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the gods, and the vicious and imperfect manners of his blessed.'+ Now among the divine honours, which were heroes. But I must here speak a word of the latter, as paid them, they might have also in common with the it is a point generally carried into extremes, both by Igods, not to be mentioned without the solemnity of the censurers and defenders of Homer. It must be a an epithet, and such as might be acceptable to them strange partiality to antiquity, to think with Madame by its celebrating their families, actions, or qualities. Dacier, that those times and manners are so much the. What other cavils have been raised against Homer, more excellent, as they are more contrary to ours.'* sare such as hardly deserve a reply, but will yet be Who can be so prejudiced in their favour as to magnify Laken notice of as they occur in the course of the the felicity of those ages, when a spirit of revenge and work. Many have been occasioned by an injudicious cruelty, joined with the practice of rapine and rob-lendeavour to exalt Virgil; which is much the same. bery, reigned through the world ; when no'mercy was as if one should think to raise the superstructure by shown, but for the sake of lucre, when the greatest undermining the foundation: one would imagine by princes were put to the sword, and their wives and the whole course of their parallels, that these critics daughters made slaves and concubines ? On the other never so much as heard of Homer's having written side, I would not be so delicate as those modern first ; a consideration which, whoever compares these critics, who are shocked at the servile offices and two poets, ought to have always in his eye. Some mean employments in which we sometimes see the accuse him for the same things which they overlook heroes of Homer engaged. There is a pleasure in for praise in the other; as when they prefer the fable taking a view of that simplicity, in opposition to the and moral of the Æneis to those of the Iliad, for the luxury of succeeding ages ; in beholding monarchs same reasons which might set the Odysses above without their guards, princes tending their flocks, and the Æneis : as that the hero is a wiser man; and the princesses drawing water from the springs. When action of the one more beneficial to his country than we read Homer, we ought to reflect that we are rea- that of the other : or else they blame him for not doing ding the most ancient author in the heathen world; what he never designed ; as because Achilles is not and those who consider him in this light, will double as good a prince as Æneas, when the very moral of their pleasure in the perusal of him. Let them think his poem required a contrary character : it is thus that they are growing acquainted with nations and people Rapin judges in his comparison of Homer and Virgil. that are now no more ; that they are stepping almost Others select those particular passages of Homer, three thousand years back into the remotest antiquity, which are not so laboured as some that Virgil drew and entertaining themselves with a clear and surpris-lout of them ; this is the whole management of Scaliing vision of things no where else to be found, the ger in his Poetices. Others quarrel with what they only true mirror of that ancient world. By this means take for lowand mean expressions, sometimes through alone their greatest obstacles will vanish; and what a false delicacy and refinement, oftener from an igusually creates their dislike will become a satisfaction. norance of the graces of the original; and then triumph
This consideration may further serve to answer for in the awkwardness of their own translations : this is the constant use of the same epithets to his gods and the conduct of Perault in his Parallels. Lastly, there heroes, such as the far-darting Phæbus, the blue-eyed are others, who, pretending to a fairer proceeding, Pallas, the swift-footed Achilles, &c. which some distinguish between the personal merit of Homer, have censured as impertinent and tediously repeated. and that of his work; but when they come to assign Those of the gods depended upon the powers and the causes of the great reputation of the Iliad, they offices then believed to belong to them, and had con- found it upon the ignorance of his times and the pretracted a weight and veneration from the rites and judice of those that followed : and in pursuance of solemn devotions in which they were used: they were this principle, they make those accidents (such as the a sort of attributes with which it was a matter of reli- contention of the cities, &c.) to be the causes of his gion to salute them or all occasions, and which it was fame, which were in reality the consequences of his an irreverence to omil. As for the epithets of great