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heavenly inspiration his poets are not even behind his priests ; and we have a proof of vanity being a very old poetical infirmity, in finding that Thaniyris, the oldest of the tribe, was struck blind for self-conceit. In all this, however, Homer paints the bardic character as ancient and honourable, and his verisimilitude has been seldom called in question. Simple too as the art of Poetry must have still been, he makes Phemius boast of it as a power “ of manifold argument;"* and we may suppose Homer to have found it possessing at least some variety of character, from the diversity of occasions to which he describes it as already applied. Song was alike the soul of the joyous feast and of the solemn sacrifice. It accompanied the nuptial dance, and was heard in lamentations over the warrior's bier.t The strains of Demodochus, in the Odyssey, exhibit a wide opposition of gaiety and pathos. At one times they describe the merriment of the Gods at the detection of Mar's gallantry with Venus; at another time, they melt the heart of Ulysses with the " tale of Troy,” till the hero wept, says Homer, in one of his most beautiful and prolonged similies, as a woman weeps over the husband of her love, who has fallen in battle, on whom she gazes as he pants and dies, till the enemy, smiting her shoulders with a spear, commands her far away into captivity and bondage."'ll

The hospitality of a Greek palace is never described by Homer without the presence of a bard, to heighten its festivity.' I know not if the Odyssey can be said to show the bard to have ever been a permanent inmate of the Prince's house; though when we are told of Clytemnestras being left by her husband, at his departure for Troy, under the guardianship of a poet,** whom Ægisthus was obliged to get removed to a desert island before he could accomplish his purposes on the Queen, we can scarcely help supposing that the lady would be placed under the same roof with her moral preceptor. On another occasion, we find the bard, in the Odyssey, not domesticated in the royal mansion ; but apparently a frequent guest, and brought to it from no great distance in the neighbourhood.ft Phemius complains, in the Odyssey, of having been compelled by force to attend the suitors to the house of Penelope. Demodochus is invited to the feast of Alcinous among the chieftains of the land. The herald takes a

Odyss. xxij. 347. + Two singers are placed as mourners over the dead body of Hector. # Odyss, viji. 266. $ Odyss. viii. 521. I have abridged this exquisite passage. & Odyss. iii, 267.

** When we speak of a poet in Homeric times, we must always understand a singer; as the song, the lyre, and sometimes even the dance, accompanied poetic strains. Vide Odyss. iv. 17. The accompanying dance there alluded to, was probably pantomimic.

it Odyss. vii. 43.

kindly guidance of his blind steps, and his venerable figure is described as placed in a silver-studded chair, beside the pillar on which his lyre is suspended. * In another passage allusion is made to the bard being received as a wanderer, and to his being certain, at all times, of an hospitality which was considered as his due, and not as eleemosynary. His profession is distinctly spoken of as one entitled to public support, like that of the physician, the architect, and soothsayer

The prophet, and the healer of disease,
The skilful artist, and the bard inspired
With strains that charm his hearers--these we seek,
And these, in every climate under Heaven,
Are dearly prized.

The active spirit of the Greeks appears, from the Homeric draught of their manners, to have been much addicted to travelling; and of all members of society the bard had the most agreeable motives for being a traveller, in the security of his being welcomed wherever he went in his love of novelty and in his thirst of knowledge. It is to this circumstance that we are probably indebted for the deep acquaintance with human nature '• and manners which so much enchants us in the works of Homer. He must have been an extensive traveller, and a poet of the people. Had it been otherwise, and had he been a mere retainer a Prince's court, his poetry would have assumed a stiff, inflated, and servile air. In that case we should not have enjoyed such endearing traits of homely description, as that of the old stone bank on which Neleus sat before his mansion; or of the feelings of Ulysses on discerning the smoke of his native roof.

* Odyss, vii. 385.

