Part 11 out of 17
young men, he excited and at the same time confirmed the innate
notions. This he called his Art of Midwifery, which did not (as
others professed) extrinsically confer intelligence upon his
auditors; but demonstrated it to be innate, yet imperfect and
confused, and in want of a nurse to feed and fortify it.
WHY DOES HE CALL THE SUPREME GOD FATHER AND MAKER OF ALL THINGS?
(Plato, "Timaeus," p. 28 C.)
Is it because he is (as Homer calls him) of created gods and men
the Father, and of brutes and things that have no soul the maker?
If Chrysippus may be believed, he is not properly styled the father
of the afterbirth who supplied the seed, although it arose from the
seed. Or has Plato figuratively called the maker of the world the
father of it? In his Convivium he calls Phaedrus the father of the
amatorious discourse which he had commenced; and so in his Phaedrus
("Phaedrus," p. 261 A.) he calls him "father of noble children,"
when he had been the occasion of many pre-eminent discourses about
philosophical questions. Or is there any difference between a
father and a maker? Or between procreation and making? For as
what is procreated is also made, but not the contrary recreated did
also make, for the procreation of an animal is the making of it.
Now the work of a maker--as of a builder, a weaver, a musical-
instrument maker, or a statuary--is altogether apart and separate
from its author; but the principle and power of the procreator is
implanted in the progeny, and contains his nature, the progeny
being a piece pulled off the procreator. Since therefore the world
is neither like a piece of potter's work nor joiner's work, but
there is a great share of life and divinity in it, which God from
himself communicated to and mixed with matter, God may properly be
called Father of the world--since it has life in it--and also the
maker of it.
And since these things come very near to Plato's opinion, consider,
I pray, whether there may not be some probability in them.
Whereas the world consists of two parts, body and soul, God indeed
made not the body; but matter being at hand, he formed and fitted
it, binding up and confirming what was infinite within proper
limits and figures. But the soul, partaking of mind, reason, and
harmony, was not only the work of God, but part of him not only
made by him, but begot by him.
In the Republic, ("Republic," vi. pp. 509 D-511 E.) he assumes the universe, as one line to be cut into two unequal parts; again he cuts each of these parts in two after the same manner, and supposes the two sections first made to form the two genera of things sensible and things intelligible. The first stands for the genus of intelligibles, comprehending in the first subdivision the primitive forms, in the second the mathematics. Of sensibles, the first subdivision comprehends solid bodies, the second comprehends the images and representations of them. Moreover, to every one of these four he has assigned its proper criterion;--to the first reason; to the mathematics, the understanding; to sensibles, belief; to images and likenesses, conjecture.
BUT WHAT DOES HE MEAN BY DIVIDING THE UNIVERSE INTO UNEQUAL PARTS?
AND WHICH OF THE SECTIONS, THE INTELLIGIBLE OR THE SENSIBLE, IS
THE GREATER? FOR IN THIS HE HAS NOT EXPLAINED HIMSELF.
At first glance it will appear that the sensible is the greater
portion. For the essence of intelligibles being indivisible, and
in the same respect ever the same, is contracted into a little, and
pure; but an essence divisible and running through bodies
constitutes the sensible part. Now what is immaterial is limited;
but body in respect of matter is infinite and unlimited, and it
becomes sensible only when it is limited by partaking of the
intelligible. Besides, as every sensible has many images, shadows,
and representations, and from one and the same original several
copies may be taken both by nature and art; so the latter must
surpass the former in number, according to Plato, who makes things
of the intellect to be patterns or ideas of things sensible, as if
the last were images and reflections. Further, Plato derives the
knowledge of ideas by abstraction and cutting away of body, leading
us by mathematical discipline from arithmetic to geometry, thence
to astronomy, and placing harmony above them all. For things
become geometrical by the accession of magnitude to quantity;
solid, by the accession of profundity to magnitude; astronomical,
by the accession of motion to solidity; harmonical, by the
accession of sound to motion. Take then sound from moving bodies,
motion from solids, profundity from superficies, magnitude from
quantity, we then reach pure intelligible ideas, which have no
difference among themselves as regards the one single intelligible
essence. For unity makes no number unless joined by the infinite
binary; then it makes a number. And thence we proceed to points,
thence to lines, from them to superficies, and solids, and bodies,
and to the qualities of the bodies so and so affected. Now the
reason is the only criterion of intelligibles; and the
understanding is the reason in the mathematics, where intelligibles
appear as if in mirrors. But as to the knowledge of bodies,
because of their multitude, Nature has given us five powers or
distinctions of senses; nor are all bodies discerned by them, many
escaping sense by reason of their smallness. And though every one
of us consists of a body and soul, yet the hegemonic and
intellectual faculty is small, being hid in the huge mass of flesh.
And the case is the same in the universe, as to sensible and
intelligible. For intelligibles are the principles of bodily
things, but everything is greater than the principle whence
Yet, on the contrary, some will say that, by comparing sensibles
with intelligibles, we match things mortal with divine, in some
measure; for God is in intelligibles. Besides, the thing contained
is ever less than the containing, and the nature of the universe
contains the sensible in the intelligible. For God, having placed
the soul in the middle, hath extended it through all, and hath
covered it all round with bodies. The soul is invisible, and
cannot be perceived by any of the senses, as Plato says in his Book
of Laws; therefore every man must die, but the world shall never
die. For mortality and dissolution surround every one of our vital
faculties. The case is quite otherwise in the world; for the
corporeal part, contained in the middle by the more noble and
unalterable principle, is ever preserved. And a body is said to be
without parts and indivisible for its minuteness; but what is
incorporeal and intelligible is so, as being simple and sincere,
and void of all firmness and difference. Besides, it were folly to
think to judge of incorporeal things by corporeal. The present, or
now, is said to be without parts and indivisible, since it is
everywhere and no part of the world is void of it. But all
affections and actions, and all corruptions and generations in the
world, are contained by this same now. But the mind is judge only
of what is intelligible, as the sight is of light, by reason of its
simplicity and similitude. But bodies, having several differences
and diversities, are comprehended, some by one judicatory function,
others by another, as by several organs. Yet they do not well who
despise the discriminative faculty in us; for being great, it
comprehends all sensibles, and attains to things divine. The chief
thing he himself teaches in his Banquet, where he shows us how we
should use amatorious matters, turning our minds from sensible
goods to things discernible only by the mind, that we ought not to
be enslaved by the beauty of any body, study, or learning, but
laying aside such weakness, should turn to the vast ocean of
beauty. (See Plato's "Symposium," p. 210 D.)
WHAT IS THE REASON THAT, THOUGH PLATO ALWAYS SAYS THAT THE SOUL IS
ANCIENTER THAN THE BODY, AND THAT IT IS THE CAUSE AND PRINCIPLE OF
ITS RISE, YET HE LIKEWISE SAYS, THAT NEITHER COULD THE SOUL EXIST
WITHOUT THE BODY, NOR THE REASON WITHOUT THE SOUL, BUT THE SOUL IN
THE BODY AND THE REASON IN THE SOUL? FOR 80 THE BODY WILL SEEM TO
BE AND NOT TO BE, BECAUSE IT BOTH EXISTS WITH THE SOUL, AND IS
BEGOT BY THE SOUL.
Perhaps what we have often said is true; viz., that the soul
without reason and the body without form did mutually ever coexist,
and neither of them had generation or beginning. But after the
soul did partake of reason and harmony, and being through consent
made wise, it wrought a change in matter, and being stronger than
the other's motions, it drew and converted these motions to itself.
So the body of the world drew its original from the soul, and
became conformable and like to it. For the soul did not make the
nature of the body out of itself, or out of nothing; but it wrought
an orderly and pliable body out of one disorderly and formless.
Just as if a man should say that the virtue of the seed is with the
body, and yet that the body of the fig-tree or olive-tree was made
of the seed, he would not be much out; for the body, its innate
motion and mutation proceeding from the seed, grew up and became
what it is. So, when formless and indefinite matter was once
formed by the inbeing soul, it received such a form
WHY, SINCE BODIES AND FIGURES ARE CONTAINED PARTLY BY RECTILINEARS
AND PARTLY BY CIRCLES, DOES HE MAKE ISOSCELES TRIANGLES AND
TRIANGLES OF UNEQUAL SIDES THE PRINCIPLES OF RECTILINEARS; OF WHICH
THE ISOSCELES TRIANGLE CONSTITUTES THE CUBE, THE ELEMENT OF THE
EARTH; AND A SCALENE TRIANGLE FORMS THE PYRAMID, THE OCTAHEDRON THE
SEED OF FIRE, AIR AND WATER RESPECTIVELY, AND THE ICOSAHEDRON;--
WHILE HE PASSES OVER CIRCULARS, THOUGH HE DOES MENTION THE GLOBE,
WHERE HE SAYS THAT EACH OF THE AFORE-RECKONED FIGURES DIVIDES A
ROUND BODY THAT CIRCUMSCRIBES IT INTO EQUAL PARTS. (See "Timaeus,"
Is their opinion true who think that he ascribed a dodecahedron to
the globe, when he says that God made use of it in delineating the
universe? For upon account of the multitude of its bases and the
obtuseness of its angles, avoiding all rectitude, it is flexible,
and by circumtension, like globes made of twelve skins, it becomes
circular and comprehensive. For it has twenty solid angles, each
of which is contained by three obtuse planes, and each of these
contains one and the fifth part of a right angle. Now it is made
up of twelve equilateral and equangular quinquangles (or
pentagons), each of which consists of thirty of the first scalene
triangles. Therefore it seems to resemble both the Zodiac and the
year, it being divided into the same number of parts as these.