merit. The same might as well be said of Virgil or men, Mons. Boileau is of opinion, that they were in the any great author, whose general character will innature of surnames, and repeated as such ; for the fallibly raise many casual additions to their reputation. Greeks having no names derived from their fathers, This is the method of Mons. de la Motte; who yet were obliged to add some other distinction of each per-confesses upon the whole, that in whatever age Homer son; either naming his parents expressly, or his place had lived, he must have been the greatest poet of his of birth, profession, or the like: as Alexander the son of nation, and that he may be said in this sense to be Philip, Herodotus of Ilalicarnassus, Diogenes the Cy- the master even of those who surpassed him. nic, &c. Homer, therefore, complying with the custom In all these objections we see nothing that contraof his country, used such distinctive additions as bet-dicts his title to the honour of the chief invention ; ter agreed with poetry. And indeed we have some- and as long as this (which is indeed the characterthing parallel to these in modern times, such as the istic of poetry itself) remains unequalled by his follownames of Harold Harefoot, Edmund Ironside, Ed-ers, he still continues superior to them. A cooler ward Longshanks, Edward the Black Prince, &c. judgment may commit fewer faults, and be more apIf yet this be thought to account better for the proprie- proved in the eyes of one sort of critics : but that ty than for the repetition, I shall add a farther conjec- warmth of fancy will carry the loudest and most ture. Hesiod, dividing the world into its different ages, universal applauses, which holds the heart of a reader has placed a fourth age between the brazen and the under the strongest enchantment. Homer not only iron one, of Heroes distinct from other men; a divine appears the inventor of poetry, but excels all the inrace who fought at Thebes and Troy, are called demi-ventors of other arts in this, that he has swallowed gods, and live by the care of Jupiter in the islands of the up the honour of those who succeeded him. What he has done admitted no increase, it only left room vilely creeping in his train, while the poet himself is for contraction or regulation. He showed all the all the time proceeding with an unaffected and equal stretch of fancy at once; and if he has failed in majesty before them. However, of the two exsome of his flights, it was but because he attempted tremes, one could sooner pardon frenzy than frigidity: every thing. A work of this kind seems like a mighty no author is to be envied for such commendations as tree which rises from the most vigorous seed, is im- he may gain by that character of style, which his proved with industry, flourishes and produces the friends must agree together to call simplicity, and the finest fruit : nature and art conspire to raise it : plea- rest of the world will call dylness. There is a gracesure and profit join to make it valuable: and they who ful and dignified simplicity, as well as a bald and find the justest faults, have only said, that a few bran- sordid one, which differ as much from each other as ches (which run luxuriant through a richness of na- the air of a plain man from that of a sloven; it is one ture) might be lopped into fort to give it a more thing to be tricked up, and another pot to be dressed regular appearance.
at all. Simplicity is the mean between ostentation Having now spoken of the beauties and defects of and rusticity. the original, it remains to treat of the translation, with This pure and noble simplicity is no where in such the same view to the chief characteristic. As far as perfection as in the Scripture and our author. One that is seen in the main parts of the poem, such as may affirm, with all respect to the inspired writings, the fable, manners, and sentiments, no translator can that the divine Spirit made use of no other words prejudice it but by wilful omissions and contractions. but what were intelligible and common to men at As it also breaks out in every particular image, de- that time, and in that part of the world, and as Homer scription, and simile; whoever lessens or too much is the author nearest to those, his style must of course softens those, takes off from this chief character. It bear a greater resemblance to the sacred books than is the first grand duty of an interpreter, to give his that of any other writer. This consideration (toauthør entire and unmaimed ; and for the rest, the gether with what has been observed of the parity of diction and versification only are his proper province; some of his thoughts) may, methinks induce a transsince these must be his own ; but the others, he is tollator on the one hand to give into several of those take as he finds them.