† The day of quarrelling with Homer's simplicity is now gone by. But it is not an hundred years since what was called Criticism derided his simplicity.It is Lord Chesterfield (I think), or some judge equally competent, who compares Achilles's reproaches of Agamemnon to the language of that place where (as Addison says)" they sell the best fish, and speak the plainest English.Lamotte's (a French critic) observations on Homer are still more amusing: “We see not,” he says, “ in the Iliad, either a crowd of staff-officers around Agamemnon, or a garde de corps_Agamemnon dresses himself (it was lucky that powdering and shaving were not yet in fashion)—and Achilles with his own hand cooks and spreads a repast for the deputies of the army.-One might have helped the Frenchman to better instances of what he calls Homer's grossierté, such as a Princess Royal washing and bleaching the family linen. Perhaps the grossest of all simplicities occurs at the table of Alcinous: the poet Demodochus at that table could be in no want of food, yet Ulysses sends him by the herald, a plate of fat pork, as a compliment in return for the pleasure he had received from hear. ing his poetry. It was exactly as if a modern Prince had condescended to honour a poet at table by inviting him to drink a glass of wine.-Many other grosniertés could have been picked out of Homer; but one instance was as good as twenty to a critic who could propose to accommodate Agamemnon with a valet de chambre, or Achilles with a maître d'hotel.

The bardic profession could not have commenced with Homer, who describes it as thus distinct and popular; for, even if an individual could create an art, it requires a succession of artists to form a profession. At the same time, whilst we must suppose that there were poems in Greece anterior to the Iliad and Odyssey, it is impossible, though we may guess at their subjects, to determine what those poems were, and by whom they were composed.

Homer has recorded only three poets*_Thamyris, Phemius, and Demodochus, no relics of whom are pretended to be known; and the two last appear to be names of fancy rather than of tradition. He has nowhere mentioned either Orpheust or Musæus ; and his silence respecting them, though not a proof, is something like a presumption, against the idea of their poetical existence having preceded his own. But works nominally ascribed to those two bards are still extant; and to judge by Mons. de Sales, a French academiciant, there is still a belief in the nineteenth century, that we possess the authentic poetry of Orpheus the Argonaut, and of Musæus, the son of Eumolpus and the Moon. Mons. de Sales, with a great deal more modesty than Stephens's auctioneer, who sold heads “ warranted antediluvian,” carries his biographical minuteness only a little farther back than the siege of Troy. He assures us that Orpheus captivated the clergy of Egypt by his affable manners, and that he lost his wife in consequence of teasing her with assiduities when she ought to have been left to solitude and repose. He proves that Orpheus was the son of a king, because he has told us so himself in his Argonautics; and talks of Musæus, his poetical descendant, as well known by his “ fine poem" of Hero and Leander. Unfortunately this fine poem appears to have come into the world about 1600 years later than Mons. de Sales had imagined; and the Argonautics is also a comparatively modern poem, making mention of countries with which the Argonauts had probably the same acquaintance as with Botany Bav.

Yet, though nobody but Monsieur de Sales believes the poems of Orpheus, as we have them, to be as old as the golden fleece, yet men deserving graver notice have deemed them the

There is a passage in the Iliad where the name of Linus has been supposed by some to be alluded to; but Heyne and other critics of the first authority, reject this idea, and understand the word alvor to mean simply a chord.

| Homer mentions Amphion, but not as a poet; and says nothing of his build. ing a city by the power of song.

# Histoire d'Homère et d'Orphé, Paris, 1808.

refabricated relics of an ante-Homeric poet.* Orpheus, as a bard and founder of mysteries, is frequently mentioned by the ancients. Pindar calls him the father of poetry ;£ and Plato quotes from works that were certainly current in his age, under the names of Orpheus and Musæus.' Matthew Gesnerø therefore supposes that the Athenian Onomacritus, a contemporary of Xerxes, renovated the Orphic poetry from a more ancient dialect, interpolating and abridging it, as he owns, but by no means absolutely forging it.