Or is a right line in Nature prior to circumference; or is
circumference but an accident of rectilinear? For a right line is
said to bend; and a circle is described by a centre and distance,
which is the place of a right line from which a circumference is
measured, this being everywhere equally distant from the middle.
And a cone and a cylinder are made by rectilinears; a cone by
keeping one side of a triangle fixed and carrying another round
with the base,--a cylinder, by doing the like with a parallelogram.
Further, that is nearest to principle which is less; but a right is
the least of all lines, as it is simple; whereas in a circumference
one part is convex without, another concave within.
Besides, numbers are before figures, as unity is before a point,
which is unity in position. But indeed unity is triangular; for
every triangular number (Triangular numbers are those of which
equilateral triangles can be formed in this way:
. . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Such are: 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, etc.; that is, numbers
formed by adding the digits in regular order. (G.)) taken eight
times, by adding unity, becomes quadrate; and this happens to
unity. Therefore a triangle is before a circle, whence a right
line is before a circumference. Besides, no element is divided
into things compounded of itself; indeed there is a dissolution of
all other things into the elements. Now a triangle is divided into
no circumference, but two diameters cut a circle into four
triangles; therefore a rectilinear figure is before a circular, and
has more of the nature of an element. And Plato himself shows that
a rectilinear is in the first place, and a circular is only
consequential and accidental. For when he says the earth consists
of cubes, each of which is contained with rectilinear superficies,
he says the earth is spherical and round. Therefore there was no
need of making a peculiar element for round things, since
rectilinears, fitted after a certain manner among themselves, do
make up this figure.
Besides, a right line, whether great or little, preserves the same
rectitude; but as to the circumference of a circle, the less it is,
the crookeder it is; the larger, the straighter. Therefore if a
convex surface stands on a plane, it sometimes touches the under
plane in a point, sometimes in a line. So that a man may imagine
that a circumference is made up of little right lines.
But observe whether this be not true, that no circle or sphere in
this world is exactly drawn; but since by the tension and
circumtension of the straight lines, or by the minuteness of the
parts, the difference is hidden, the figure seems circular and
round. Therefore no corruptible body moves circularly, but
altogether in a right line. To be truly spherical is not in a
sensible body, but is the element of the soul and mind, to which he
has given circular motion, as being agreeable to their nature.
HOW COMES IT TO PASS THAT IN PHAEDRUS IT IS SAID, THAT THE NATURE
OF A WING, BY WHICH ANYTHING THAT IS HEAVY IS CARRIED UPWARDS,
PARTICIPATES MOST OF THE BODY OF GOD? (See "Phaedrus," p. 246 D.)
Is it because the discourse is of love, and love is of beauty
inherent in a body? Now beauty, by similitude to things divine,
moves and reminds the soul. Or it may be (without too much
curiosity) he may be understood in plain meaning, to wit, that the
several faculties of the soul being employed about bodies, the
power of reasoning and understanding partakes most about divine and
heavenly things; which he did not improperly call a wing, it
raising the soul from mean and mortal things to things above.
IN WHAT SENSE DOES PLATO SAY, THAT THE ANTIPERISTASIS (OR REACTION)
OF MOTION--BY REASON THERE IS NO VACUUM--IS THE CAUSE OF THE
PHENOMENA IN PHYSICIANS' CUPPING-GLASSES, IN SWALLOWING, IN CASTING
WEIGHTS, IN THE RUNNING OF WATER, IN THUNDER, IN THE ATTRACTION OF
THE LOADSTONE, AND IN THE HARMONY OF SOUNDS? (See "Timaeus,"
For it seems unreasonable to ascribe the reason of such different
effects to the selfsame cause.
How respiration is made by the reaction of the air, he has
sufficiently shown. But the others, he says, seem to be effected
miraculously, but really the bodies force each other aside and
change places with one another; while he has left for us to
discover how each is particularly done.
As to cupping-glasses, the case is thus: the air next to the flesh
being comprehended and inflamed by the heat, and being made more
rare than the pores of the brass, does not go into a vacuum (for
there is no such thing), but into the air that is without the
cupping-glass, and has an impulse upon it. This air drives that
before it; and each, as it gives way, strives to succeed into the
place which was vacuated by the cession of the first. And so the
air approaching the flesh comprehended by the cupping-glass, and
attracting it, draws the humors into the cupping-glass.
Swallowing takes place in the same way. For the cavities about the
mouth and stomach are full of air; when therefore the meat is
squeezed down by the tongue and tonsils, the elided air follows
what gives way, and also forces down the meat.
Weights also thrown cleave the air and dissipate it, as they fall
with force; the air recoiling back, according to its proper
tendency to rush in and fill the vacuum, follows the impulse, and
accelerates the motion.
The fall also of thunderbolts is like to darting anything. For by
the blow in the cloud, the fiery matter exploded breaks into the
air; and it being broken gives way, and again being contracted
above, by main force it presses the thunderbolt downwards contrary
And neither amber nor the loadstone draws anything to it which is
near, nor does anything spontaneously approach them. But this
stone emits strong exhalations, by which the surrounding air being
impelled forceth that which is before it; and this being drawn
round in the circle, and returning into the vacuated place,
forcibly draws the iron in the same movement. In amber there is a
flammeous and spirituous nature, and this by rubbing on the surface
is emitted by recluse passages, and does the same that the
loadstone does. It also draws the lightest and driest of adjacent
bodies, by reason of their tenuity and weakness; for it is not so
strong nor so endued with weight and strength as to force much air
and to act with violence and to have power over great bodies, as
the magnet has. But what is the reason the air never draws a
stone, nor wood, but iron only, to the loadstone? This is a common
question both by those who think the coition of these bodies is
made by the attraction of the loadstone, and by such as think it
done by the incitement of the iron. Iron is neither so rare as
wood, nor altogether so solid as gold or a stone; but has certain
pores and asperities, which as far as inequality is concerned are
proportionable to the air; and the air being received in certain
positions, and having (as it were) certain stays to hang to, does
not slip off; but when it is carried up to the stone and is forced
against it, it draws the iron by force along with it to the stone.
Such then may be the reason of this.
But the manner of the waters running over the earth is not so
evident. But it is observable that the waters of lakes and ponds
stand immovable, because the air about them stagnates immovable and
admits of no vacuity. For the water on the surface of lakes and
seas is troubled and fluctuates as the air is moved, it following
the motion of the air, and moving as it is moved. For the force
from below causes the hollowness of the wave, and from above the
swelling thereof; until the air ambient and containing the water is
still. Therefore the flux of such waters as follow the motion of
the receding air, and are impelled by that which presses behind, is
continued without end. And this is the reason that the stream
increases with the waters, and is slow where the water is weak, the
air not giving way, and therefore enduring less reaction. So the
water of fountains must needs go upwards, the extrinsic air
succeeding into the vacuity and throwing the water out. In a close
house, that keeps in the air and wind, the floor sprinkled with
water causes an air or wind, because, as the sprinkled water falls,
the air gives way. For it is so provided by Nature that air and
water force one another and give way to one another; because there
is no vacuity in which one can be fixed without experiencing the
change and alteration in the other.
Concerning symphony, he shows how sounds harmonize. A quick sound
is acute, a slow is grave. Therefore acute sounds move the senses
the quicker; and these dying and grave sounds supervening, what
arises from the contemperation of one with the other causes
pleasure to the ear, which we call harmony. And by what has been
said, it may easily be understood that air is the instrument of
these things. For sound is the stroke upon the sense of the
hearer, caused by the air; and the air strikes as it is struck by
the thing moving,--if violent, acutely,--if languid, softly.
The violent stroke comes quick to the ear; then the circumambient
air receiving a slower, it affects and carries the sense along
WHAT MEANS TIMAEUS (See "Timaeus," p. 42 D.) WHEN HE SAYS THAT
SOULS ARE DISPERSED INTO THE EARTH, THE MOON, AND INTO OTHER
INSTRUMENTS OF TIME?
Does the earth move like the sun, moon, and five planets, which for
their motions he calls organs or instruments of time? Or is the
earth fixed to the axis of the universe; yet not so built as to
remain immovable, but to turn and wheel about, as Aristarchus and
Seleucus have shown since; Aristarchus only supposing it, Seleucus
positively asserting it? Theophrastus writes how that Plato, when
he grew old, repented him that he had placed the earth in the
middle of the universe, which was not its place.
Or is this contradictory to Plato's opinion elsewhere, and in the
Greek instead of [Greek omitted] should it be written [Greek
omitted], taking the dative case instead of the genitive, so that
the stars will not be said to be instruments, but the bodies of
animals? So Aristotle has defined the soul to be "the
actualization of a natural organic body, having the power of
life." The sense then must be this, that souls are dispersed into
meet organical bodies in time. But this is far besides his
opinion. For it is not once, but several times, that he calls the
stars instruments of time; as when he says, the sun was made, as
well as other planets, for the distinction and conservation of the
numbers of time.
It is therefore most proper to understand the earth to be here an
instrument of time; not that the earth is moved, as the stars are;
but that, they being carried about it, it standing still makes
sunset and sunrising, by which the first measures of time, nights
and days, are circumscribed. Wherefore he called it the infallible
guard and artificer of night and day. For the gnomons of dials are
instruments and measures of time, not in being moved with the
shadows, but in standing still; they being like the earth in
closing out the light of the sun when it is down,--as Empedocles
says that the earth makes night by intercepting light.