general phrases and manners of expression, which It should then be considered what methods may have attained a veneration even in our language from afford some equivalent in our language for the graces being used in the Old Testament; as on the other, to of these in the Greek. It is certain no literal trans- avoid those which have been appropriuted to the lation can be just to an excellent original in a superior Divinity, and in a manner consigned to mystery and language: but it is a great mistake to imagine (as religion. many have done) that a rash paraphrase can make For a farther preservation of this air of simplicity, amends for this general defect; which is no less in a particular care should be taken to express with danger to lose the spirit of an ancient, by deviating all plainness those moral sentences and proverbial into the modern manners of expression. If there be speeches which are so numerous in this poet. They sometimes a darkness, there is often a light in anti- have something venerable, and as I may say oracular, quity, which nothing better preserves than a version in that unadorned gravity and shortness with which almost literal. I know no liberties one ought to they are delivered : a grace which would be utterly take, but those which are necessary for transfusing lost by endeavouring to give them what we call a the spirit of the original, and supporting the poetical more'ingenious (that is, a more modern) turn in the style of the translation : and I will venture to say, paraphrase. there have not been more men misled in former times Perhaps the mixture of some Græcisms and old by a servile dull adherence to the letter, than have words after the manner of Milton, if done without too been deluded in ours by a chimerical and insolent much affectation, might not have an ill effect in a hope of raising and improving their author. It is not version of this particular work, which most of any to be doubted that the fire of the poem is what a other seems to require a venerable antique cast. But translator should principally' regard, as it is most certainly the use of modern terms of war and golikely to expire in his managing: however, it is his vernment, such as platoon, campaign, junto, or the safest 'way to be content with preserving this to his like (into which some of his translators 'have fallen) utmost in the whole, with endeavouring to be more cannot be allowable; those only excepted, without than he finds his author is, in any particular place. It which it is impossible to treat the subjects in any is a great secret in writing to know when to be plain, living language. and when to be poetical and figurative; and it is what There are two peculiarities in Homer's diction Homer will teach us, if we will but follow modestly which are a sort of marks, or moles, by which every in his footsteps. Where his diction is bold and lofty, common eye distinguishes him at first sight: those let us raise ours as high as we can; but where his is who are not his greatest admirers look upon them as plain and humble, we ought not to be deterred from defects, and those who are, seem pleased with them imitating him by the fear of incurring the censure of as beauties. I speak of his compound epithets, and a mere English critic. Nothing that belongs to of his repetitions. Many of the former cannot be Homer seems to have been more commonly mistaken done literally into English without destroying the than the just pitch of his style: some of his transla- purity of our language. I believe such should be lors having swelled into fustian in a proud confidence retained as slide easily of themselves into an English of the sublime; others sunk into flatness in a cold compound, without violence to the ear or to the reand timorous notion of simplicity. Methinks I see ceived rules of composition : as well as those which these different followers of Homer, some sweating and have received a sanction from the authority of our straining after him by violent leaps and bounds (the best poets, and are become familiar through their use certain signs of false mettle ;) others slowly and ser-lof them; such as the cloud-compelling Jove, &c. As for the rest, whenever any can be as fully and sig- and Ogilby. Chapman has taken the advantage of nificantly expressed in a single word as in a com- an immeasurable length of verse, notwithstanding pound one, the course to be taken is obvious. which, there is scarce any paraphrase more loose and
Some that cannot be so turned as to preserve their and rambling than his. He has frequently interpolafull image by one or two words, may have justice tions of four or'six lines, and I remember one in the do ne them by circumlocution : as the epithet sovogo-thirteenth book of the Odysses, ver. 312, where he GUANes to a mountain, would appear little or ridicu- has spun twenty verses out of two. He is often ious translated literally “leaf-shaking," but affords a mistaken in so bold a manner, that one might think majestic idea in the periphrasis : " The lofty mountain he deviated on purpose, if he did not in other places shakes his waving woods.” Others that admit of of his notes insist so much upon verbal trifles. He differing significations, may receive an advantage by a appears to have had a strong affectation of extracting judicious variation according to the occasions on new meanings out of his author, insomuch as to which they are introduced. For example, the epi- promise, in his rhyming preface, a poem of the mysthet of Apollo, exmooies, or "far-shooting," is capable teries he had revealed in Homer and perhaps he of two explications; one literal in respect to the darts endeavoured to strain the obvious sense to this end and bow, the ensigns of that god; the other allegorical His expression is involved in fustian, a fault for which with regard to the rays of the sun : therefore in such he was remarkable in his original writings, as in the places where Apollo is represented as a god in per- tragedy of Bussy d'Amboise, &c. In a word, the nason, I would use the former interpretation; and where ture of the man may account for his whole performthe effects of the sun are described, I would make ance, for he appears, from his preface and remarks, choice of the latter. Upon the whole, it will be ne- to have been of an arrogant turn, and an enthusiast cessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of the same in poetry. His own boast of having finished half the epithets which we find in Homer: and which, though Iliad în less than fifteen weeks, shows with what it might be accommodated (as has been already negligence his version was performed. But that shown) to the ear of those times, is by no means so which is to be allowed him, and which very much to ours : but one may wait for opportunities of placing contributed to cover his defects, is a daring fiery them, where they derive an additional beauty from spirit that animates his translation, which is somethe occasions on which they are employed; and in thing like what one might imagine Homer himself doing this properly, a translator may at once show would have writ before he arrived at years of dishis fancy and bis judgment.
