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it; and he that hateth suretyship is sure.' Prov. xi. 15.

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V. 394.

...Mars to Thrace indignant flies : To the soft Cyprian shores the goddess moves.]

There is a reason for this particularity: the Thracians were a warlike people; the poet therefore sends the god of war thither: and the people of Cyprus being effeminate, and addicted to love and pleasures, he feigns the recess of the goddess of love to have been in that island. It is further observable, that he barely mentions the retreat of Mars, but dwells more largely upon the story of Venus. The reason is, the Fhæacians had no delight in the god of war, but the soft description of Venus better suited with their inclinations. EUSTATHIUS.

V. 410. And bending backward whirls it to the sky.] This is a literal translation of dybes onow; and it gives us a lively image

of a person in the act of throwing towards the skies. Eustathius is most learnedly trifling about this exercise of the ball, which was called oupavia, or aërial; it was a kind of dance, and while they sprung from the ground to catch the ball, they played with their feet in the air after the manner of dancers. He reckons up several other exercises at the ball, απορραξις, φαινίνδα, επισκυρο, and Jegμavorgis; and explains them all largely. Homer seems to oppose this aërial dance to the common one, wori xoon, or " on the ground,' which appears to be added to make an evident distinction between the sports; otherwise it is unnecessary; and to dance upon the ground is implied in wgxeny, for how should a dance be performed but upon the ground?

V. 450. And never, never may'st thou want this sword!] It can scarce be imagined how greatly this beautiful passage is misrepresented by Eustathius. He would have it to imply, "May I never want this sword,' taking To adverbially: the presents of enemies were reckoned fatal; Ulysses therefore, to avert the omen, prays that he may never have occasion to have recourse to this sword of Euryalus, but keep it amongst his treasures as a testimony of this reconciliation. This appears to be a very forced interpretation, and disagreeable to the general import of the rest of the sentence; he addresses to Euryalus, to whom then can this compliment be naturally paid but to Euryalus? Thou hast given me a sword,' says he; ' may thy days be so peaceable as never to want it!' This is an instance of the polite address, and the forgiving temper, of Ulysses.

V.485. Clos'd with Circean art.... .] Such passages as these have more of nature than art, and are too narrative, and different from modern ways of speaking, to be capable of much ornament in poetry. Eustathius observes that keys were not in use in these ages, but were afterwards invented by the Lacedæmonians; but they used to bind their carriages with intricate knots. Thus the Gordian knot was famous in antiquity. And this knot of Ulysses became a proverb, to express any insolvable difficulty, • т8 odvaENG SEμes: this is the reason why he is said to have learned it from Circe; it was of great esteem amongst the ancients, and

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