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But not until after his death did fame breathe aloud his praise. It has since been echoed through each succeeding age, by applauding millions. “Our author's work,” says Mr. Pope, “is a wild paradise, where, if we cannot see all the beauties so distinctly as in an ordered garden, it is only because the number of them is infinitely greater. It is like a copious nursery, which contains the seeds and first productions of every kind, out of which those who followed him have but selected some particular plants, each according to his fancy, to cultivate and beautify. If some things are too luxuriant, it is owing to the richness of the soil; and if others are not arrived to perfection or maturity, it is only because they are overrun and oppressed by those of a stronger nature.” In speaking of the growing interest of the Iliad, and the poet's fancy, he says: “It is, however, remarkable that his fancy, which is everywhere vigorous, is not discovered immediately at the beginning of his poem in its fullest splendor: it grows in the progress, both on himself and others, and becomes on fire, like a chariot wheel, by its own rapidity. Exact disposition, just thought, correct elocution, polished numbers, may have been found in a thousand; but this poetic fire, this 'vivida vis animi,' in a very few."
The inimitable writings of Homer, as translated by Pope, we have read with enthusiastic delight. How it is that the blind can derive any degree of satisfaction from descriptive poetry, has long been a subject of speculation and doubt. Nor can we reflect much
light upon it. How l. is that one who has never seen light and color, is able to form any conception of distance, or extent beyond his reach, or of brilliant objects, as the moon and stars, of the rainbow or the landscape, must remain, to the seeing, enigmatical. We can no more describe to you, fortunate reader, the light which our own fancy sheds around objects, by which our minds take cognizance of them, than you can describe to us the clear light of the sun, or how it pictures upon your mind the objects from which it is reflected.
It may not be uninteresting to those of our readers who have followed us thus far, to give in this connection, a brief description (however vague and imperfect) of our own feelings on reading the wonderful productions of Homer. As our reader gives rapid and distinct utterance to each happily applied word, and as each complete sentence conveys to the mind its full import, every picture drawn by the immortal poet lies before us, glowing with its own poetic fire, and busy with life. Every active, moving and breathing image passes in quick succession before our view, and at their respective distances from each other. Entirely wrapped within ourselves, and excluded from meaner objects without, we are borne unconsciously and irresistibly, on the wings of fancy, to the scenes so vividly described. Our reader is transported with us, and performs a conspicuous part in the drama. He is successively transformed in the several characters; and every word he articnlates, grows with significance as the scene heightens.
The writings of Homer must ever stand an indestructible monument of his deathless fame : a sublime structure so well proportioned in all its parts, and so sacred to genius, that it is almost sacrilege to tear from it relics of artistic skill.
FROM THE EIGHTH BOOK OF THE ILIAD.
Jupiter assembles the gods, and commands them not to assist either army. Minerva, however, obtains his consent to aid the Greeks. He afterwards descends to Mount Ida, and balances the fate of the Greeks and Trojans. For force and dignity, this description excels everything we have yet read. The most perfect creations of modern degenerate genius, are mere pigmies when compared with this giantthis twin-brother of perfection.
Aurora now, fair daughter of the dawn,
“Celestial states, immortal gods / give ear!
Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven,
"Oh, first and greatest ! god by gods adored!
The cloud-compelling god her suit approved,
Rapt by th' ethereal steeds the chariot rollid;
Now had the Grecians snatch'd a short repast,