Well might I wish.

"Would heav'n (said he) my strength and youth recall,
Such as I was beneath Praeneste's wall—
Then when I made the foremost foes retire,
And set whole heaps of conquer'd shields on fire;
When Herilus in single fight I slew,
Whom with three lives Feronia did endue."

Dryden's Virgil, viii. 742.


Sthenelus, a son of Capaneus, one of the Epigoni. He was one of the suitors of Helen, and is said to have been one of those who entered Troy inside the wooden horse.


Forwarn'd the horrors. The same portent has already been mentioned. To this day, modern nations are not wholly free from this superstition.


Sevenfold city, Boeotian Thebes, which had seven gates.


As when the winds.

"Thus, when a black-brow'd gust begins to rise,
White foam at first on the curl'd ocean fries;
Then roars the main, the billows mount the skies,
Till, by the fury of the storm full blown,
The muddy billow o'er the clouds is thrown."

Dryden's Virgil, vii. 736.

Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremoved;
His stature reach'd the sky."

—"Paradise Lost," iv. 986.


The Abantes seem to have been of Thracian origin.


I may, once for all, remark that Homer is most anatomically correct as to the parts of the body in which a wound would be immediately mortal.


Ænus, a fountain almost proverbial for its coldness.


Compare Tasso, Gier. Lib., xx. 7:

"Nuovo favor del cielo in lui niluce
E 'l fa grande, et angusto oltre il costume.
Gl' empie d' honor la faccia, e vi riduce
Di giovinezza il bel purpureo lume."
"Or deluges, descending on the plains,
Sweep o'er the yellow year, destroy the pains
Of lab'ring oxen, and the peasant's gains;
Uproot the forest oaks, and bear away
Flocks, folds, and trees, an undistinguish'd prey."

Dryden's Virgil ii. 408.


From mortal mists.

"But to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed."

"Paradise Lost," xi. 411.


The race of those.

"A pair of coursers, born of heav'nly breed,
Who from their nostrils breathed ethereal fire;
Whom Circe stole from her celestial sire,
By substituting mares produced on earth,
Whose wombs conceived a more than mortal birth.

Dryden's Virgil, vii. 386, sqq.


The belief in the existence of men of larger stature in earlier times, is by no means confined to Homer.


Such stream, i.e. the ichor, or blood of the gods.

"A stream of nect'rous humour issuing flow'd,
Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed."

"Paradise Lost," vi. 339.


This was during the wars with the Titans.


Amphitryon's son, Hercules, born to Jove by Alcmena, the wife of Amphitryon.


Ægiale daughter of Adrastus. The Cyclic poets (See Anthon's Lempriere, s. v.) assert Venus incited her to infidelity, in revenge for the wound she had received from her husband.


Pherae, a town of Pelasgiotis, in Thessaly.


Tlepolemus, son of Hercules and Astyochia. Having left his native country, Argos, in consequence of the accidental murder of Liscymnius, he was commanded by an oracle to retire to Rhodes. Here he was chosen king, and accompanied the Trojan expedition. After his death, certain games were instituted at Rhodes in his honour, the victors being rewarded with crowns of poplar.


These heroes' names have since passed into a kind of proverb, designating the oi polloi or mob.


Spontaneous open.

"Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light
Flew through the midst of heaven; th' angelic quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate
Of heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden hinges turning."

—"Paradise Lost," v. 250.

"Till Morn,
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light."

—"Paradise Lost," vi, 2.


Far as a shepherd. "With what majesty and pomp does Homer exalt his deities! He here measures the leap of the horses by the extent of the world. And who is there, that, considering the exceeding greatness of the space would not with reason cry out that 'If the steeds of the deity were to take a second leap, the world would want room for it'?"—Longinus, Section 8.


"No trumpets, or any other instruments of sound, are used in the Homeric action itself; but the trumpet was known, and is introduced for the purpose of illustration as employed in war. Hence arose the value of a loud voice in a commander; Stentor was an indispensable officer... In the early Saracen campaigns frequent mention is made of the service rendered by men of uncommonly strong voices; the battle of Honain was restored by the shouts and menaces of Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed," &c.—Coleridge, p. 213.

"Long had the wav'ring god the war delay'd,
While Greece and Troy alternate own'd his aid."

Merrick's "Tryphiodorus," vi. 761, sq.


Paeon seems to have been to the gods, what Podaleirius and Machaon were to the Grecian heroes.


Arisbe, a colony of the Mitylenaeans in Troas.