Certainly, though Homer has been silent about him, an anteHomeric Orpheus may have existed, and Thrace looks like the probable country of a primitive poet and mystagogue. For the mystic poetry of the ancients, according to Strabo, had many traces of Thracian origin, and the Thamyris of Homer was from that country. The tomb of Orpheus was shown in Greece, and was honoured by the beautiful fiction, that the nightingales in the branches around it excelled all others in sweetness of song. But there was nevertheless an evidently divided opinion among the ancients respecting the authenticity and extreme antiquity of the Orphic works. Cicero imputes them to Cercops, a disciple of Pythagoras. Pindarion, as quoted by Sextus Empiricus,|| makes Onomacritus their fabricator, and declares it the fixed opinion of his time that Greece had no ante-Homeric poetry. But these are comparatively modern sceptics. Cicero says that Aristotle doubted if such a poet as Orpheus had ever existed; and the Stagyrite speaks doubtingly of the so called poems of Orpheus and Musæus." To go to the fountain-head of history, Herodotus declares his belief, that all the poets given out as older than Homer were of more recent date. **

It has been conceived, however, by very sensible inquirers, that the name of Orpheus, though possibly fabulous, may still represent some real poet who communicated in songs the holy symbols and mysterious secrets of doctrines more pure and ancient than the theology of Homer-doctrines originating in the Asiatic ancestry of the Greeks, or brought less directly from Egypt, that may have been even dim recollections of Divine reve

Yet I cannot help suspecting that the quantum of poetry, which could have come down to the age of written literature in

Gesneri Prolegomena Orphica. Rhunkenius also pronounced the Orphic poetry very old, thongt., with an ambiguity passing all understanding, he allow. ed at the same time, that it might be of the Alexandrian school.-Vide Hermann's Orphica, p. 680.

† By Euripides, Med. 543. Iphig. in Aulide, 1711. In Rhes. 943. By Aristophanes, Ran. 1064. 4 φορμικτας αοιδών πατηρ.-Pind. Pythic. iv. 13. Ś Gesneri Prolegomena Orphica. 1 Sextus Empiricus adv. Mathematic, Cicero de Nat. Deor, i. 38.

** Herodotus, Euterpe, 53.

Greece from such an ante-Homeric poet, must be at most only a conjectural something, like a mathematical point without definable form or magnitude. At whatever time the Greek mysteries were founded, Homer is silent respecting them; but at the commencement of the republican era in Greece they certainly received a new impulse and enlargement, from the rise of philosophy, and Orpheus was the great poetical authority held out for mystic doctrines and institutions.* The connexion between philosophy and mysticism could not, from the nature of the former, be permanent; but, undoubtedly, there was a connexion between them at an early period in Greece. The institutions of Orpheus and Pythagoras, we are told by Herodotus, were the same. Now, admitting that this circumstance arose from both Orpheus and Pythagoras having drawn mystic doctrines in common from Egypt, yet it is impossible not to suspect that a teacher and reformer such as Pythagoras was, would blend such doctrines with philosophical conceptions of his own.

St. Clemens says, that the Greek mysteries were founded by philosophers. Early Philosophy at this period might, no doubt, conceal sublime principles under the veil of secrecy and mystic fraternities. But still she allied herself intimately with priestcraft, and externally, at least, with orgies and mummery; and where these existed, fraud could not be long absent. The veil of mysticism was alike favourable to a visionary and an innovating spirit; and as the metaphysics of an Argonaut could not have been a perfect prototype of the Pythagorean philosophy, the name of Orpheus was likely to be used as a cloak for many new ideas. In the later period of Greek literature, the name of Orpheus has been undoubtedly made an heir-loom of forgery, and it probably was so from the beginning.

Great and good as Pythagoras was, more than one of his scholars is accused of having fabricated Orphic poetry; and the blame being divided, only shows that there were partners in the concern. Onomacritus

appears as an old and eminent name in the business. Gesner asserts, that he could not have forged all that he gave out to be Orphic. Of his inability to forge, I know of no proof, except his having been once detected in the fact. But that he had often succeeded, in spite of this one detection, we are helped to guess by Pausanias's frequently rejecting things attributed to Orpheus, as the fabrications of Onomacritus. Of his general modesty and uprightness of character we are pretty well assured

by Herodotus, who gives a short but pithy account of him. He was a priest and a vender of oracles; who was banished from Athens by Hipparchus, for fraudulently pretend

* Herodotus, Euterpo, 81.

† Herodot. Polymnia, 6.

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