This therefore may be Plato's meaning.
And so much the rather might we consider whether the sun is not
absurdly and without probability said to be made for the
distinction of time, with the moon and the rest of the planets.
For as in other respects the dignity of the sun is great; so by
Plato in his Republic (Plato, "Republic." vi. pp. 508, 509.) the
sun is called the king and lord of the whole sensible nature, as
the Chief Good is of the intelligible. For it is said to be the
offspring of Good, it supplying both generation and appearance to
things visible; as it is from Good that things intelligible both
are and are understood. But that this God, having such a nature
and so great power, should be only an instrument of time, and a
sure measure of the difference that happens among the eight orbs,
as they are slow or swift in motion, seems neither decent nor
highly rational. It must therefore be said to such as are startled
at these things, that it is their ignorance to think that time is
the measure of motion in respect of sooner or later, as Aristotle
calls it; or quantity in motion, as Speusippus; or an interval of
motion and nothing else, as some of the Stoics define it, by an
accident, not comprehending its essence and power, which Pindar has
not ineptly expressed in these words: Time, who surpasses all in
the seats of the blest. Pythagoras also, when he was asked what
time was, answered, it was the soul of the universe. For time is
no affection or accident of motion, but the cause, power, and
principle of that symmetry and order that confines all created
beings, by which the animated nature of the universe is moved.
Or rather, this order and symmetry itself--so far as it is motion
--is called time. For this,
Walking by still and silent ways,
Mortal things with justice leads.
(Euripides, "Troades," 887.)
According to the ancients, the principle of the soul is a number
moving itself. Therefore Plato says that time and heaven were
coexistent, but that motion was before heaven had being. But time
was not. For then there neither was order, nor measure, nor
determination; but indefinite motion, as it were, the formless and
rude matter of time. ... But when matter was informed with
figures, and motion with circuitions, from that came the world,
from this time. Both are representations of God; the world, of his
essence; time, of his eternity in the sphere of motion, as the
world is God in creation. Therefore they say heaven and motion,
being bred together, will perish together, if ever they do perish.
For nothing is generated without time, nor is anything intelligible
without eternity; if this is to endure forever, and that never to
die when once bred. Time, therefore, having a necessary connection
and affinity with heaven, cannot be called simple motion, but (as
it were) motion in order having terms and periods; whereof since
the sun is prefect and overseer, to determine, moderate, produce,
and observe changes and seasons, which (according to Heraclitus)
produce all things, he is coadjutor to the governing and chief
God, not in trivial things, but in the greatest and most
Since Plato in his Commonwealth, discoursing of the faculties of
the soul, has very well compared the symphony of reason and of the
irascible and the concupiscent faculties to the harmony of the
middle, lowest, and highest chord, (See "Republic," iv. p. 443.)
some men may properly inquire:--
DID PLATO PLACE THE RATIONAL OR THE IRASCIBLE FACULTY IN THE
MIDDLE? FOR HE IS NOT CLEAR IN THE POINT.
Indeed, according to the natural system of the parts, the place of
the irascible faculty must be in the middle, and of the rational in
the highest, which the Greeks call hypate. For they of old called
the chief and supreme [Greek omitted]. So Xenocrates calls Jove,
in respect of immutable things, [Greek omitted] (or HIGHEST), in
respect of sublunary things [Greek omitted] (or LOWEST). And long
before him, Homer calls the chief God [Greek omitted], HIGHEST OF
RULERS. And Nature has of due given the highest place to what is
most excellent, having placed reason as a steersman in the head,
and the appetitive faculty at a distance, last of all and lowest.
And the lowest place they call [Greek omitted], as the names of the
dead, [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted], do show. And some say,
that the south wind, inasmuch as it blows from a low and obscure
place, is called [Greek omitted]. Now since the appetitive faculty
stands in the same opposition to reason in which the lowest stands
to the highest and the last to the first, it is not possible for
the reason to be uppermost and first, and yet for any other part to
be the one called [Greek omitted] (or HIGHEST). For they that
ascribe the power of the middle to it, as the ruling power, are
ignorant how they deprive it of a higher power, namely, of the
highest, which is compatible neither to the irascible nor to the
concupiscent faculty; since it is the nature of them both to be
governed by and obsequious to reason, and the nature of neither of
them to govern and lead it. And the most natural place of the
irascible faculty seems to be in the middle of the other two.
For it is the nature of reason to govern, and of the irascible
faculty both to govern and be governed, since it is obsequious to
reason, and commands the appetitive faculty when this is
disobedient to reason. And as in letters the semi-vowels are
middling between mutes and vowels, having something more than those
and less than these; so in the soul of man, the irascible faculty
is not purely passive, but hath often an imagination of good mixed
with the irrational appetite of revenge. Plato himself, after he
had compared the soul to a pair of horses and a charioteer, likened
(as every one knows) the rational faculty to the charioteer, and
the concupiscent to one of the horses, which was resty and
unmanageable altogether, bristly about the ears, deaf and
disobedient both to whip and spur; and the irascible he makes for
the most part very obsequious to the bridle of reason, and
assistant to it. As therefore in a chariot, the middling one in
virtue and power is not the charioteer, but that one of the horses
which is worse than his guider and yet better than his fellow;
so in the soul, Plato gives the middle place not to the principal
part, but to that faculty which has less of reason than the
principal part and more than the third. This order also keeps the
analogy of the symphonies, i.e. the proportion of the irascible to
the rational (which is placed as hypate) making the diatessaron (or
fourth), that of the irascible to the concupiscent (or nete) making
the diapente (or fifth), and that of the rational to the
concupiscent (as hypate to nete) making an octave or diapason.
But should you place the rational in the middle, you would make the
irascible farther from the concupiscent; though some of the
philosophers have taken the irascible and the concupiscent faculty
for the selfsame, by reason of their likeness.
But it may be ridiculous to describe the first, middle, and last by
their place; since we see hypate highest in the harp, lowest in the
pipe; and wheresoever you place the mese in the harp, provided it
is tunable, it sounds more acute than hypate, and more grave than
nete. Nor does the eye possess the same place in all animals;
but whereever it is placed, it is natural for it to see. So a
pedagogue, though he goes not foremost but follows behind, is said
to lead ([Greek omitted]), as the general of the Trojan army,
Now in the front, now in the rear was seen,
And kept command;
("Iliad," xi. 64.)
but wherever he was, he was first and chief in power. So the
faculties of the soul are not to be ranged by mere force in order
of place or name, but according to their power and analogy.
For that in the body of man reason is in the highest place, is
accidental. But it holds the chief and highest power, as mese to
hypate, in respect of the concupiscent; as mese to nete, in respect
of the irascible; insomuch as it depresses and heightens,--and in
fine makes a harmony,--by abating what is too much and by not
suffering them to flatten and grow dull. For what is moderate and
symmetrous is defined by mediocrity. Still more is it the end of
the rational faculty to bring the passions to moderation, which is
called sacred, as making a harmony of the extremes with reason, and
through reason with each other. For in chariots the best of the
team is not in the middle; nor is the skill of driving to be placed
as an extreme, but it is a mean between the inequality of the
swiftness and the slowness of the horses. So the force of reason
takes up the passions irrationally moved, and reducing them to
measure, constitutes a mean betwixt too much and too little.
WHY SAID PLATO, THAT SPEECH WAS COMPOSED OF NOUNS AND VERBS? (Plato's "Sophist," p. 262 A.)
For he seems to make no other parts of speech but them. But Homer
in a playful humor has comprehended them all in one verse:--
[Greek omitted] ("Iliad", i. 185.)
For in it there is pronoun, participle, noun, preposition,
article, conjunction, adverb, and verb, the particle--[Greek
omitted] being put instead of the preposition [Greek omitted];
for [Greek omitted], TO THE TENT, is said in the same sense as
[Greek omitted], TO ATHENS. What then shall we say for Plato?
Is it that at first the ancients called that [Greek omitted], or
speech, which once was called protasis and now is called axiom or
proposition,--which as soon as a man speaks, he speaks either true
or false? This consists of a noun and verb, which logicians call
the subject and predicate. For when we hear this said, "Socrates
philosphizeth" or "Socrates is changed," requiring nothing more, we
say the one is true, the other false. For very likely in the
beginning men wanted speech and articulate voice, to enable them to
express clearly at once the passions and the patients, the actions
and the agents. Now, since actions and affections are adequately
expressed by verbs, and they that act and are affected by nouns, as
he says, these seem to signify. And one may say, the rest signify
not. For instance, the groans and shrieks of stage players, and
even their smiles and silence, make their discourse more emphatic.
But they have no absolute power to signify anything, as a noun and
verb have, but only an ascititious power to vary speech; just as
they vary letters who mark spirits and quantities upon letters,
these being the accidents and differences of letters. This the
ancients have made manifest, whom sixteen letters sufficed to speak
and write anything.
Besides, we must not fail to observe, that Plato says that speech is composed OF these, not BY these; nor must we find fault with Plato for omitting conjunctions, prepositions, and the rest, any more than we should criticise a man who should say such a medicine is composed of wax and galbanum, because fire and utensils are omitted, without which it cannot be produced. For speech is not composed of these; yet by their means, and not without them, speech must be composed. As, if a man says BEATS or IS BEATEN, and adds Socrates and Pythagoras to the same, he gives us something to conceive and understand. But if a man pronounce INDEED or FOR or ABOUT and no more, none can conceive any notion of a body or matter; and unless such words as these be uttered with verbs and nouns, they are but empty noise and chattering. For neither alone nor joined one with another do they signify anything. And join and confound together conjunctions, articles, and prepositions, supposing you would make something of them; yet you will be taken to babble, and not to speak sense. But when there is a verb in construction with a noun, the result is speech and sense.