Pedasus, a town near Pylos.


Rich heaps of brass. "The halls of Alkinous and Menelaus glitter with gold, copper, and electrum; while large stocks of yet unemployed metal—gold, copper, and iron are stored up in the treasure-chamber of Odysseus and other chiefs. Coined money is unknown in the Homeric age—the trade carried on being one of barter. In reference also to the metals, it deserves to be remarked, that the Homeric descriptions universally suppose copper, and not iron, to be employed for arms, both offensive and defensive. By what process the copper was tempered and hardened, so as to serve the purpose of the warrior, we do not know; but the use of iron for these objects belongs to a later age."—Grote, vol. ii. p. 142.


Oh impotent, &c. "In battle, quarter seems never to have been given, except with a view to the ransom of the prisoner. Agamemnon reproaches Menelaus with unmanly softness, when he is on the point of sparing a fallen enemy, and himself puts the suppliant to the sword."—Thirlwall, vol. i. p. 181

"The ruthless steel, impatient of delay,
Forbade the sire to linger out the day.
It struck the bending father to the earth,
And cropt the wailing infant at the birth.
Can innocents the rage of parties know,
And they who ne'er offended find a foe?"

Rowe's Lucan, bk. ii.

"Meantime the Trojan dames, oppress'd with woe,
To Pallas' fane in long procession go,
In hopes to reconcile their heav'nly foe:
They weep; they beat their breasts; they rend their hair,
And rich embroider'd vests for presents bear."

Dryden's Virgil, i. 670


The manner in which this episode is introduced, is well illustrated by the following remarks of Mure, vol. i. p.298: "The poet's method of introducing his episode, also, illustrates in a curious manner his tact in the dramatic department of his art. Where, for example, one or more heroes are despatched on some commission, to be executed at a certain distance of time or place, the fulfilment of this task is not, as a general rule, immediately described. A certain interval is allowed them for reaching the appointed scene of action, which interval is dramatised, as it were, either by a temporary continuation of the previous narrative, or by fixing attention for a while on some new transaction, at the close of which the further account of the mission is resumed."


With tablets sealed. These probably were only devices of a hieroglyphical character. Whether writing was known in the Homeric times is utterly uncertain. See Grote, vol ii. p. 192, sqq.


Solymaean crew, a people of Lycia.


From this "melancholy madness" of Bellerophon, hypochondria received the name of "Morbus Bellerophonteus." See my notes in my prose translation, p. 112. The "Aleian field," i.e. "the plain of wandering," was situated between the rivers Pyramus and Pinarus, in Cilicia.


His own, of gold. This bad bargain has passed into a common proverb. See Aulus Gellius, ii, 23.


Scaean, i e. left hand.


In fifty chambers.

"The fifty nuptial beds, (such hopes had he,
So large a promise of a progeny,)
The ports of plated gold, and hung with spoils."

Dryden's Virgil, ii.658


O would kind earth, &c. "It is apparently a sudden, irregular burst of popular indignation to which Hector alludes, when he regrets that the Trojans had not spirit enough to cover Paris with a mantle of stones. This, however, was also one of the ordinary formal modes of punishment for great public offences. It may have been originally connected with the same feeling—the desire of avoiding the pollution of bloodshed—which seems to have suggested the practice of burying prisoners alive, with a scantling of food by their side. Though Homer makes no mention of this horrible usage, the example of the Roman Vestals affords reasons for believing that, in ascribing it to the heroic ages, Sophocles followed an authentic tradition."—Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 171, sq.


Paris' lofty dome. "With respect to the private dwellings, which are oftenest described, the poet's language barely enables us to form a general notion of their ordinary plan, and affords no conception of the style which prevailed in them or of their effect on the eye. It seems indeed probable, from the manner in which he dwells on their metallic ornaments that the higher beauty of proportion was but little required or understood, and it is, perhaps, strength and convenience, rather than elegance, that he means to commend, in speaking of the fair house which Paris had built for himself with the aid of the most skilful masons of Troy."—Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 231.


The wanton courser.

"Come destrier, che da le regie stalle
Ove a l'usa de l'arme si riserba,
Fugge, e libero al fiu per largo calle
Va tragl' armenti, o al fiume usato, o a l'herba."

Gier, Lib. ix. 75.


Casque. The original word is stephanae, about the meaning of which there is some little doubt. Some take it for a different kind of cap or helmet, others for the rim, others for the cone, of the helmet.


Athenian maid: Minerva.