eretion. As for Homer's repetitions, we may divide them Hobbes has given us a correct explanation of the into three sorts; of whole narrations and speeches, sense in general;,but for particulars and circumstances of single sentences, and of one verse or hemistich. 1 he continually lops them, and often omits the most hope it is not impossible to have such a regard to beautiful. As for its being esteemed a close translathese, as neither to lose so known a mark of the tion, I doubt not many have been led into that error author on the one hand, nor to offend the reader too by the shortness of it, which proceeds not from his much on the other. The repetition is not ungrace- following the original line by line, but from the conful in those speeches where the dignity of the speaker tractions above mentioned. He sometimes omits renders it a sort of insolence to alter his words; as whole similes and sentences, and is now and then in the messages from gods to men, or from higher guilty of mistakes, into which no writer of his learnpowers to inferiors in concerns of state, or where the ing could have fallen, but through carelessness. His ceremonial of religion seems to require it, in the poetry, as well as Ogilby's, is too mean for criticism. solemn forms of prayers, oaths, or the like. In other it is a great loss to the poetical world that Mr. cases, I believe, the best rule is, to be guided by the Dryden did not live to translate the Iliad. He has nearness, or distance, at which the repetitions are left us only the first book, and a small part of the placed in the original : when they follow too close, sixth: in which if he has, in some places, not truly one may vary the expression; but it is a question interpreted the sense, or preserved the antiquities, it whether a professed translator be authorised to omit ought to be excused on account of the haste he was any: if they be tedious, the author is to answer for it. obliged to write in. He seems to have had too much
It only remains to speak of the versification. Ho- regard to Chapman, whose words he sometimes mer (as has been said) is perpetually applying the copies, and has unhappily followed him in passages sound to the sense, and varying it on every new sub- where he wanders from the original. However, had ject. This is indeed one of the most exquisite beau- he translated the whole work, I would no more have ties of poetry, and attainable by very few: I know attempted Homer after him than Virgil, his version of only of Homer eminent for it in the Greek, and Vir- whom (notwithstanding some human errors) is the gil in Latin. I am sensible it is what may sometimes most noble and spirited translation I know in any happen by chance, when a writer is warm, and fully language. But the fate of great geniuses is like that possessed of his image : however, it may be reason of great ministers ; though they are confessedly the ably believed they designed this, in whose verse it so first in the commonwealth of letters, they must be manifestly appears in a superior degree to all others. envied and calumniated, only for being at the head Few readers have the ear to be judges of it; but those of it. who have, will see I have endeavoured at this beauty. That which in my opinion ought to be the endea
Upon the whole, I must confess myself utterly in-vour of any one who translates Homer, is above all capable of doing justice to Homer. I attempt him in things to keep alive that spirit and fire which makes no other hope but that which one may entertain his chief character; in particular places where the without much vanity, of giving a more tolerable copy sense can bear any doubt, to follow the strongest and of him than any entire translation in verse has yet most poetical, as most agreeing with that character; done. We have only those of Chapman, Hobbes, to copy him in all the variations of his style, and the
different modulations of his numbers; to preserve, in scribers, and the most distinguished patrons and the more active or descriptive parts, a warmth and ornaments of learning as my chief encouragers ? elevation; in the more sedate or narrative, a plain-Amongst these it is a particular pleasure to me to ness and solemnity; in the speeches, a fulness and find, that my highest obligations are to such who perspicuity ; in the sentences, a shortness and gravity:Jhave done most honour to the name of poet : that his not to neglect even the little figures and turns on the grace the duke of Buckingham was not displeased I words, nor sometimes the very cast of the periods ; should undertake the author to whom he has given neither to omit nor confound any rites or customs (in his excellent Essay) so complete a praise : of antiquity : perhaps too he ought to include the
