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specially remarked for being lifelike throughout the Homeric poems. They actually walk about, and are animated by his peculiar cunning. This, as Overbeck has well observed, is merely the strong expression of the object proposed to himself by the Greek artist, in contrast to the cold repose and mute deadness of Egyptian sculpture. The Egyptians seldom meant to imitate life in action. The Greeks, from their very first rude essays, set before them this higher goal. Like the statuary, so the poet did not waste his breath in the tiresome and vague adoration of the Egyptian psalmist, but clothed his gods in the fairest and best human form, and endowed them with a human intellect and human will.
Homer's gods are therefore too human to embody an abstract principle; and so this side of their religion the poets relegated to certain personified abstractions, which seldom appear, and which seem to stand apart from the life of the Olympic gods. Perhaps Zeus himself, in his Dodonean character, has this impersonal aspect as the Father of light and of good. But Zeus of Olympus is quite a different conception. So there is a personified or semipersonified Aids and an "Arŋ and Aɩraí and an 'Epívus, which represent stern and lasting moral ideas, and which relieve the Olympic gods from the necessity of doing so, except when the poet finds it suitable to his purpose. But as these moral ideas restrained and checked men, so the special privilege of the gods seems to be the almost total freedom from such control. The society of Olympus, therefore, is only an ideal Greek society in the lowest sense, the ideal of the schoolboy, who thinks all control irksome, and its absence the summum bonum, the ideal of a voluptuous man, who has strong passions, and longs for the power to indulge them without unpleasant consequences.
It appears to me, therefore, that the Homeric picture of Olympus is very valuable as disclosing to us the poet's notion of a society freed from the restraints of religion. For the rhapsodists were dealing a deathblow (perhaps unconsciously) to their religion by these very pictures of sin and crime among their gods. Their idea is a sort of semimonarchical aristocracy, where a number of persons have the power to help favorites, and thwart the general progress of affairs; where love of faction overpowers every other consideration, and justifies violence or deceit. It will quite satisfy our present object to select the one typical character which both the poems place in
the foreground as the Greek ideal of intelligence and power of the highest order.
The leading personage in Homer's world of men and gods is undoubtedly Pallas Athene. She embodies all the qualities which were most highly esteemed in those days. She is evidently meant to be the greatest and most admirable of the deities that concern themselves with men. Yet, as Mr. Hayman has truly observed, she is rather infra-human than superhuman. There is no touch of any kindly feeling, no affection or respect for either God or man. There is not even a trace of sex, except in her occasional touches of spite. "Her character is without tenderness or tie of any sort; it never owns obligation, it never feels pain or privation, it is pitiless; with no gross appetites, its activity is busy and restless, its partisanship unscrupulous, its policy astute, and its dissimulation profound. It is keenly satirical, crafty, whispering base motives of the good (indeed she comprehends no others), beating down the strong, mocking the weak, and exulting over them; heartless yet stanch to a comrade; touched by a sense of liking and admiration for its like, [she accounts expressly for her love of Ulysses by his roguery and cunning,] of truth to its party; ready to prompt and back a friend through every hazard." Such is Mr. Hayman's picture, verified by citations for each and every statement.
This very disagreeable picture is not, as he would have it, an impersonation of what we call the world. Surely the modern world at least professes some high motives, and is touched by some compassion. But it is the impersonation of the Greek world, as conceived by Thucydides in his famous reflections on the Corcyræan massacre. He was mistaken indeed, profoundly mistaken, as we shall often see in the sequel, in considering this hard and selfish type a special outcome of the civil wars. No doubt they stimulated and multiplied it. But here, in the Iliad and Odyssey, in the days of Greek chivalry and Greek romance, even here we have the poet creating his ideal type-intellect and energy unshackled by restraints ; and we obtain a picture which, but for the total absence of sex, might be aptly described as a female Antiphon. The great historian, despite of his moral reflections, speaks of Antiphon, the political assassin, the public traitor to his constitution, as "in general merit second to none." The great epic poet silently expresses the same judgment on his own Pallas Athene.
THE GREEK FUTURE LIFE.
(Translation of John Conington.)
THEY from whom Persephone
For the things that made to grieve,
To the upper sunlight she
Sendeth back their souls once more,
Soon as winters eight are o'er.
Many a great and goodly king,
Shines for them the sun's warm glow
O'er that country of desire.
But the souls of the profane,
Far from heaven removed below,
Flit on earth in murderous pain
'Neath the unyielding yoke of woe; While pious spirits tenanting the sky Chant praises to the mighty one on high.
For them the night all through,
In that broad realm below,
The splendor of the sun spreads endless light;
Their city of the tombs with incense trees,
Of flowers, and fruitage fair,
Scenting the breezy air,
Is laden. There with horses and with play,
On every side around
Pure happiness is found,
With all the blooming beauty of the world;
From altars where the blazing fire is dense
Burned unto gods in heaven,
Through all the land is driven,
Making its pleasant place odorous
With scented gales and sweet airs amorous.
(Translation of A. Moore.)
The day comes fast when all men must depart,
In this disordered nook of Jove's domain,
All meet their meed; and there's a Judge below Whose hateful doom inflicts th' inevitable pain.
O'er the Good soft suns the while
Through the mild day, the night serene,
To wring from toil want's worthless bread:
Ages of peace contented share.
Meanwhile the Bad with bitterest woe
Eye-startling tasks and endless tortures wear.
All, whose steadfast virtue thrice
Each side the grave unchanged hath stood
They by Jove's mysterious road
Whence pluck they many a fragrant band,
OPENING OF THE ILIAD'S DRAMA.
(From the Iliad of Homer: translated by Alexander Pope.)
[HOMER: His date, instead of being somewhat cleared up by recent archæological discoveries, is rendered more obscure than ever. The reality and remote date of the Trojan war prove nothing, because he certainly lived long enough after it for the exact site to have been forgotten, for the city and plain he describes do not correspond at all with those of Hissarlik. Professor Sayce has shown that the dialect of our Iliad is a later one; yet Homer lived early enough for his personality to be mere guesswork, even in the sixth century.
ALEXANDER POPE: An English poet; born May 22, 1688. His whole career was one of purely poetic work and the personal relations it brought him into. He published the "Essay on Criticism" in 1710, the "Rape of the Lock" in 1711, the "Messiah" in 1712, his translation of the Iliad in 17181720, and of the Odyssey in 1725. His "Essay on Man," whose thoughts were mainly suggested by Bolingbroke, appeared in 1733. His "Satires," modeled on Horace's manner, but not at all in his spirit, are among his best-known works. He died May 30, 1744.]
ACHILLES' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!
Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power