Celadon, a river of Elis.


Oileus, i.e. Ajax, the son of Oileus, in contradistinction to Ajax, son of Telamon.


In the general's helm. It was customary to put the lots into a helmet, in which they were well shaken up; each man then took his choice.


God of Thrace. Mars, or Mavors, according to his Thracian epithet. Hence "Mavortia Moenia."


Grimly he smiled.

"And death
Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile."

—"Paradise Lost," ii. 845.

"There Mavors stands
Grinning with ghastly feature."

—Carey's Dante: Hell, v.

"Sete o guerrieri, incomincio Pindoro,
Con pari honor di pari ambo possenti,
Dunque cessi la pugna, e non sian rotte
Le ragioni, e 'l riposo, e de la notte."

—Gier. Lib. vi. 51.


It was an ancient style of compliment to give a larger portion of food to the conqueror, or person to whom respect was to be shown. See Virg. Æn. viii. 181. Thus Benjamin was honoured with a "double portion." Gen. xliii. 34.


Embattled walls. "Another essential basis of mechanical unity in the poem is the construction of the rampart. This takes place in the seventh book. The reason ascribed for the glaring improbability that the Greeks should have left their camp and fleet unfortified during nine years, in the midst of a hostile country, is a purely poetical one: 'So long as Achilles fought, the terror of his name sufficed to keep every foe at a distance.' The disasters consequent on his secession first led to the necessity of other means of protection. Accordingly, in the battles previous to the eighth book, no allusion occurs to a rampart; in all those which follow it forms a prominent feature. Here, then, in the anomaly as in the propriety of the Iliad, the destiny of Achilles, or rather this peculiar crisis of it, forms the pervading bond of connexion to the whole poem."—Mure, vol. i., p. 257.


What cause of fear, &c.

"Seest thou not this? Or do we fear in vain
Thy boasted thunders, and thy thoughtless reign?"

Dryden's Virgil, iv. 304.


In exchange. These lines are referred to by Theophilus, the Roman lawyer, iii. tit. xxiii. Section 1, as exhibiting the most ancient mention of barter.


"A similar bond of connexion, in the military details of the narrative, is the decree issued by Jupiter, at the commencement of the eighth book, against any further interference of the gods in the battles. In the opening of the twentieth book this interdict is withdrawn. During the twelve intermediate books it is kept steadily in view. No interposition takes place but on the part of the specially authorised agents of Jove, or on that of one or two contumacious deities, described as boldly setting his commands at defiance, but checked and reprimanded for their disobedience; while the other divine warriors, who in the previous and subsequent cantos are so active in support of their favourite heroes, repeatedly allude to the supreme edict as the cause of their present inactivity."—Mure, vol. i. p 257. See however, Muller, "Greek Literature," ch. v. Section 6, and Grote, vol. ii. p. 252.

"As far removed from God and light of heaven,
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole."

—"Paradise Lost."

"E quanto e da le stelle al basso inferno,
Tanto e piu in su de la stellata spera"

—Gier. Lib. i. 7.

"Some of the epithets which Homer applies to the heavens seem to imply that he considered it as a solid vault of metal. But it is not necessary to construe these epithets so literally, nor to draw any such inference from his description of Atlas, who holds the lofty pillars which keep earth and heaven asunder. Yet it would seem, from the manner in which the height of heaven is compared with the depth of Tartarus, that the region of light was thought to have certain bounds. The summit of the Thessalian Olympus was regarded as the highest point on the earth, and it is not always carefully distinguished from the aerian regions above The idea of a seat of the gods—perhaps derived from a more ancient tradition, in which it was not attached to any geographical site—seems to be indistinctly blended in the poet's mind with that of the real mountain."—Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 217, sq.

"Now lately heav'n, earth, another world
Hung e'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain
To that side heav'n."

—"Paradise Lost," ii. 1004.


His golden scales.

"Jove now, sole arbiter of peace and war,
Held forth the fatal balance from afar:
Each host he weighs; by turns they both prevail,
Till Troy descending fix'd the doubtful scale."

Merrick's Tryphiodorus, v 687, sqq.

"Th' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales,
Wherein all things created first he weighed;
The pendulous round earth, with balanced air
In counterpoise; now ponders all events,
Battles and realms. In these he puts two weights,
The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam."

"Paradise Lost," iv. 496.


And now, &c.

"And now all heaven
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread;
Had not th' Almighty Father, where he sits
... foreseen."