Therefore some do with justice make only these two parts of speech; and perhaps Homer is willing to declare himself of this mind, when he says so often,
For by [Greek omitted] he usually means a verb, as in these verses.
[Greek omitted] ("Odyssey," xxiii. 183; viii. 408.)
For neither conjunction, article, nor preposition could be said to
be [Greek omitted] (TERRIBLE) or [Greek omitted] (SOUL GRIEVING),
but only a verb signifying a base action or a foolish passion of
the mind. Therefore, when we would praise or dispraise poets or
writers, we are wont to say, such a man uses Attic nouns and good
verbs, or else common nouns and verbs; but none can say that
Thucydides or Euripides used Attic or common articles.
What then? May some say, do the rest of the parts conduce nothing
to speech? I answer, They conduce, as salt does to victuals;
or water to barley cakes. And Euenus calls fire the best sauce.
Though sometimes there is neither occasion for fire to boil, nor
for salt to season our food, which we have always occasion for.
Nor has speech always occasion for articles. I think I may say
this of the Latin tongue, which is now the universal language;
for it has taken away all prepositions, saving a few, nor does it
use any articles, but its nouns are (as it were) without skirts and
borders. Nor is it any wonder, since Homer, who in fineness of
epic surpasses all men, has put articles only to a few nouns, like
handles to cans, or crests to helmets. Therefore these verses are
remarkable wherein the articles are suppressed.--
[Greek omitted] ("Iliad," xiv. 459.)
[Greek omitted] (Ibid. xx. 147.)
and some few besides. But in a thousand others, the omission of
the articles hinders neither perspicuity nor elegance of phrase.
Now neither an animal nor an instrument nor arms nor anything else
is more fine, efficacious, or pleasanter, for the loss of a part.
Yet speech, by taking away conjunctions, often becomes more
persuasive, as here:--
One rear'd a dagger at a captive's breast;
One held a living foe, that freshly bled
With new-made wounds, another dragg'd a dead.
(Ibid. xviii. 536.)
And this of Demosthenes:--
"A bully in an assault may do much which his victim cannot even
report to another person,--by his attitude, his look, his voice,--
when he insults, when he attacks as an enemy, when he smites with
his fist, when he strikes a blow on the face. These rouse a man;
these make a man beside himself who is unused to such foul abuse."
"Not so with Midias; but from the very day, he talks, he abuses, he
shouts. Is there an election of magistrates? Midias the
Anagyrrasian is nominated. He is the advocate of Plutarchus;
he knows state secrets; the city cannot contain him."
("Demosthenes against Midias," p. 537,25, and p. 578, 29.)
Therefore the figure asyndeton, whereby conjunctions are omitted,
is highly commended by writers of rhetoric. But such as keep
overstrict to the law, and (according to custom) omit not a
conjunction, rhetoricians blame for using a dull, flat, tedious
style, without any variety in it. And inasmuch as logicians
mightily want conjunctions for the joining together their axioms,
as much as charioteers want yokes, and Ulysses wanted withs to tie
Cyclop's sheep; this shows they are not parts of speech, but a
conjunctive instrument thereof, as the word conjunction imports.
Nor do conjunctions join all, but only such as are not spoken
simply; unless you will make a cord part of the burthen, glue a
part of a book, or distribution of money part of the government.
For Demades says, that money which is given to the people out of
the exchequer for public shows is the glue of a democracy.
Now what conjunction does so of several propositions make one, by
fitting and joining them together, as marble joins iron that is
incited with it in the fire? Yet the marble neither is nor is said
to be part of the iron; although in this case the substances
compose the mixture and are melted together, so as to make a common
substance from several and to be mutually affected. But there be
some who think that conjunctions do not make anything one, but that
this kind of speech is merely an enumeration, as when magistrates
or days are reckoned in order.
Moreover, as to the other parts of speech, a pronoun is manifestly
a sort of noun; not only because it has cases, but because some
pronouns, when they are used of objects already defined, by their
mere utterance give the most distinct designation of them. Nor do
I know whether he that says SOCRATES or he that says THIS ONE does
more by name declare the person.
The thing we call a participle, being a mixture of a verb and noun
is nothing of itself, as are not the common names of male and
female qualities (i.e, adjectives), but in construction it is put
with others, in regard of tenses belonging to verbs, in regard of
cases to nouns. Logicians call them [Greek omitted], (i.e.,
REFLECTED),--as [Greek omitted], comes from [Greek omitted], and
from [Greek omitted],--having the force both of nouns and
And prepositions are like to the crests of a helmet, or footstools
and pedestals, which (one may rather say) do belong to words than
are words themselves. See whether they rather be not pieces and
scraps of words, as they that are in haste write but dashes and
points for letters. For it is plain that [Greek omitted] and
[Greek omitted] are abbreviations of the whole words [Greek
omitted] and [Greek omitted]. As undoubtedly for haste and
brevity's sake, instead of [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted] men
first said [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted].
Therefore every one of these is of some use in speech; but nothing
is a part or element of speech (as has been said) except a noun and
a verb, which make the first juncture allowing of truth or
falsehood, which some call a proposition or protasis, others an
axiom, and which Plato called speech.
END OF ELEVEN-----------
THE LIFE AND POETRY OF HOMER
(Homeric quotations are almost all taken from Lord Derby's "Iliad"
and Butcher and Long's "Odyssey." The first is indicated by the
letter I, the second by O.)
Homer, who was in time first among most poets and by his power
first of all poets, we justly read first, thereby gaining the
greatest advantages for our language, for our intellect, and for
practical knowledge. Let us speak of his poetry, first having
shortly recalled his origin.
Homer, Pindar says, was a Chian and of Smyrnae; Simonides says a
Chian; Antimachus and Nicander, a Colophonion; but the philosopher
Aristotle says he was of Iete; the historian Ephorus says he was
from Kyme. Some do not hesitate to say he was from Salamis in
Cyprus; some, an Argive. Aristarchus and Dionysius the Thracian
say that he was an Athenian. By some he is spoken of as the son of
Maeon and Kritheus; by others, (a son) of the river-god Meles.
Just as there is a difficulty about his origin, so there is about
the time in which he flourished. Aristarchus says he lived about
the period of the Ionian emigration; this happened sixty years
after the return of the Heraclidae. But the affair of the
Heraclidae took place eighty years after the destruction of Troy.
Crates reports that he lived before the return of the Heraclidae,
so he was not altogether eighty years distant from the Trojan War.
But by very many it is believed that he was born one hundred years
after the Trojan War, not much before the foundation of the Olympic
games, from which the time according to the Olympics is reckoned.
There are two poems of his, the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," both, of
which are arranged according to the number of letters in the
alphabet, not by the poet himself, but by Aristarchus, the
grammarian. Of these, the "Iliad" records the deeds of the Greeks
and Barbarians in Ilium on account of the rape of Helen, and
particularly the valor displayed in the war by Achilles. In the
"Odyssey" are described the return of Ulysses home after the Trojan
War, and his experiences in his wanderings, and how he took
vengeance on those who plotted against his house. From this it is
evident that Homer sets before us, through the "Iliad," bodily
courage; in the "Odyssey," nobility of soul.
But the poet is not to be blamed because in his poetry he sets
forth not only the virtues but the evils of the soul, its sadness
and its joys, its fears and desires; for being a poet, it is
necessary for him to imitate not only good but evil characters.
For without these the deeds would not get the admiration of the
hearer, who must pick out the better characters. And he has made
the gods associating with men not only for the sake of interest and
entertainment, but that he might declare by this that the gods care
for and do not neglect men.
To sum up, an extraordinary and mythical narration of events is
employed in order to stir his readers with wonder and to make his
hearers strongly impressed. Whence he seems to have said some
things contrary to what is likely. For the persuasive always
follows where the remarkable and elevated are previously conjoined.
Therefore he not only elevates actions, and turns them from their
customary course, but words as well. That he always handles novel
things and things out of the common sphere, and leads on his
hearers, is evident to every one. And indeed in these fabulous
narratives, if one reads not unattentively but carefully each
element of what is said, Homer appears to have been at home in the
whole sphere and art of logic, and to have supplied many
incentives, and as it were seeds of all kinds of thought and action
to his posterity, not to poets alone, but to the authors of
historical and scientific works. Let us first look at his varied
form of speech, and afterward at his sound knowledge on matters of
fact. All poetry grips the hearer by definite order of coordinated
expressions, by rhythm and metre, since the smooth and flowing, by
becoming at the same time grave and sweet, forces the attention by
its action on the senses. Whence it comes to pass also that it
delights not only by the striking and attractive parts, but easily
persuades by the parts tending to virtue.
The poems of Homer have the most perfect metre, the hexameter,
which is also called heroic. It is called hexameter because each
line has six feet: one of these is of two long syllables, called
spondee; the other, of three syllables, one long and two short,
which is called dactyl. Both are isochronic. These in
interchangeable order fill out the hexameter verse. It is called
heroic because in it the deeds of the heroes are recounted.
He makes use of a sound diction, combining the characteristics of
every Greek dialect, from which it is plain that he travelled over
the whole of Greece and among every people in it. He uses the
ellipse of the Dorians, due to their practice of shortening their
speech, saying for [Greek omitted], as (O. i. 392): "Immediately a
beautiful horse ([Greek omitted]) was his," and for [Greek omitted]
he uses [Greek omitted], as (O. xix. 543): "Because ([Greek
omitted]) an eagle killed my geese"; and for [Greek omitted],
"back," [Greek omitted], changing the o into a, the [Greek letter
omitted] and the [Greek letter omitted] into its related letter.