Read Homer once, and you can read no more; whole in a shorter compass, than has been hitherto For all books else appear so mean, so poor, done by any translator, who has tolerably preserved Verse will seem prose: but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the books you need: either the sense or poetry. What I would farther) recommend to him, is to study his author rather from That the earl of Halifax was one of the first to fahis own text, than from any cominentaries, bow vour me, of whom it is hard to say whether the adlearned soever, or whatever figure they may make in vancement of the polite arts is more owing to his genethe estimation of the world ; to consider him atten- rosity or his example: that such a genius as my lord tively in comparison with Virgil above all the an- Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great cients, and with Milton above all the moderns. Next scenes of business than in all the useful and entertainthese, the archbishop of Cambray's Telemachus may ing parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of give him the truest idea of the spirit and turn of our these sheets, and the patron of their writer : and that author, and Bossu's admirable treatise of the Epic so excellent an imitator of Homer as the noble author Poem the justest notion of his design and conduct. of the tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his But after all, with whatever judgment and study a partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals, to my man may proceed, or with whatever happiness he attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny myself the pride may perform such a work, he must hope to please of confessing, that I have had the advantage not only but a few ; those only who have at once a taste of of their advice for the conduct in general, but then poetry, and competent learning. For to satisfy such as correction of several particulars of this translation. want either, is not in the nature of this undertaking :/ I could say a great deal of the pleasure of being since a mere modern wit can like nothing that is not distinguished by the earl of Carnarvon; but it is almodern, and a pedant nothing that is not Greek. most absurd to particularize any one generous action
What I have done is submitted to the pnblic, from in a person whose whole life is a continued series of whose opinions I am prepared to learn ; though I them. Mr. Stanhope, the present secretary of state, fear no judges so little as our best poets, who are will pardon my desire of having it known that he more sensible of the weight of this task. As for the was pleased to promote this affair. The particular worst, whatever they shall please to say, they may zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late lord changive me some concern as they are unhappy men, cellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured but none as they are malignant writers. I was in a share of his friendship. I must attribute to the guided in this translation by judgments very different same motive that of several others of my friends, to from theirs, and persons for whom they can have no whom all 'acknowledgments are rendered unneces. kindness, if an old observation be true, that the sary. by the privileges of a familiar correspondence: strongest antipathy in the world 'is that of fools to and I am satisfied I can no way better oblige men of men of wit. Mr. Addison was the first whose advice their turn, than by my silence. determined me to undertake this task, who was In short, I have found more patrons than ever Hopleased to write to me on that occasion in such mer wanted. He would have thought himself happy terms as I cannot repeat without vanity. I was to have met the same favour at Athens that has been obliged to Sir Richard Steel for a very early recom-shown me by its learned rival, the university of Oxmendation of my undertaking to the public. Dr. ford. If my author had the wits of after-ages for his Swift promoted my interest with that warmth with defenders, his translator has had the beauties of the which he always serves his friend. The humanity present for his advocates; a pleasure too great to be and frankness of Sir Samuel Garth are what I never changed for any fame in reversion. And I can hardly knew wanting on any occasion. I must also ac-envy him those pompous honours he received after knowledge, with infinite pleasure, the many friendly death, when I reflect on the enjoyment of so many offices, as well as sincere criticisms of Mr. Congreve, agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which who had led me the way in translating some parts make the satisfaction of life. This distinction is the of Homer; as I wish for the sake of the world he more to be acknowledged, as it is shown to one had prevented me in the rest. I must add the names whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of parof Mr. Rowe and Dr. Parnell, though I shall take a ticular parties, or the vanities of particular men. farther opportunity of doing justice to the last, whose Whatever the success may prove, I shall never repent good nature (to give it a great panegyric) is no less of an undertaking in which I have experienced the extensive than his learning. The favour of these candour and friendship of so many persons of merit ; gentlemen is not entirely undeserved by one who and in which I hope to pass some of those years of bears them so true an affection. But what can I say youth that are generally lost in a circle of follies, of the honour so many of the great have done me, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others, while the first names of the age appear as my sub-lnor disagreeable to myself.