—"Paradise Lost," vi. 669.


Gerenian Nestor. The epithet Gerenian either refers to the name of a place in which Nestor was educated, or merely signifies honoured, revered. See Schol. Venet. in II. B. 336; Strabo, viii. p. 340.


Ægae, Helice. Both these towns were conspicuous for their worship of Neptune.


As full blown, &c.

"Il suo Lesbia quasi bel fior succiso,
E in atto si gentil languir tremanti
Gl' occhi, e cader siu 'l tergo il collo mira."

Gier. Lib. ix. 85.


Ungrateful, because the cause in which they were engaged was unjust.

"Struck by the lab'ring priests' uplifted hands
The victims fall: to heav'n they make their pray'r,
The curling vapours load the ambient air.
But vain their toil: the pow'rs who rule the skies
Averse beheld the ungrateful sacrifice."

Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 527, sqq.

"As when about the silver moon, when aire is free from winde,
And stars shine cleare, to whose sweet beams high prospects on the brows
Of all steepe hills and pinnacles thrust up themselves for shows,
And even the lowly valleys joy to glitter in their sight;
When the unmeasured firmament bursts to disclose her light,
And all the signs in heaven are seene, that glad the shepherd's heart."



This flight of the Greeks, according to Buttmann, Lexil. p. 358, was not a supernatural flight caused by the gods, but "a great and general one, caused by Hector and the Trojans, but with the approval of Jove."


Grote, vol. ii. p. 91, after noticing the modest calmness and respect with which Nestor addresses Agamemnon, observes, "The Homeric Council is a purely consultative body, assembled not with any power of peremptorily arresting mischievous resolves of the king, but solely for his information and guidance."


In the heroic times, it is not unfrequent for the king to receive presents to purchase freedom from his wrath, or immunity from his exactions. Such gifts gradually became regular, and formed the income of the German, (Tacit. Germ. Section 15) Persian, (Herodot. iii.89), and other kings. So, too, in the middle ages, 'The feudal aids are the beginning of taxation, of which they for a long time answered the purpose.' (Hallam, Middle Ages, ch. x. pt. 1, p. 189) This fact frees Achilles from the apparent charge of sordidness. Plato, however, (De Rep. vi. 4), says, "We cannot commend Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, as if he spoke correctly, when counselling him to accept of presents and assist the Greeks, but, without presents, not to desist from his wrath, nor again, should we commend Achilles himself, or approve of his being so covetous as to receive presents from Agamemnon," &c.


It may be observed, that, brief as is the mention of Briseis in the Iliad, and small the part she plays—what little is said is pre-eminently calculated to enhance her fitness to be the bride of Achilles. Purity, and retiring delicacy, are features well contrasted with the rough, but tender disposition of the hero.


Laodice. Iphianassa, or Iphigenia, is not mentioned by Homer, among the daughters of Agamemnon.


"Agamemnon, when he offers to transfer to Achilles seven towns inhabited by wealthy husbandmen, who would enrich their lord by presents and tribute, seems likewise to assume rather a property in them, than an authority over them. And the same thing may be intimated when it is said that Peleus bestowed a great people, the Dolopes of Phthia, on Phoenix."—Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i Section 6, p. 162, note.


Pray in deep silence. Rather: "use well-omened words;" or, as Kennedy has explained it, "Abstain from expressions unsuitable to the solemnity of the occasion, which, by offending the god, might defeat the object of their supplications."


Purest hands. This is one of the most ancient superstitions respecting prayer, and one founded as much in nature as in tradition.


It must be recollected, that the war at Troy was not a settled siege, and that many of the chieftains busied themselves in piratical expeditions about its neighborhood. Such a one was that of which Achilles now speaks. From the following verses, it is evident that fruits of these maraudings went to the common support of the expedition, and not to the successful plunderer.


Pthia, the capital of Achilles' Thessalian domains.


Orchomenian town. The topography of Orchomenus, in Boeotia, "situated," as it was, "on the northern bank of the lake Æpais, which receives not only the river Cephisus from the valleys of Phocis, but also other rivers from Parnassus and Helicon" (Grote, vol. p. 181), was a sufficient reason for its prosperity and decay. "As long as the channels of these waters were diligently watched and kept clear, a large portion of the lake was in the condition of alluvial land, pre-eminently rich and fertile. But when the channels came to be either neglected, or designedly choked up by an enemy, the water accumulated in such a degree as to occupy the soil of more than one ancient islet, and to occasion the change of the site of Orchomenus itself from the plain to the declivity of Mount Hyphanteion." (Ibid.)


