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the sky, and the liberality of his offer to bail the offender, and the unhesitating reliance of Hephaistos on his pledged honour, are brighter traits of the social relations of the gods, which reflect not unworthily the dignified interposition and apology of Alcinous. An exact application of the fable as a parallel is not to be thought of; neither is Odysseus the toil-cramped, but wise and experienced, precisely in the position of the artful, though halting Hephaistos, nor the active and handsome Euryalus, of Ares, the swift seducer, though Homer prepares for the application of the moral, by likening him to this particular god.” Exact parallelism is tame, and contrary to the spirit of Greek poetry, as evinced both in the mythic enrichments of the odes of Pindar, and so remarkably in the similes of the epics, where the compared incident approaches and recedes from the prototype in every variety of degree and movement, and in some cases contrast seems to contribute as much as similitude to the general effect of illustration and definition. The real parallel aimed at is the ethic and moral; that of incidents, circumstances, and situations, is subordinate almost to indifference, and is held lightly in hand, or sometimes thrown off entirely, as the completion of the chief impression admits or dictates. “Thus sung the bard, and Ulysses listening was gratified in his mind, and so also were the Phaeacians, men ship-renowned.” We are left to form our own estimate of the consciousness of the Phaeacians from their general character, but that of Ulysses appears to be evidently intimated in the compliment he pays to Demodocus at the feast in the evening, by sending him a portion from his own dish, an acknowledgment of his sympathy, as well as of admiration for his genius, and to introduce a new story of Troy. Relying on this elucidation, the lay of Ares and Aphrodite appears to me an integral portion of the eighth book of the Odyssey, indispensable to the elucidation of its progress, as it would itself lose its better effects if presented independently; and as good a justification, I doubt not, is to be found for other sections of the poem that have been condemned with equal positiveness. The peculiarities of language observed in the song may, as Welcker remarks, be antiquated forms quite as proba
7 &v 34 wa) Ebetaxes, 8torexony; fores "Agni.--viii. 115.
bly as neoterie. They are judiciously employed indeed to distinguish the song within a song, the picture of a picture, and answer to the artifice by which Shakspere places the declamation of his player in the same relative position with respect to Hamlet's that Hamlet bears to nature. A few words may be allowed in hasty vindication of the eighth book at large, which equally lies under the imputation of intrusiveness. There is no reason, it has been said, why the narration of adventures should not have been introduced by the first instance of emotion betrayed by the hero at allusion to Troy, instead of being deferred to a second, and that provoked by himself, and after the interposition of the supposed irrelevant games and song. But let it be observed how the relative position of Ulysses and his host alters after these subsidiary incidents: previously the misfortunes of the supplicant had formed rather a humiliating contrast to the wealthy prosperity of the self-complacent king and people; but these incidents not only become an occasion for presents in profusion, which are to send him home with more than his share of Trojan spoil, a result on which the poet is resolutely bent, but the opportunity for the actual exhibition of his heroic prowess, at once excites the awe and admiration of the Phaeacians, and invests the stranger with such dignity, that his avowal of his name and recital of astounding adventures, are at once carried above the suspicions that would attach to the tale of an unaccredited vagrant. The fallaciousness of assuming that inconsistent traditions are proof of spurious interpolation; that the most archaic forms have the best title to genuine Homeric origin; and that traditions and facts not alluded to by the poet are of later origin, or at least were unknown to him, becomes at once apparent when we consider either the laws of the poetic temperament, the circumstances of the genesis of other national epics, or simply collect the indications in the poems themselves of the varied forms of poetic composition, and the rich fund of lay and legend, the luxuriant growth of tradition and song, that are alluded to and assumed in them. Song accompanies the feast, the games, the dance, the festivities of marriage, and the vintage; song forms part of the celebration to propitiate the gods; the warrior celebrates his victory by a paean, as he returns to the camp, or cheers his leisure in the tents by singing to the lyre the deeds
of heroes. Song is an honoured profession; Phemius and DeVI. 2 E
modocus heighten the pleasures of the revels of the princes of Ithaka and Phaeacia, as Pindar with his fellow and rival bards at the hospitable board of Hiero. The acts of gods and heroes are the main subject of the verse, though the song of the Sirens intimates that the secrets of nature and quasi-philosophical lore, perhaps in the form preserved by the Hesiodic poems, had also a share of attention. The demand on the bard for constant novelty (Odyss. I. 351,) is a natural result of the frequency of the enjoyment which soon rendered a theme familiar: the allusions of Homer to the adventures of Herakles, of the Argo “an interest to all,” as well as the evident assumption of the familiarity of his hearers with the general relations and adventures of his own immediate heroes, prove how absolutely the poet might count on the appreciation of his particular theme, and the most delicate of his mythical allusions. The songs of Phemius and Demodocus from the Trojan cycle, comprise single anecdotes, but assume that the great outline of the story, and even its more particular details, are known to all; the story is present in the memory of all, and may be taken up, as Ulysses calls on Demodocus to take it up, (§vi)sy