ILIAD OF HOMER.
By these he begs; and lowly bending down,
Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown. 20 ARGUMENT.
He sued to all, but chief implored for grace The Contention of Achilles and Agamemnon. The brother-kings of Atreus' royal race. In the war of Troy, the Greeks, having sacked some of Ye kings and warriors! may your vows be crown'd,
the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground. beautiful captives, Chryseis and Briseïs, allotted the
May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, first to Agamemnon, and last to Achilles. Chryses, the father of Chryseis, and priest of Apollo, comes to
Safe to the pleasures of your native shore; the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the ac. But oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain, tion of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege. And give Chryseïs to these arms again; The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, Agamemnon, entreats for vengeance from his god,who And dread avenging Phæbus, son of Jove. 30 inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare, council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the cause The priest to reverence, and release the fair of it, who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseis.
seis. Not so Atrides : he, with kingly pride, The king being obliged to send back his captive, en
Repulsed the sacred sire, and thus replied: ters into a furious contest with Achilles, which Nestor paciñes; however, as he had the absolute command of the arıny, he seizes on Briseis in revenge. Achilles Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains ; in discontent withdraws himself and his forces from Hence, with thy laurel crown and golden rod,
1 the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god. she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain; wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Tro. And pra vers, and tears, and briber, shall plead in vain
To And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain, jans. Jupiter granting her suit incenses Juno, be- u nd
| Till time shall rifle every youthful grace, 41 tween whom the debate runs high, till they are recon.* ciled by the address of Vulcan.
| And age dismiss her from my cold embrace, The time of two-and-twenty days is taken up in this In daily labours of the loom employd, book; nine during the plague, one in the council and 'Or doom'd to deck the bed she once enjoy'd. quarrel of the princes, and twelve with Jupiter's stay Hence then, to Argos shall the maid retire, with the Æthiopians, at whose return Thetis prefers Far from her native soil and weeping sire. her petition. The scene lies in the Grecian camp. The trembling priest along the shore return'd, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to Olympus. And in the anguish of a father, mourn'd.
Disconsolate, not daring to complain,
Silent he wander'a by the sounding main :
Till, safe at distance, to his god he prays,
Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores, Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,
And whose bright presence gilds thy Chrysa's shores: Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore;
If e'er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane, Since great Achilles and Atrides strove.
Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain; Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of God of the silver bow! thy shafts employ, Jove!
Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy. 60 Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour
Thus Chryses pray'd : the favouring power attends Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power? And from Olympus' lofty tops descends. Latona's son a dire contagion spread,
11 Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound, And heap'd the camp with mountains of the dead; Fierce as he moved, his silver shafts resound. The king of men his reverend priest defied, Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread, And for the king's offence the people died.
And gloomy darkness rollid around his head. For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain The fleet in view, he twang'd his deadly bow, His captive daughter from the victor's chain. . And hissing fly the feather'd fates below. Suppliant the venerable father stands,
On mules and dogs the infection first began; Apollo's awful ensigns grace his hands :
| And last, the vengeful arrows fix'd on man. 2 E