The phrase "hundred gates," &c., seems to be merely expressive of a great number. See notes to my prose translation, p. 162.


Compare the following pretty lines of Quintus Calaber (Dyce's Select Translations, p 88).—

"Many gifts he gave, and o'er
Dolopia bade me rule; thee in his arms
He brought an infant, on my bosom laid
The precious charge, and anxiously enjoin'd
That I should rear thee as my own with all
A parent's love. I fail'd not in my trust
And oft, while round my neck thy hands were lock'd,
From thy sweet lips the half articulate sound
Of Father came; and oft, as children use,
Mewling and puking didst thou drench my tunic."

"This description," observes my learned friend (notes, p. 121) "is taken from the passage of Homer, II ix, in translating which, Pope, with that squeamish, artificial taste, which distinguished the age of Anne, omits the natural (and, let me add, affecting) circumstance."

"And the wine
Held to thy lips, and many a time in fits
Of infant frowardness the purple juice
Rejecting thou hast deluged all my vest,
And fill'd my bosom."



Where Calydon. For a good sketch of the story of Meleager, too long to be inserted here, see Grote, vol. i. p. 195, sqq.; and for the authorities, see my notes to the prose translation, p. 166.


"Gifts can conquer"—It is well observed by Bishop Thirlwall, "Greece," vol. i. p, 180, that the law of honour among the Greeks did not compel them to treasure up in their memory the offensive language which might be addressed to them by a passionate adversary, nor to conceive that it left a stain which could only be washed away by blood. Even for real and deep injuries they were commonly willing to accept a pecuniary compensation."


"The boon of sleep."—Milton

"All else of nature's common gift partake:
Unhappy Dido was alone awake."

—Dryden's Virgil, iv. 767.


The king of Crete: Idomeneus.


Soft wool within, i e. a kind of woollen stuffing, pressed in between the straps, to protect the head, and make the helmet fit close.


"All the circumstances of this action—the night, Rhesus buried in a profound sleep, and Diomede with the sword in his hand hanging over the head of that prince—furnished Homer with the idea of this fiction, which represents Rhesus lying fast asleep, and, as it were, beholding his enemy in a dream, plunging the sword into his bosom. This image is very natural; for a man in his condition awakes no farther than to see confusedly what environs him, and to think it not a reality but a dream."—Pope.

"There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cry'd murder;
They wak'd each other."


"Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heavens o'erspread."

Dryden's Virgil, iv. 639


Red drops of blood. "This phenomenon, if a mere fruit of the poet's imagination, might seem arbitrary or far-fetched. It is one, however, of ascertained reality, and of no uncommon occurrence in the climate of Greece."—Mure, i p. 493. Cf. Tasso, Gier. Lib. ix. 15:

"La terra in vece del notturno gelo
Bagnan rugiade tepide, e sanguigne."
"No thought of flight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear."

—"Paradise Lost," vi. 236.


One of love. Although a bastard brother received only a small portion of the inheritance, he was commonly very well treated. Priam appears to be the only one of whom polygamy is directly asserted in the Iliad. Grote, vol. ii. p. 114, note.

"Circled with foes as when a packe of bloodie jackals cling
About a goodly palmed hart, hurt with a hunter's bow
Whose escape his nimble feet insure, whilst his warm blood doth flow,
And his light knees have power to move: but (maistred by his wound)
Embost within a shady hill, the jackals charge him round,
And teare his flesh—when instantly fortune sends in the powers
Of some sterne lion, with whose sighte they flie and he devours.
So they around Ulysses prest."



Simois, railing, &c.

"In those bloody fields
Where Simois rolls the bodies and the shields
Of heroes."

—Dryden's Virgil, i. 142.

"Where yon disorder'd heap of ruin lies,
Stones rent from stones,—where clouds of dust arise,—
Amid that smother, Neptune holds his place,
Below the wall's foundation drives his mace,
And heaves the building from the solid base."

Dryden's Virgil, ii. 825.


Why boast we.

"Wherefore do I assume
These royalties and not refuse to reign,
Refusing to accept as great a share
Of hazard as of honour, due alike to him
Who reigns, and so much to him due
Of hazard more, as he above the rest
High honour'd sits."

—"Paradise Lost," ii. 450.


Each equal weight.

"Long time in even scale
The battle hung."

—"Paradise Lost," vi. 245.

"He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night."