And [Greek omitted] he changes to [Greek omitted](I. xiv. 249):
"For before at another time ([Greek omitted]) your precepts made me
modest," and similar cases. Likewise, dropping the middle
syllable, he says for [Greek omitted], "of like hair," and [Greek
omitted], "of the same years," [Greek omitted]; and for [Greek
omitted], that is, "of the same father," [Greek omitted];
for [Greek omitted]; "to tremble," [Greek omitted] for [Greek
omitted], "I honour," [Greek omitted]. It is a characteristic of
the Dorians also to transpose letters, as when they say for [Greek
omitted], [Greek omitted].
In composite words he makes use of the syncope of the Aeolians,
saying [Greek omitted] instead of [Greek omitted], "they went to
sleep," and [Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted], "to subject."
Then when the third person of the imperfect among other Greek
peoples ends in the diphthong [Greek letter], the Eolians end in
[Greek letter], as when they say for [Greek omitted], "he was
loving," [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], "he was
thinking," [Greek omitted]. This custom Homer followed, saying (I.
xi. 105): "He bound ([Greek omitted]) in tender twigs," instead of
[Greek omitted], and (O. v. 478): "Which neither any humid power of
the wind penetrates" [Greek omitted]. Besides this they change
[Greek letter] into [Greek letter], as they say [Greek omitted] for
[Greek omitted], "odor," and [Greek Omitted] for [Greek omitted],
Besides, they use pleonasm in some expressions, as when they put
for [Greek omitted], "calm," [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted] for
[Greek omitted], "but," [Greek omitted] got [Greek omitted],
"having cried." And when to the second person of verbs they add
[Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted] "thou speakest," [Greek
omitted], and for [Greek omitted], "thou hast spoken," [Greek
omitted]. Some attribute the doubling of the consonant to the
Dorians, some to the Aeolians. Such as we find in I. v. 83:
"Black death laid hold on [Greek omitted] him," [Greek omitted];
for [Greek omitted] as I. iii. 321): "Each did these deeds."
He preserves the peculiarity of the Ionians for the preterite
tenses of verbs the aphaeresis, as where he says [Greek omitted]
for [Greek omitted]. So in past tenses they are want to begin with
the same letter as in present tenses and to leave off the [Greek
letter] in the word [Greek omitted], "priest" and [Greek omitted],
"hawk." Besides, they add [Greek letter] to the third persons of
the subjunctive mood, as when they say for [Greek omitted] "may
have come," [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted], "may have
taken," [Greek omitted]. This participle they add to the dative,
[Greek omitted], "to the gates," "to the woods." Besides, they say
[Greek omitted] for "name", and [Greek omitted] for [Greek
omitted], "disease" and [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted],
"empty," and [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], "black."
And then they change long [Greek letter] into [Greek letter],
as[Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted], "Juno," and for [Greek
omitted], Minerva. And sometimes they change [Greek letter] into
[Greek letter], saying for [Greek omitted], "having forgotten."
Moreover, they write in full by diaeresis words which are
circumflexed, for [Greek omitted], "intelligent," [Greek omitted].
In the same way they lengthen genitive singulars in [Greek
omitted], as [Greek omitted], and genitive feminines in [Greek
omitted], as [Greek omitted], "of gates," [Greek omitted], "of
nymphs," and finally regular plurals of nouns in the neuter gender
ending in [Greek letter] as [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted],
"breasts," "darts," and their genitives likewise. They say in
their way [Greek omitted] for [Greek omitted].
But he most largely used the Attic dialect for it was combined with
others. For just as in Attic they say [Greek omitted] for [Greek
omitted], "people," so he did, as [Greek omitted] and [Greek
omitted], "debt." It is a custom with them sometimes to use
contractions and to put one syllable for two, as for [Greek
omitted], "word," [Greek omitted], and for [Greek omitted],
"clothes," [Greek omitted]. Related to these is that Homeric
expression, "the Trojans in crowds bent over" [Greek omitted], and
another case, "fields bearing the lotos" [Greek omitted], instead
of [Greek omitted]. Besides they take [Greek letter] from that
type of optative, saying for [Greek omitted], "it might seem good
to thee," [Greek omitted], for [Greek omitted], "mightiest thou be
honored," [Greek omitted]. There is also an Atticism [Greek
omitted] for [Greek omitted] in his verse (I. iii. 102):--
But you others discerned most quickly.
Likewise this, too, is Attic, "the more were worse [Greek omitted],
the few better [Greek omitted], than their fathers;" we say [Greek
omitted] or [Greek omitted]. And they do not prolong these by
diaeresis, [Greek omitted], as "oxen [Greek omitted] falling down,"
and, "fishes [Greek omitted] and birds." And that, too, is said in
the Attic fashion (O. xii. 331):--
Nor flowing do they break ([Greek omitted] for
[Greek omitted]) by their violence.
In the same way as [Greek omitted], [Greek omitted].
And the taking away short vowels is Attic: [Greek omitted], "he is
washed," [Greek omitted], "I think," [Greek omitted]; in the same
way for [Greek omitted], "he is loosed," he says [Greek omitted].
The Attics say [Greek omitted], adding an unnecessary [Greek
letter], whence also comes [Greek omitted], "he was pouring out
wine." They contract the iota in words of this sort, as for [Greek
omitted], "shores," [Greek omitted], "shores," and for [Greek
omitted], [Greek omitted]. So also (I. xi. 782):--
You two [Greek omitted] wished it very much.
Finally in datives ending in pure iota with a penultimate of alpha
the same is done, as [Greek omitted], "horn," [Greek omitted], "old
age," [Greek omitted], "ray." And this, too, is Attic, where it is
said [Greek omitted], "let them be," and [Greek omitted], "let them
follow," for [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted]. The use of the
dual which Homer repeatedly employs is of the same type. Also with
feminine substantives he joins masculine articles, participles, and
adjectives, as [Greek omitted]. This is a practice with Plato, as
when he uses [Greek omitted] "pillaging," and [Greek omitted], "the
wise just woman." So, too, Homer (I. viii. 455), speaking of Here
and Athene, says:--
In vain smitten [Greek omitted] with a thunderbolt on
and (I. iv. 22):--
Athene was indeed unwilling [Greek omitted],--
and (I. ii. 742):--
Famous [Greek omitted] Hippodamea.
Moreover the dialects have many peculiarities of construction.
When the poet says (I. iv. 100):--
But seek with your javelins of divine Menelaos,--
instead of the accusative, he presents an Attic usage. But when he
says (I. ii. 186):--
He took for him the sceptre and he took the cup for
instead of "from him" and "from Themis," he is employing a
Accordingly it appears how he makes his diction varied by throwing
together words of all the Greek dialects, and sometimes he makes
use of foreign words as are the aforesaid, sometimes archaic words,
as when he says [Greek omitted], "falchion," and [Greek omitted],
"sword," sometimes common and ordinary words, as when he says
[Greek omitted], sword and shield"; one might wonder how well
common words in his poetry preserve dignity of speech.
But an artificially wrought style cultivates variation from the
customary, by which it becomes clever, more dignified, and
altogether more attractive. The turn of expression is called a
Trope, and change of construction is called a Schema. The forms of
these are described in technical treatises. Let us examine if any
of these is omitted by Homer or whether anything else was
discovered by his successors which he himself did not use first.
Among Tropes, Onomatopoeia is very common. For he knew the early
origin of words. The first who gave names to things called many of
them from what had taken place, and therefore introduced
inarticulate sounds into writing. As when they said [Greek
omitted], "to blow," [Greek omitted], "to cut," [Greek omitted], to
woo," [Greek omitted], "to thunder," and others like these.
Whence he himself created certain words not previously existing,
copying the things they signified, as [Greek omitted], "sound," and
other things also indicating sounds, [Greek omitted], and others of
the same kind. None could be found more significant. And again
where some words pertaining to certain things he attributes to
others, as when he says (I. xxi. 337):--
Bearing an evil fire,--
which signifies its power in burning, and "fever" he uses for
"fire." Like these is the expression (I. xix. 25):--
Brass striking wounds,--
he writes to express wounds inflicted by brass. And to sum up he uses much novelty of speech, with great freedom, changing some from their customary use, giving distinction to others for the sake of infusing in his language beauty and grandeur.
He has also much fertility in epithets; these being fitted to their
objects properly and naturally have the force of proper names, as
when he gives to the several gods each some proper designation, so
he calls Zeus the "all-wise and high thundering," and the Sun,
Hyperion, "advancing aloft," and Apollo, Phoebus, that is, shining.
But after the Onomatopoeia let us examine other Tropes.
Catechresis, which changes a word from a customary signification to
another not recognized. This is to be found in the poet when he
says golden chain [Greek omitted], but [Greek omitted] properly
means a rope, and when he says a goat helmet [Greek omitted]; now a
helmet is [Greek omitted] in Homer, because it used to be made of
dog's skin, not of goat's skin.
Metaphor, so-called because it transfers a thing from its proper
significance to another with an analogous likeness to both, occurs
in many and varied forms in verse, as is the line (0. ix. 481):--
He comes, having broken off the crown of a great mountain,--
and (O. x. 195):
An island which the sea laves and crowns.
