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llemen, Fenton and Broome, was finished in 1725, and from this work the principal translator derived a large sum, so that he cannot be ranked among poor poets.
Pope's Homer is among the most popular books in our language. Mr. Gibbon, the historian of the Roman empire, was delighted with Pope's Homer when he was a boy, and could hardly be persuaded that the venerable Grecian could be more beautiful in his original form. Lord Byron says—“Who ever read Cowper's Homer ?" and at the same time he speaks of the lively pleasure which Pope's version, with its smooth and flowing versification, had afforded him. Mr. Cowper did not thus love Pope's Homer-that elegant and upright poet did not consider it the " noblest version” which might be made of the ancient classic.
Cowper completed a translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, on the 25th of August, 1790. He was occupied in the work five years and one month. It is written in blank verse, and how faithful soever it may be to the original, it wants the attractiveness of rhyme ; and nothwithstanding the judgment of some excellent scholars, that the translation of Pope is often obscure and paraphrastic, and that Cowper is more simple and more faithful to Homer, the public mind nearly agrees with Lord Byron's expression of his own taste upon this subject.
Those who sympathize with Cowper, mist take some interest in a work which alleviated the sufferings of the afflicted poet. Of his completed translation he says- Now I have only to regret that my pleasant work is ended. To the illustrious Greek I owe the smooth and easy flight of many thousand hours. He has been my companion at home and abroad, in the garden, and in the field; and no measure of success, let my labours succeed as they may, will ever compensate to me the loss of the innocent luxury that I have enjoyed as a translator of Homer."
The Iliad is the history of a war. The Odyssey is chiefly the history of an individual, and his family, and
though it is connected with the Trojan war, it is a description ofdomestic manners, and throws much light upon the religion, the state of knowledge, and the useful and ornamental arts of that time.
The Iliad describes a series of battles between the Greeks and Trojans. The whole narrative is highly irrteresting. Som rigid moralists have considered the works of Homer as dangerous to the principles of the young. He, say they, makes war attractive, and exalts the false glory of military heroes. The pure virtues which Christianity recommends are forgotten by the admirer of Homer, as he feasts bis imagination in the lustre of great crimes dignified by the authority of great naines.
Homer represents barbarous men as they were, but he does not forget to infuse the sentiments of religion and humanity which might be found among them: and these relieve his dark pictures of violent passions, ferocious manners, and wanton waste of human life. There is something fascinating to the young in the character of the warrior, but other causes besides the reading of Homer, form the false moral taste which is charmed with military glory, such are the want of Christian education-the want of an early and deep conviction that the praise of God is better than the praise of men. A mind early impressed with the beautiful character of Jesus, will feel that benevolence, and the dignity of a soul sustained by unfaltering trust in God under all circumstances, may afford nobler displays of virtue than all the occasions that war ever produced.
Coleridge's translation of Wallenstien. So ne of the finest thoughts we have seen upon this subject have been lately offered to the world in Dr.
Channing's review of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte.“The greatness of the warrior," says Dr. Channing, “ is poor and low compared with the magnanimity of virtue. It vanishes before the greatness of principle. The martyr to humanity, to freedom, or religion; the unshrinking adherent of despised and deserted truth; who alone, unsupported, and scorned, with no crowd to infuse into him courage, no variety of objects to draw his thoughts from himself, no opportunity of effort or resistance to rouse and nourish energy, still yields himself calmly, resolutely, with invincible philanthropy, to bear prolonged and exquisite suffering, which one retracting word might remove : such a man is assuperior to the warrior, as the tranquil and boundless heavens above us, to the low earth we tread beneath our feet.
“Great generals away from the camp, are commonly no greater men than the mechanician taken from his workshop. In conversation they are often dull. Works of profound thinking on general and great topics they cannot comprehend. The *conqueror of Napoleon, the hero of Waterloo, undoubtedly possesses great military talents ; but we have never heard of his eloquence in the senate, or of his sagacity in the cabinet ; and we venture to say, that he will leave the world, without adding one new thought on the great themes, on which the genius of philosophy and legislature has meditated for ages. We will not go down for illustration to such men as Nelson, a man great on the deck, but debased by gross vices, and who never pretended to enlargement of intellect. To institute a comparison in point of talent and genius between such men and Milton, Bacon, and Shakspeare, is almost an insult on these illustrious names,
"Who can think of these truly great intelligences ; of the range of their minds through heaven and earth ; of their deep intuition into the soul ; of their new and glowing combinations of thought; of the energy with which they grasped and subjected to their main purpose, the in
* The Duke of Wellington.
finite materials of illustration which nature and life afford. who can think of the forms of transcendent beauty and grandeur which they created, or which were rather emanations of their own minds ; of the calm wisdom and fervid impetuous imagination which they conjoined; of the dominion which they have exerted over so many generations, and which time only extends and makes sure ; of the voice of power, in which, though dead, they sti}l speak to nations, and awaken intellect, sensibility, and genius in both hemispheres ; who can think of such men, and not feel the immense inferiority of the most gifted warrior, whose elements of thought are physical forces and physical obstructions, and whose employment is the combination of the lowest class of objects, on which a powerful mind can be employed."
It cannot be misplaced here to express our sense of the superiority of him in whose mind these sentiments originated, to those heroes who are such enticing exam. ples to the young. "He is,” said Mr. Southey, “a man who does honour to his age and country.” We feel pride and pleasure in this foreign tribute, and we feel also that the best acknowledgment we can make of such a man's worth, is practically to adopt, and zealously to inculcate his principles, that while he is celebrated abroad, his best influence may operate at home.
Hector, a Trojan prince, is perhaps the most interest. ing of Homer's heroes. The charm of Hector's character is principally derived from his amiable domestic alfections. The parting of Hector and Andromache is in most collections of poetry, but it is not a less touching scene because it is well known.
PARTING OF HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE,
He said, and pass'd with sad presaging heart To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part; At home he sought her, but he sought in vain : She, with one maid of all her menial train, Had thence retir’d; and with her second joy, The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy, Pensive she stood on Ilion's tow'ry height, Beheld the war, and sicken'd at the sight; There her sad eyes in vain her lord explore, Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
But he who found not whom his soul desir'd, Whose virtue charm’d him as her beauty fir'd, Stood in the gates, and ask'd what way she bent Her parting step? if to the fane she went, Where late the mourning matrons made resort ; Or sought her sisters in the Trojan court? Not to the court, (reply'd the attendant train, Nor mix'd with matrons to Minerva's fane : To Ilion's steepy tow'r she bent her way, To mark the fortunes of the doubtful day. Troy fled, she heard, before the Grecian sword ; She heard, and trembled for her absent lord: Distracted with surprise, she seemed to fly, Fear on her cheek, and sorrow in her eye. The nurse attended with her infant boy, The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy.
Hector, this heard, return’d without delay; * Swift through the town he trode his former way,
Through streets of palaces, and walks of state,