—"Paradise Lost," vi. 831


Renown'd for justice and for length of days, Arrian. de Exp. Alex. iv. p. 239, also speaks of the independence of these people, which he regards as the result of their poverty and uprightness. Some authors have regarded the phrase "Hippomolgian," i.e. "milking their mares," as an epithet applicable to numerous tribes, since the oldest of the Samatian nomads made their mares' milk one of their chief articles of diet. The epithet abion or abion, in this passage, has occasioned much discussion. It may mean, according as we read it, either "long-lived," or "bowless," the latter epithet indicating that they did not depend upon archery for subsistence.


Compare Chapman's quaint, bold verses:—

"And as a round piece of a rocke, which with a winter's flood
Is from his top torn, when a shoure poured from a bursten cloud,
Hath broke the naturall band it had within the roughftey rock,
Flies jumping all adourne the woods, resounding everie shocke,
And on, uncheckt, it headlong leaps till in a plaine it stay,
And then (tho' never so impelled), it stirs not any way:—
So Hector,—"

This book forms a most agreeable interruption to The continuous round of battles, which occupy the latter part of the Iliad. It is as well to observe, that the sameness of these scenes renders many notes unnecessary.


Who to Tydeus owes, i.e. Diomed.


Compare Tasso:—

Teneri sdegni, e placide, e tranquille
Repulse, e cari vezzi, e liete paci,
Sorrisi, parolette, e dolci stille
Di pianto, e sospir tronchi, e molli baci."

Gier. Lib. xvi. 25


Compare the description of the dwelling of Sleep in Orlando Furioso, bk. vi.

"Twice seven, the charming daughters of the main—
Around my person wait, and bear my train:
Succeed my wish, and second my design,
The fairest, Deiopeia, shall be thine."

Dryden's Virgil, Æn. i. 107, seq.


And Minos. "By Homer, Minos is described as the son of Jupiter, and of the daughter of Phoenix, whom all succeeding authors name Europa; and he is thus carried back into the remotest period of Cretan antiquity known to the poet, apparently as a native hero, Illustrious enough for a divine parentage, and too ancient to allow his descent to be traced to any other source. But in a genealogy recorded by later writers, he is likewise the adopted son of Asterius, as descendant of Dorus, the son of Helen, and is thus connected with a colony said to have been led into Creta by Tentamus, or Tectamus, son of Dorus, who is related either to have crossed over from Thessaly, or to have embarked at Malea after having led his followers by land into Laconia."—Thirlwall, p. 136, seq.


Milton has emulated this passage, in describing the couch of our first parents:—

"Underneath the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth with rich inlay,
'Broider'd the ground."

—"Paradise Lost," iv. 700.


He lies protected,

"Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By angels many and strong, who interpos'd
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd
From off the files of war; there they him laid,
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame."

"Paradise Lost," vi. 335, seq.


The brazen dome. See the note on Bk. viii. Page 142.


For, by the gods! who flies. Observe the bold ellipsis of "he cries," and the transition from the direct to the oblique construction. So in Milton:—

"Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole.—Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day."

Milton, "Paradise Lost," Book iv.


So some tall rock.

"But like a rock unmov'd, a rock that braves
The raging tempest, and the rising waves—
Propp'd on himself he stands: his solid sides
Wash off the sea-weeds, and the sounding tides."

Dryden's Virgil, vii. 809.


Protesilaus was the first Greek who fell, slain by Hector, as he leaped from the vessel to the Trojan shore. He was buried on the Chersonese, near the city of Plagusa. Hygin Fab. ciii. Tzetz. on Lycophr. 245, 528. There is a most elegant tribute to his memory in the Preface to the Heroica of Philostratus.


His best beloved. The following elegant remarks of Thirlwall (Greece, vol. i, p. 176 seq.) well illustrate the character of the friendship subsisting between these two heroes—