For the relation a crown has to him whom it encircles, the same the
sea has to an island. By making use of related but not usual words
he makes his speech not only more beautiful but more picturesque.
There are in Homer various kinds of metaphors; some applied from
animate things to animate, as, "the driver of the caerulean ship
spoke" instead of the sailor, and "he went to Agamemnon the son of
Atreus, the shepherd of the people" instead of king. Some are
applied from animate to inanimate, as (I. ii. 824):--
Under the extreme foot of Ida,--
that is, the rising ground. Also (I. ix. 141):--
The breast of the field,--
that is, the fertility. Others, on the contrary, from inanimate
to animate, as (I. xxiv. 205):--
The iron breast.
From inanimate to animate, as (O. v. 490):--
Preserving the seed of fire,--
instead of the generating origin. Then he has metaphors of verbs
as well as substantives (I. xvii. 265):--
As the shores bellow with the smiting salt and gale,--
instead of "resound."
Another Trope which is called Metalepsis, signifying a different
thing by a synonym (O. xv. 299):--
I beached the ship in the sharp islands,--
for he wishes to signify islands properly called jagged.
Both words in Greek are synonyms. For in Greek sharp not only
signifies swiftness of motion, but also in a figure that which
rises into a slender shape. Such is the quotation (O. ix. 327):--
accompanied him and sharpened my pace.
Another Trope is named Synecdoche, called from this reason;
that from what is properly meant, another of the like kind is
understood. This Trope has also many varieties. For either we
perceive the part from the whole, as (I. xii. 137):--
They advanced straight to the walls the burning bulls,--
for he wishes to indicate by the appellation "bulls" the leather
out of which shields are wont to be made. Or from a part the whole
(O. i. 343):--
I long for such a head,--
for from the head he signifies the man. And when for beautiful he
says "endowed with beautiful cheeks," and for well armed he says
"well greaved." Or from one the many, as when he speaks of Odysseus (O. i. 2):--
When he wasted the sacred citadel of Troy.
Not he by himself took Troy, but along with the rest of the Greeks.
From the many one, as (I. iii. 397), "happy breasts," i.e. breast.
From the species the genus, as (I. xii. 380):--
Casting on the hard marble,--
for marble is a species of rock. From the genus the species
(O. ii. 159).--
To know the birds and to say many fitting things.
He wishes to say not all birds, but only the birds of auspices.
From the instruments the action, as (I. ii. 827):--
Pandorus to whom he gave the bow of Apollo.
By the bow he indicates the skill in using it.
And (O. xii. 172):--
Sitting they made the water white,--
and (O. iii. 486):--
Now others moved the whole day the thong of their sandal.
This comes from an accidental feature; in the first case "they
were rowing," in the next "they were running," is to be implied.
Besides there is the consequent to the precedent, as
(O. xi. 245):--
She loosed the virgin zone.
It follows that she defiled it. From the consequent the precedent,
as when instead of saying "to kill" he says "to disarm," that is,
There is another Trope called Metonymy, i.e. when an expression
applied properly to one thing indicates another related to it,
such as (I. ii. 426):--
But the young men proceed to grind Demeter,--
for he means the crop of grain named from its inventor, Demeter.
And when he says (O. xix. 28):--
They held the transfixed entrails over Hephaestus.
By the name Hephaestus he signifies fire. Like what has previously
been mentioned is this (I. i. 223).--
Whoever shall touch my choenix,--
for what is contained in the choenix is intended.
There is besides another Trope, Autonomasia, when an epithet or
co-title is used for a proper name, as in this example
(I. viii. 39):--
The son of Peleus again attacked the son of Atreus
with petulant words.
By this he indicates Achilles and Agamemnon respectively. And again
(I. xxii. 183):--
Be of good cheer, Tritonia, dear daughter,--
and in other places (I. xx. 39):--
In the one case he means Athene and in the other Apollo.
There is, too, Antiphrasis, or an expression signifying the
opposite from what it appears to do (I. i. 330):--
Seeing these Achilles did not rejoice.
He wishes to say the contrary, that seeing them he was disgusted.
There is also Emphasis, which through reflection adds vigor to
what is said (O. xi. 523):--
But descending into the home which Epeus constructed.
In the word "descending" he reveals the great size of the house.
Of the same kind is the line (I. xvi. 333):--
The whole sand was hot with blood,--
for in this he furnishes a more intense description, as if the sand
was so bathed with blood that it was hot. These kind of Tropes
were invented by Homer first of all.
Let us look at the changes of construction which are called figures
to see if Homer also first invented these. Figure is a method of
expression divergent from ordinary custom for the sake of ornament
or utility, altered by a kind of fiction. For beauty is added to
narrative by variety and change of expression, and these make the
style more impressive. They are also useful because they exalt and
intensify innate qualities and powers.
Among the figures Pleonasm is sometimes used for the sake of the
metre; as in (I. xix. 247):--
Odysseus adding all ten talents of gold,--
for the word "all" is added without contributing to the sense.
It is done for the sake of ornament, cf. (I. xviii. 12).--
Certainly the strenuous son of Menoetius is quite dead,--
for the word "quite" is pleonastic after the Attic fashion.
Sometimes by several forms of speech he unfolds his meaning.
This is called Periphrasis. As when he says "Sons of the
Achaeans" for Achaeans, and the "Herculean might" for Hercules.
Things are said figuratively by Mutation when the ordinary order
is inverted. But he puts in an expression in the midst which is
called Hyperbaton, as in this (I. xvii. 542):--
Just as a lion feeds on an eaten bull,--
instead of saying the lion eats up the bull. And so he passes the
limits of the sentence (I. ii. 333):--
He said, and loudly cheered the Greeks--and loud
From all the hollow ships came back the cheers--
In admiration of Ulysses' speech.
The order is the Argives applauded with a great shout the speech of
Of the same kind is the figure called Parembole, or interposition,
when something outside having nothing to do with the subject is
introduced. If it is removed, the construction is not affected
I. i. 234):--
By this I say and with an oath confirm
By this my royal staff, which never more
Shall put forth leaf nor spray, since first it left
Upon the mountain side its parent stem
Nor blossom more; since all around the axe
Hath lopped both leaf and bark--...
and the rest as much as he has said about the sceptre, then joining
what follows with the beginning (I. i. 340):--
The time shall come when all the sons of Greece
Shall mourn Achilles' loss.
He uses also Palillogia--that is the repetition of some part of a
sentence, or several parts are repeated. This figure is called
Reduplication, such as (I. xx. 371):--
Encounter him well! Though his hands were hands of fire,
Of fire, his hands, his strength as burnished steel.
Sometimes certain insertions are made and they are repeated, as in
(O. i. 22):--
Howbeit Poseidon had now departed for the distant Ethiopians,
the Ethiopians that are sundered in twain, the uttermost
This is a figure revealing the feeling of the speaker and at the
same time affecting the hearer.
Of the same kind is Relation; when at the commencement of several
members of a sentence the same part is repeated. An example of
this from the poet is (I. ii. 671):--
Nireus three well-trimmed ships from Syme brought.
Nireus to Charops whom Aglaia bore.
Nireus the goodliest man of all the Greeks.
This figure is likewise adapted to excite the emotions and give
sweetness to the expression.
He has also Regression. This is when one puts forward two names
of objects. When the sense is not yet complete, the poet returns
to both of the names, completing what is lacking in the sense, as
(I. v. 518).--
Followed the thronging bands of Troy, by Mars and fierce
Bellona led: she by the hand wild uproar held; while Mars
a giant spear brandished aloft.
The characteristic of this figure is variety and perspicuity.
He has also the figure called Homoioteleuton in which the parts of
the sentence have endings similar in sound and have the same
syllables at the end (O. xv. 74):--
Men should love a guest while he is with them, and send
him on his way when he would depart,--
and in the following (O. vi. 42):--
And she departed to Olympus, where they say is the seat of the gods
that standeth fast forever. Not by the wind is it shaken nor ever
wet with rain nor doth the snow come nigh thereto, but most clear
air is spread about it cloudless and the white light floats
When periods or their members end in nouns which are of the same
declension this is properly called Homoioptolon, as the following
(I. ii. 87):--
As swarms of bees, that pour in ceaseless stream
From out the crevice of some hollow rock.
The above and others like them add grace and attractiveness to
As a proof of his care in composition we often see he employs two
figures in the same verses, as Epanaphora and Homoioteleuton
(I. ii. 382):--
Each sharpen well his spear, his shield prepare
Each to his fiery steeds their forage give.
Belonging to these is the figure called Parison, which is formed
out of two or more numbers having an equal number of words
(I. vii. 93): -
Shamed to refuse, but fearful to accept.--
and again (I. xvi. 282):--
Had cast away difference, had resumed friendship,--
That this figure gives much ornament of style is very clear.
The like grace comes from Paranomasia, when besides the name in
question another similar one is added at a slight interval
(I. vi. 130):--
Not long did Dryas' son, Lycurgus brave,--
and in another (I. ii. 758):--
Swift-footed Protheus led.
But the above examples are arranged either by Pleonasm or by some
such like artifice. But there is another due to absence of a word.
Of these there is what is called Ellipse, when some word being
omitted the sense is plain from what has gone before, as in the
following (I. ix. 328):--
Twelve cities have I taken with my ships,
Eleven more by land on Trojan soil,--
where the words "have I taken" are wanting in last line, but are
supplied from the preceding one. This is said to be by Ellipse
(I. xii. 243):--
One bird best to defend the fatherland,--
where the word "is" is lacking. And (I. xx. 293):--
Alas I the grief to me of great-hearted Aeneas,--
when the words "is present," "comes," or something of the kind,
There are many kinds of Ellipses in Homer; the effect of the figure
Of this sort is Asyndeton when the conjunctions uniting sentences
are removed. This is done not only for the sake of celerity, but
also of the sake of emotional emphasis. Such as is the following
(O. x. 251):--
We went on our way, noble Odysseus, up through the coppice
even as thou didst command; we found within the forest glades
the fair halls builded of polished stone of Circe.
