Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



[blocks in formation]

The Iliad was written by Homer. an Eiddlon begotten by the imagiWill Wolf and Knight tell us how it nation on the air of night, or some happened that all the heroic strains night-like day, and is visible but to about the war before Troy, poured his own frightened father. Now, forth, as they opine, by many bards, Achilles was an Apparition; and his regarded but one period of the siege? seer was a blind old man, with a front By what divine felicity was it that like Jove's, and a forehead like all those sons of song, though apart Olympus. “ All power was given in time and place, united in chanting him in that dreadful trance ;" and the wrath of Achilles ? The poem is Beauty and Terror accompanied the one-like a great wood, whose simul- Destroyer. He haunted Homer, who taneous growth overspreads a moun- no longer knew that he had himself tain. Indeed one mighty poem, in created the sublimest of all Phanprocess of time, moulded into form toms. But the Muse gave the maout of separate fragments, composed ker command over his creature ; by a brotherhood of bards-not even and, at the waving of his hand, the coeval-may be safely pronounced imaginary Goddess-born came and an impossibility in nature.

went obedient, more magnificent Achilles was not the son of many than any shadowy form that at the sires ; nor was the part he played bidding, of sunlight stalks along written for him by a succession of mountains into an abisme of clouds. "eminent hands," all striving to find The Odyssey-also and likewise fit work for their common hero. He -was written by Homer, and the is not a creature of collected tradi- proof lies all in one word—Ulysses. tions. He stands there-a single con- —There he is—the self-same being ception-in character and in achieve. as in the Iliad, and the birth of one ment ;-his absence is felt like that brain. Had Homer died the day he of a thunder cloud withdrawn behind said, " And thus they celebrated the a bill, leaving the air still sultry ;- obsequies of Hector the Tamer-ofhis presence is as the lightning in Horses,” before no mortal eye would sudden illumination glorifying the have stood on the threshold of his wbole field of battle. Kill, bury, and own hall, pouring out from his quiforget him, and the Iliad is no more ver all the arrows at his feet, that an Epic.

vision of a ragged beggar, suddenly No two men at the same time ever transfigured into an Avenger more yet saw a ghost; because a ghost is glorious far than Apollo's self trans


« PreviousContinue »