"One of the noblest and most amiable sides of the Greek character, is the readiness with which it lent itself to construct intimate and durable friendships, and this is a feature no less prominent in the earliest than in later times. It was indeed connected with the comparatively low estimation in which female society was held; but the devotedness and constancy with which these attachments were maintained, was not the less admirable and engaging. The heroic companions whom we find celebrated partly by Homer and partly in traditions which, if not of equal antiquity, were grounded on the same feeling, seem to have but one heart and soul, with scarcely a wish or object apart, and only to live as they are always ready to die for one another. It is true that the relation between them is not always one of perfect equality; but this is a circumstance which, while it often adds a peculiar charm to the poetical description, detracts little from the dignity of the idea which it presents. Such were the friendships of Hercules and Iolaus, of Theseus and Pirithous, of Orestes and Pylades; and though These may owe the greater part of their fame to the later epic or even dramatic poetry, the moral groundwork undoubtedly subsisted in the period to which the traditions are referred. The argument of the Iliad mainly turns on the affection of Achilles for Patroclus, whose love for the greater hero is only tempered by reverence for his higher birth and his unequalled prowess. But the mutual regard which united Idomeneus and Meriones, Diomedes and Sthenelus, though, as the persons themselves are less important, it is kept more in the back-ground, is manifestly viewed by the poet in the same light. The idea of a Greek hero seems not to have been thought complete, without such a brother in arms by his side."—Thirlwall, Greece, vol. i. p. 176, seq.

"As hungry wolves with raging appetite,
Scour through the fields, ne'er fear the stormy night—
Their whelps at home expect the promised food,
And long to temper their dry chaps in blood—
So rush'd we forth at once."

—Dryden's Virgil, ii. 479.


The destinies ordain.—"In the mythology, also, of the Iliad, purely Pagan as it is, we discover one important truth unconsciously involved, which was almost entirely lost from view amidst the nearly equal scepticism and credulity of subsequent ages. Zeus or Jupiter is popularly to be taken as omnipotent. No distinct empire is assigned to fate or fortune; the will of the father of gods and men is absolute and uncontrollable. This seems to be the true character of the Homeric deity, and it is very necessary that the student of Greek literature should bear it constantly in mind. A strong instance in the Iliad itself to illustrate this position, is the passage where Jupiter laments to Juno the approaching death of Sarpedon. 'Alas me!' says he 'since it is fated (moira) that Sarpedon, dearest to me of men, should be slain by Patroclus, the son of Menoetius! Indeed, my heart is divided within me while I ruminate it in my mind, whether having snatched him up from out of the lamentable battle, I should not at once place him alive in the fertile land of his own Lycia, or whether I should now destroy him by the hands of the son of Menoetius!' To which Juno answers—'Dost thou mean to rescue from death a mortal man, long since destined by fate (palai pepromenon)? You may do it—but we, the rest of the gods, do not sanction it.' Here it is clear from both speakers, that although Sarpedon is said to be fated to die, Jupiter might still, if he pleased, save him, and place him entirely out of the reach of any such event, and further, in the alternative, that Jupiter himself would destroy him by the hands of another."—Coleridge, p. 156. seq.


Thrice at the battlements. "The art military of the Homeric age is upon a level with the state of navigation just described, personal prowess decided every thing; the night attack and the ambuscade, although much esteemed, were never upon a large scale. The chiefs fight in advance, and enact almost as much as the knights of romance. The siege of Troy was as little like a modern siege as a captain in the guards is like Achilles. There is no mention of a ditch or any other line or work round the town, and the wall itself was accessible without a ladder. It was probably a vast mound of earth with a declivity outwards. Patroclus thrice mounts it in armour. The Trojans are in no respects blockaded, and receive assistance from their allies to the very end."—Coleridge, p. 212.


Ciconians.—A people of Thrace, near the Hebrus.


They wept.

"Fast by the manger stands the inactive steed,
And, sunk in sorrow, hangs his languid head;
He stands, and careless of his golden grain,
Weeps his associates and his master slain."

Merrick's Tryphiodorus, v. 18-24.

"Nothing is heard upon the mountains now,
But pensive herds that for their master low,
Straggling and comfortless about they rove,
Unmindful of their pasture and their love."

Moschus, id. 3, parodied, ibid.

"To close the pomp, Æthon, the steed of state,
Is led, the funeral of his lord to wait.
Stripp'd of his trappings, with a sullen pace
He walks, and the big tears run rolling down his face."

Dryden's Virgil, bk. ii


Some brawny bull.

"Like to a bull, that with impetuous spring
Darts, at the moment when the fatal blow
Hath struck him, but unable to proceed
Plunges on either side."

—Carey's Dante: Hell, c. xii.


This is connected with the earlier part of last book, the regular narrative being interrupted by the message of Antilochus and the lamentations of Achilles.


Far in the deep. So Oceanus hears the lamentations of Prometheus, in the play of Æschylus, and comes from the depths of the sea to comfort him.


Opuntia, a city of Locris.