ÉAdv, v. 500,) at any point selected. From the apprehensive and sensitive taste of the people, their requirement of novelty no doubt extended to, and indeed was satisfied, by originality of treatment and combination, however hacknied might be the adventure forming the subject matter, as we find the Athenians of a later date ever craving for the stimulus of dramatic novelty, yet content to find it within the range of certain heroic cycles repeated and resorted to over and over again. This state of things agrees with the antecedents of other national epics; it represents, indeed, the condition of preliminary exercise that leads on to the growth of a great conception in an individual mind, and in a community, generates at last the master mind who orders, adapts, combines the wilderness of poetical materials, and produces a work uniting comprehensive plan and freedom from offensive redundance, with all the freshness of original invention. That the Iliad and Odyssey were the productions of such a master mind so working on previous materials, I entertain no doubt; not only have we traces of the previous form of his materials, but we may even penetrate some way to the secret of his wisdom in the particular re-arrangement he was led to adopt. Iliad and Odyssey are one work, and mutually dependent: that the Odyssey presupposes the Iliad has been frequently observed: “It is certain,” says Müller, “that the Odyssey in its entire plan, and also in the peculiarities of its leading characters, of Ulysses himself, Nestor and Menelaus, stands in very close relationship to the Iliad; that it always assumes the existence of the earlier poem, and tacitly connects itself with it; and this circumstance explains the remarkable fact that the Odyssey mentions many incidents from the life of Ulysses that lie without the limits of its action, but not one that had already been sung in the Iliad.”—Gesch. Gr. Lit. I. p. 107. The equally, nay, the far more important point, however, has been less distinctly insisted on, if at all, that the Iliad quite as decisively post-supposes the Odyssey, if such an expression is allowable; yet this will appear on slight examination. Ulysses describes his entertainment at the court of Æolus, “who questioned me particularly about Ilion, the ships of the Achaians, and the return of the allies, and I gave to him of all a regular recital.” We have here a triple division of particulars regularly recited,—the siege of the town, the catalogue of the ships, the return of the Greeks; and these it would appear are the heads under which the incidents and adventures connected with the Trojan cycle were understood to arrange themselves. Phemius thus sings the return of the allies, as the Nostoi formed afterwards a special group of traditions; the catalogue of the ships in the Iliad is probably much abbreviated from the ample development and elaborate ornament of which we know from the Hesiodic poems, both preserved and lost, a simple catalogue was regarded as legitimately susceptible. Ulysses enumerates the catalogue as intermediate between Ilion and the Return, as in fact it may be said to be introduced in the Epics; but it is not improbable that with this division was connected the mass of tradition, to which there are numerous references—as in the first song of Demodocus, and the speeches in the embassy to Achilles—of the negotiations and transactions that led to the assembling of the expedition, as well as those connected with the rendezvous at Aulis. Another direction in which, from the allusions, it appears that legend germinated luxuriantly, was the account of the exploits of the Greeks among the islands and the Trojan allies on the mainland, previous to investing, or at least sitting down before, the city. The invention of succeeding or rival poets evidently was exercised in giving form and development to each division of the legend, and with whatever inconsistencies this might be effected, we may learn from the Theogony of Hesiod, as well as the general mass of mythology, some decisive tendency to chronological dependence grew out of, or was forced upon, the accumulated story. The chronological system of arrangement, as a leading principle, is, however, essentially unartistic and unpoetical; and the wisdom of Homer is discerned in the boldness of his departure from it, and the skill with which he attains in consequence picturesqueness of grouping, and variety of light and shade, distance and foreground. The poet divides his subject by concentrating interest on two grand actions, each confined within a comparatively limited space of time, each agreeing in their highly contrasted character with the character of a special hero. The first action occupies the period of the arrival of the war against Troy, at its fatal and predicted crisis in the tenth year; the second takes its stand at the date of the final return home of the last of the besiegers, the hero whose counsels are represented as the immediate instruments of its capture or sack. The expedition and siege up to its crisis form one great picture; and the origin of the quarrel, the canvas of the allies, catalogue of the armament, embassy to Troy, assembly at Aulis, devastation of the islands and mainland, and battle at landing, are introduced as subsidiary notices, which complete the tale, though in a manner to imply general familiarity with the details. The taking of the city, and the voctol, are in fact the subject matter of the second poem, which carefully supplies the intermediate incidents that link it with the Iliad, the death and obsequies of Achilles, the dispute for his arms, and death of Ajax, the Trojan horse, the storm, the departure, the dispersion of the fleet, fate of Agamemnon, of Menelaus, Nestor. That the second poem repeats nothing of the first, is not more artistically managed than that the first anticipates nothing that was required to complete the effect, or enhance the interest of the second. There is preparation in one case as decidedly as reminiscence in the other, but never interference. The Jiad by itself, with no more than an intimation of the settlement of the fate of Achilles and of Troy, is essentially in