In these the conjunction is dropped since the speaker seeks the
quickest method of expressing his message. There is among the
figures what is called the Incongruous or the Variation. It is
used when the ordinary arrangement is made different. And the
variety is due either to impressing grace and elegance to the
words; the ordinary movements not seeming to be followed, but the
alteration has an arrangement of its own.
It often takes place when the genders of nouns are changed as
[Greek omitted] instead of [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted].
It was not unusual for the ancients, and especially among the
people of Attica, to use masculine for feminine as superior and
more vigorous. Nor did they do this without rhyme and reason, but
when they made use of a word, as an epithet apart from the body
which was spoken of. For the words concerned with the body are
"great, beautiful," those not connected with it, "glorious,
fortunate." Besides, they are ambiguous on account of their
composition. For in general all compound things are common to
either gender. And wherever a verb or participle is used with a
masculine and feminine noun, the masculine prevails (I. vi. 567):--
The virgins and the youths minding childish things,--
where the participle is masculine.
Certain things, owing to the peculiarity of the dialect or the
custom of that time, are said differently, [Greek omitted] feminine
instead of [Greek omitted] (O. i. 53):--
And himself upholds the tall pillars which keep earth
and sky asunder.
Often as the narrative proceeds he changes the genders, as in
(O, xv. 125):--
I give to you the gift, my dear son.
Son is a neuter substantive to which the adjective agrees; the poet
refers it to the person. Of the same kind is that which is said by
Dione to Venus (I. v. 382):--
Have patience, dearest child; though much enforced.
Analogous to it is that (O. xi. 90):--
Anon came the soul of Theban Teiresias, with a golden sceptre
in his hand,--
for he made the participle [Greek omitted] agree not with the
gender of soul [Greek omitted], but the gender of the body, that
is, Teiresias. For often he looks not to the word but to the
sense, as in this passage (I. xvi. 280):--
In all their spirit stirred, and the phalanxes moved hoping
for the idle son of Peleus from the ships,--
for the participle [Greek omitted] does not agree with the word
"phalanxes," but with the men composing them.
In another way he changes genders, as when he says (O. xii. 75):--
And a dark cloud encompasses it; this never streams away,--
since [Greek omitted] and [Greek omitted], "cloud," are synonyms,
using first [Greek omitted] he afterward makes his adjectives
agree with [Greek omitted] understood. Like this are these verses
(I. ii. 459):--
As various tribes of winged fowl or geese
Or cranes or long necked swans
Besides Coysters stream, now here, now there,
Disporting, ply their wings.
For having first set down generically the kinds of birds, which are
neuter, then after speaking of the species in the masculine he
comes back again to the neuter--settling down with a noise giving
the proper agreement to the general word of the species.
The poet often changes the number as well as the gender
(I. xv. 305):--
The crowd approach the ships of the Achaeans.
First comes a singular then a plural verb, plainly looking to the
sense, for although the word "crowd" is called singular, yet it
embraces many individuals.
Like it in the opposite way is when the plural precedes the
singular follows (I. xvi. 264):--
They having a martial heart each one rushes on.
The word [Greek omitted] is singular, being applied to a multitude
has the same effect as all ([Greek omitted]). The same kind of
figure is the following (O. iii. 4):--
And they reached Pylas, the stablished castle of Neleus, and
the people were doing sacrifice on the seashore.
The people of Pylas are meant.
He has changes of cases, the nominative and the vocative being
interchanged in the following verse (I. ii. 107):--
To Agamemnon last Thyestis left it,--
and (I. i. 411):--
and (0. xvii. 415):--
Friend [Greek omitted] give me for thou dost not seem to me
to be the worst of the Greeks.
The genitive and dative are changed in the next example
(I. iii. 16):--
Godlike Paris fights in front for the Trojans,--
instead of "in front of." And the contrary in the next
(O. v. 68):--
There about the hollow cave trailed a gadding vine.
Where in the original the Greek word "cave" is in the genitive
case, not as it should be, dative. And the cause of the mutation
is that the nominative accusative and vocative seem to have a
certain relation to one another. On which account nouns of the
neuter gender and many masculine and feminine ones have these three
cases alike. Likewise the genitive has a certain affinity with the
dative. This is found in the dual number of all words. Hence the
cases are changed contrary to what is usual. Sometimes it is
possible to discover the reason for the change, as in the
expression (I. v. 222):--
Understanding of the field,--
and (I. ii. 785):--
They crossed the field,--
just as if he had used the preposition "through."
A fine example of change of case is found in the beginning of both
Sing, O Muse, the vengeance, etc., whence to Greece unnumbered
Tell me, Muse, of that man, of many a shift and many the woes
Sometimes after the genitive he brings in the nominative, as in
this (I. i. 272):--
Of others who are now mortal.
He arranges many things in figures in various ways, as the
following passage (I. ii. 350):--
For well I ween, that on the day when first
We Grecians hitherward our course address'd
To Troy the messengers of blood and death
Th' o'erruling son of Saturn, on our right
His lightning flashing, with auspicious sign
Assur'd us of his favor.
And the following is not unlike it (I. vi. 510):--
His bright arms flashing like the gorgeous sun
Hasten'd with boastful mien and rapid step.
And these things, according to the ancient fashion, he exalts not
unreasonably. If any one changes the participles into verbs, he
will discover the sequence, for the word "lightning" has the same
value as "when it was lightning," and "relying" "since he relied."
Like these cases are the following (O. xii. 73):--
There are two crags, one reaches the broad sky,
and (I. vii. 306):--
They parted: Ajax to the Grecian camp
And Hector to the ranks of Troy returned.
And others of the same kind. For it is reasonable when one is
about to speak of two individuals to put first what is common to
the two, keeping the nominative in both cases. It is plain that
this common use displays much grace. Sometimes employing a common
case he signifies only one, as in the following (I. iii. 211):--
Both sat down, Ulysses was the higher in honor.
The form of words he often changes, sometimes putting the
comparative instead of the absolute (I. i. 32):--
That you may return a more sane being.
Sometimes the superlative for the positive, as (I. xi. 832);--
Most just of Centaurs.
Such is the change in nouns. But in verbs there is a change in
moods, as when the infinitive is used for the imperative, as
(I. v. 124):--
Go fearless onward, Diomed, to meet the Trojan darts,--
where the imperative "meet" might be expected.
Or the, indicative in place of the optative, as (I. ii. 488):--
The crowd I shall not relate nor name,--
where one would expect "I could not relate nor name." And, on the
contrary, the optative for the indicative, as (I. v. 388):--
Mars would then be lost,--
for "was lost."
There is a variation of tenses when the present is used for the
future (I. l. 29)--
Her I release not till her youth be fled,--
instead of "shall flee." Or for the imperfect (O. vi. 86):--
Where truly were the unfailing cisterns, and bright water
wells up free from beneath,--
instead of "welled up." And the future for the present
(O. i. 24):--
Abiding some, where Hyperion will sink; and some, where
Or in place of the past (O. v. 300):--
I fear that indeed the goddess may spake all things truly.
And the voices are often changed. Instead of the active, the
passive and middle are often used, as (I. i. 194):--
A great sword is drawn from its sheath,--
instead of "he drew." And (I. xiii. 4):--
His keen glance turning to view,--
instead of "seeing."
And, on the other hand, the active instead of the passive:--
I shall give a tripod with a golden handle,--
instead of "shall be given."
It can be seen how he changes numbers, putting the plural for the
singular as often happens in common speech when one speaks of
himself as if of several, as in the following (O. i. 10):--
Of these things, goddess daughter of Zeus, from whatsoever
source thou wilt declare even to us,--
instead of "to me."
We find with him a change of persons of one sort, as (I. v. 877):--
The other gods, who in Olympus dwell,
Are to thee obedient and we are submissive.
For since there are many gods, among whom is the person speaking,
both classes are well indicated by saying, "they are obedient" and
"we are submissive." In another way leaving the person who is
spoken of, he changes from one to another. This is called
specifically Apostrophe, and affects us by its emotional character
and stimulates the hearer, as in the following stanza
(I. xv. 346):--
While loudly Hector to the Trojans called
To assail the ships and leave the bloody spoils
Whom I elsewhere and from the ships aloof
changing from the narrative to direct discourse. In the narration
itself he often uses Apostrophe (I. xx. 2.):
Round thee eager for the fray stood the sons of Greece.
But he makes use of direct narrative and change of persons, as in
the following passage (I. ii. 337):--
Like children, Grecian warriors, ye debate
Like babes to whom unknown are feats of arms.
Atrides thou, as is thy wont, maintain
Unchang'd thy counsel; for the stubborn fight
Array the Greeks.
There is another kind of this Apostrophe (I. ii. 344):--
Thou wouldst not know to whom Tydides may join himself,--
instead of "no one can know."
And again (O. ix. 210):--
And a marvellous sweet smell went up from the mixing bowl:
then truly it was no pleasure to refrain.
58. He uses participles in the place of verbs, as in these words
(I. viii. 306):--
Weighed down in a garden by this fruit,--
instead of "it is weighed," and (O. xiii. 113):--
Thither they as having knowledge of that place drive
instead of "before they knew."