Quintus Calaber, lib. v., has attempted to rival Homer in his description of the shield of the same hero. A few extracts from Mr. Dyce's version (Select Translations, p. 104, seq.) may here be introduced.

"In the wide circle of the shield were seen
Refulgent images of various forms,
The work of Vulcan; who had there described
The heaven, the ether, and the earth and sea,
The winds, the clouds, the moon, the sun, apart
In different stations; and you there might view
The stars that gem the still-revolving heaven,
And, under them, the vast expanse of air,
In which, with outstretch'd wings, the long-beak'd bird
Winnow'd the gale, as if instinct with life.
Around the shield the waves of ocean flow'd,
The realms of Tethys, which unnumber'd streams,
In azure mazes rolling o'er the earth,
Seem'd to augment."

On seats of stone. "Several of the old northern Sagas represent the old men assembled for the purpose of judging as sitting on great stones, in a circle called the Urtheilsring or gerichtsring"— Grote, ii. p. 100, note. On the independence of the judicial office in The heroic times, see Thirlwall's Greece, vol. i. p. 166.


Another part, &c.

"And here
Were horrid wars depicted; grimly pale
Were heroes lying with their slaughter'd steeds
Upon the ground incarnadin'd with blood.
Stern stalked Bellona, smear'd with reeking gore,
Through charging ranks; beside her Rout was seen,
And Terror, Discord to the fatal strife
Inciting men, and Furies breathing flames:
Nor absent were the Fates, and the tall shape
Of ghastly Death, round whom did Battles throng,
Their limbs distilling plenteous blood and sweat;
And Gorgons, whose long locks were twisting snakes.
That shot their forky tongues incessant forth.
Such were the horrors of dire war."

—Dyce's Calaber.


A field deep furrowed.

"Here was a corn field; reapers in a row,
Each with a sharp-tooth'd sickle in his hand,
Work'd busily, and, as the harvest fell,
Others were ready still to bind the sheaves:
Yoked to a wain that bore the corn away
The steers were moving; sturdy bullocks here
The plough were drawing, and the furrow'd glebe
Was black behind them, while with goading wand
The active youths impell'd them. Here a feast
Was graved: to the shrill pipe and ringing lyre
A band of blooming virgins led the dance.
As if endued with life."

—Dyce's Calaber.


Coleridge (Greek Classic Poets, p. 182, seq.) has diligently compared this with the description of the shield of Hercules by Hesiod. He remarks that, "with two or three exceptions, the imagery differs in little more than the names and arrangements; and the difference of arrangement in the Shield of Hercules is altogether for the worse. The natural consecution of the Homeric images needs no exposition: it constitutes in itself one of the beauties of the work. The Hesiodic images are huddled together without connection or congruity: Mars and Pallas are awkwardly introduced among the Centaurs and Lapithae;— but the gap is wide indeed between them and Apollo with the Muses, waking the echoes of Olympus to celestial harmonies; whence however, we are hurried back to Perseus, the Gorgons, and other images of war, over an arm of the sea, in which the sporting dolphins, the fugitive fishes, and the fisherman on the shore with his casting net, are minutely represented. As to the Hesiodic images themselves, the leading remark is, that they catch at beauty by ornament, and at sublimity by exaggeration; and upon the untenable supposition of the genuineness of this poem, there is this curious peculiarity, that, in the description of scenes of rustic peace, the superiority of Homer is decisive—while in those of war and tumult it may be thought, perhaps, that the Hesiodic poet has more than once the advantage."


"This legend is one of the most pregnant and characteristic in the Grecian Mythology; it explains, according to the religious ideas familiar to the old epic poets, both the distinguishing attributes and the endless toil and endurances of Heracles, the most renowned subjugator of all the semi-divine personages worshipped by the Hellenes,—a being of irresistible force, and especially beloved by Zeus, yet condemned constantly to labour for others and to obey the commands of a worthless and cowardly persecutor. His recompense is reserved to the close of his career, when his afflicting trials are brought to a close: he is then admitted to the godhead, and receives in marriage Hebe."—Grote, vol. i. p. 128.



"The blue-eyed maid,
In ev'ry breast new vigour to infuse.
Brings nectar temper'd with ambrosial dews."

Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 249.


"Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them." Job xxvi. 6-8.

"Swift from his throne the infernal monarch ran,
All pale and trembling, lest the race of man,
Slain by Jove's wrath, and led by Hermes' rod,
Should fill (a countless throng!) his dark abode."

Merrick's Tryphiodorus, vi. 769, sqq.