And articles he often changes, setting demonstrative instead of
relatives (I. xvi. 150):--
Whom Podarge, swift of foot, to Zephyr bore,--
and the contrary (I. xvii. 460):--
And breastplate: for his own his faithful friend hath lost.
So he was wont to change prepositions (I. i. 424):--
Yesterday he went through the banquet,--
instead of "to the banquet."
And (I. i. 10):--
And he stirred up an evil plague through the army.
Likewise he joins with a preposition a noun improperly, as in the
verse (I. x. 101):--
Lest perchance they wish to decide the contest in the night,--
where the preposition is followed by, the accusative, not the
genitive. And as to other prepositions, some he changes, some he
omits (I. ii. 696):--
Of whom he lies lamenting,--
instead of "concerning whom."
And (O. xxiii. 91):--
Expecting whether he would bespeak him,--
instead of "speak to him." And other prepositions he in the same
fashion changes or leaves out. And adverbs he changes, using
indifferently motion towards, rest in, and motion from a place
(I. xx. 151):--
His grandchildren were setting down from elsewhere,--
instead of "elsewhere" (I. vii. 219):--
And Ajax came from near,--
instead of "near."
Finally he has changes of conjunctions, as (O. i. 433):--
He never lay with her and he shunned the wrath of his lady,--
instead of "for he shunned," etc. And these are the figures of
speech which not only all poets but the writers of prose
But significance is given by him in many ways. One of which is
Proanaphonesis, which is used when any one in the midst of a narration uses an order proper to other things, as in the following line (O. xxi, 98):--
He was to be the first that should taste the arrow,--
and Epiphonesis (I. xvii. 32):--
After the event may e'en a fool be wise.
The use of Prosopopoiia is frequent and varied with him. For he
introduces many different people speaking together, to whom he
attributes various characteristics. Sometimes he re-creates
characters no longer living, as when he says (I. vii. 125):--
What grief would fill the aged Pellus's soul.
There is, too, Diatyposis, which is the working out of things
coming into being or actually existent or that have come to pass,
brought in to make what is said clearer, as in the following
(I. ix. 593):--
The slaughtered men, the city burnt with fire,
The helpless children and deep-bosomed dames.
Or, to produce pity (I. xxii. 60):--
Look, too, on me with pity: me on whom
E'en on the threshold of mine age, hath Jove
A bitter burthen cast, condemned to see
My sons struck down, my daughters dragged away
In servile bonds: our chamber's sanctity
Invaded; and our babes by hostile hands
Dashed to the ground.
There is also to he found in him Irony, i.e. an expression
revealing the opposite of what is said with a certain ethical
artifice; as in the speech of Achilles (I. ix. 391):--
Let him choose among the Greeks a fitter King.
For he hints that he would not find one of more royal temper.
And this is the same Trope used when one speaks about himself in
extenuation and gives a judgment contrary to one's own. There is
another form when any one pretends to praise another and really
censures him. As the verse in Homer, put in the mouth of
Telemachus (O. xvii. 397):--
Antinous--verily thou hast good care of me, as it were a
father for his son.
For he says to an enemy that he cares as a father for his son, and,
again, when any one by way of jest extolls his neighbor, as the
suitors (O. ii. 325):--
In my truth Telemachus planneth our destruction. He will
bring a rescue either from sandy Pylos, or it may be from
Sparta, so terribly is he set on slaying us.
Sarcasm is a species of Irony used when any one jibes at another
with a pretence of smiling. As Achilles, in the following passage
(I. ix. 335):--
He meted out
Their several portions, and they hold them still.
From me, from me alone of all the Greeks,
He bore away and keeps my cherished wife.
Well! let him keep her, solace of his bed.
Like this in kind is Allegory, which exhibits one thing by another,
as in the following (O. xxii. 195):--
Now in good truth Melanthiusi shalt thou watch all night,
lying on, a soft bed as beseems thee.
For being in chains and hanging, he says he can rest on a soft bed.
Often, too, he makes use of Hyperbole, which, by exaggerating the
truth, indicates emphasis, as (I. x. 437):--
These surpass in brilliancy the snow, in speed the eagle.
Homer used Tropes and figures of this sort and handed them down to
posterity, and justly obtains glory beyond all others.
Since there are also Characters of speech called Forms, of which
one is Copiousness, the other Gracefulness, and the third
Restraint, let us see if Homer has all these separate classes, on
which poets and orators have worked after him. There are examples
of these--copiousness in Thucydides, gracefulness in Lysias,
restraint in Demosthenes. That is copious which by combination of
words and sentences has great emphasis. An example of this is
(O. v. 291):--
With that he gathered the clouds and troubled the waters of
the deep, rasping his trident in his hands: and he roused all
storms of all manner of winds and shrouded in clouds the land
and sea: and down sped night from heaven.
The graceful is delicate by the character of the matter. It is
drawn out by the way it is expressed (I. vi. 466).--
Thus he spake, great Hector stretch'd his arms
To take the child: but back the infant shrank,
Crying, and sought his nurse's sheltering breast,
Scar'd by the brazen helm and horse-hair plume.
The restrained is between the two, the copious and the graceful, as
(O. xxii. 291):--
Then Odysseus, rich in counsel, stripped him of his rags and
leaped on the great threshold with his bow and quiver full of
arrows, and poured forth all the swift shafts there before his
feet, and spake among the wooers.
But the florid style of speech, which has beauty and capacity for
creating delight and pleasure, like a flower, is frequent in our
poet; his poetry is full of such examples. The kinds of phrasing
have much novelty in Homer, as we shall go on to show, by giving a
few examples from which the rest may be gathered.
Every type of style practised among men is either historical,
theoretic, or political. Let us examine whether the beginnings of
these are to be found in him. Historical style contains a
narration of facts. The elements of such a narration are
character, cause, place, time, instrument, action, feeling, manner.
There is no historical narration without some of these. So it is
with our poet, who relates many things in their development and
happening. Sometimes in single passages can be found relations of
Of character, as the following (I. v. 9):--
There was one Dores 'mid the Trojan host,
The priest of Vulcan, rich, of blameless life;
Two gallant sons he had, Idaeus named
And Phegeus, skilled in all the points of war.
He describes features, also, as in the case of Thersites
(I. ii. 217):--
With squinting eyes, and one distorted foot,
His shoulders round, and buried in his breast
His narrow head, with scanty growth of hair.
And many other things, in which he often pictures the type or
appearance or character, or action or fortune of a person, as in
this verse (I. xx. 215):--
Dardanus first, cloud-compelling
and the rest.
There is in his poetry description of locality; where he speaks
about the island near that of the Cyclops, in which he describes
the look of the place, its size, its quality, and the things in it,
and what is near it. Also, when he describes the things adjacent
to the island of Calypso (O. v. 63):--
And round about the cave there was a wood-blossoming alder
and poplar, and sweet-smelling cypress.
And what follows. And innumerable other things of the same kind.
Time narratives are found as follows (I. ii. 134):--
Already now nine weary years have passed.
And (I. ii. 303):--
Not long ago, when ships of Greece were met at Aulis charged
with evil freight for Troy.
Then there are the causes, in which he shows why something is
coming to pass or has come to pass. Such are the things said at
the beginning of the "Iliad" (I. i. 8):--
Say then, what god the fatal strife provoked
Jove's and Latona's son; he filled with wrath
Against the King, with deadly pestilence
The Camp afflicted--and the people died
For Chryses' sake, his priest, whom Atreus' son
With scorn dismissed,-
and the rest. In this passage he says the cause of the difference
between Achilles and Agamemnon was the plague; but the plague was
caused by Apollo, and his wrath was due to the insult put upon
Description of the instrument he gives, as when he tells of the
shield made by Vulcan for Achilles. And there is a briefer one on
the spear of Hector (I. viii. 493):--
In his hand
His massive spear he held twelve cubits long,
Whose glittering point flash'd bright with hoop of gold
Narrations of fact are of several kinds, some like the following
(I. vii. 60):--
When in the midst they met, together rush'd
Bucklers and lances, and the furious might
Of mail-clad warriors; bossy shield on shield
Clattered in conflict; loud the clamor rose.
The emotional narrative is where the incident is connected with
some personal cause or energy, as when he speaks about things
arising from anger or fear or sorrow, or when people are wounded,
killed, or any other such thing happens to them. As a specimen of
cause, take the following (I. i. 103):--
His dark soul filled with fury, and his eyes
Flashed like flames of fire.
Of an action (I. xvii. 51):--
Those locks, that with the Graces hair might vie,
Those tresses bright, with gold and silver bound,
Were dabbled all with blood.
A Trope is constructive of action, or experience, or form,
according as one acts in a special way or is acted upon.
He follows the whole scene in this sort of narrative. An example of
it would be as follows (O. xxii. 15):--
But Odysseus aimed and smote him with the arrow in his throat,
and the point passed clean out through his delicate neck and
he fell back, and the cup dropped from his hand as he was
smitten, and at once through his nostrils there came up a
thick jet of slain man's blood.
There is also in Homer narration which has for the most part
copious expression, a method of working in full, fitting the
subject. Sometimes, however, it is concise, as in the following
(I. xviii. 20):--
Patroclus lies in death,
And o'er his body now the war is waged,
His naked body, for his arms are now
The prize of Hector of the glancing helmet.
This type is often useful, for the quickness of the words make the
reader and speaker more intent, and he immediately takes in
Sometimes he tells his story lightly; sometimes by an image or