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have been represented as receptacles of They have no other resource to vary souls in favour with the Deity. But the monotony of Olympus than to some primitive tradition of the

transla- engage in the strife and the passions tion of Enoch may account for what of men. Even for their loves they would otherwise stand as an additional

come down to earth. They are weaanomaly.”—P. 171.

ried of each other. And what a subIf there is any meaning in this ordinate, childish, and irrational part passage, there is a connection traced it is they play in the affairs of men ! between Ganymede and Enoch! In- Achilles fights, and Minerva picks up deed, the analogies which Mr Glad- the thrown spear and gives it back stone finds, and the applications of again into the hands of the hero. It is Scripture which he permits himself a type of all they do. The passions of to make, surpass anything, for their the maddest of men are reason itself perverted ingenuity, we have encoun- compared to the anger of these gods : tered in modern literature. We must they have nothing to fight for, nothing go back a century or two to find a to gain or to lose, and they have as parallel case. We are apt to smile at little concern for the just government the applications of Scripture texts of the world as the storms that are which pious and simple-minded peo- sweeping over the face of the earth. ple, by their very simplicity, are led to Some Higher Destiny, apparently, make. They are not more strange than has appointed both these storms and some of the applications which our these gods.

Mr Gladstone says learned author, the very reverse of truly : "What a wretched spectacle simple-minded, is led into by his per- would Hector, Achilles, Diomed, verse ingenuity. There was amongst Nestor, Ulysses, and the rest, present the Olympian deities, besides Apollo, a to us, were their existence devoted sun-god Helios, and this sun-god Mr simply to quaffing goblets and scentGladstone describes, whether with ing or devouring the flesh of slain perfect accuracy or not we will not animals, even though with this there stay to discuss—as being afterwards were present the mitigating refineabsorbed in Apollo. Thereupon hement of perpetual harp and song, adds :

And yet such is the picture offered "In this view the mythological absorp. by the Homeric mythology." tion of the Sun in Apollo is a most strik

Nevertheless, of this mythology our ing trait of the ancient mythology: and author writes : it even recalls to mind that sublime

“Thus it was that the sublime idea of representation of the prophet, ' The sun

one Governor of the universe, omnipotent shall be no more thy light by day, neither

over all its parts, was shivered into many for brightness shall the moon give light fragments, and these high prerogatives, unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto

distributed and held in severalty, are the thee an everlasting light, and thy God fragments of a conception too weighty thy glory.'”—P. 265.

and too comprehensive for the unassisted The mythological process of the human mind to carry in its entireness.” absorption of a nature-god into a

-P. 209. heroic god—both having peculiar rela- Burdened with his too vast idea, tions to the sun-is illustrated by the the poet breaks it in pieces, and coins grand metaphor of the Hebrew Pro- these heroic gods out of its fragments. phet that God himself shall be our Is this a probable genesis of the light! The mind can just catch at Homeric mythology? Do we see a point of resemblance, but only to even the fragments of the greater throw it away again with displea- conception ? And when such men as sure.

Aristotle rose to as high conception of Homer's deities are not eternal, deity as any we are able to form, how they are not creative; they have super- was it that then “the unassisted huhuman powers, and they are immortal. man mind could carry it in its entireBut it is a poor life, when compared ness ?” to that of human beings, that the The gods of Homer are not eternal, poet has been able to imagine for neither do they create ; but they are them. The banquet, nectar or ambro- immortal. Hardly could the poet do sia, is all that the heavens supply. less for them than release them from YOL. LXXXIV.—NO. DXIV.

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death. But the imagination of the which is the nobler ritual of the Greek must always, according to Mr two, descended to mankind from the Gladstone, be indebted more or less Hebrew patriarchs. In Homer's to the traditions of some Hebrew time we still see the sacrifice regardor Semitic patriarch. Accordingly, ed as a present to the god, from

. upon this immortality of the Homeric which the god himself receives some gods he makes the following observa- benefit. The savour of it is agreetions :

able to him : in some manner or

other, he derives a personal gratifica“There is something curious in the tion from the “ burnt thighs of fat question why it is that they are endowed oxen.” As intelligence is developed, uniformly and absolutely with this gift, we find the Greek, at least the edubut not with others; why the limitation cated Greek, interpreting the sacriof Death is removed from them, and yet fice in quite a different sense. He other limitations are allowed in so many

no longer regards it as something respects to remain.

" It seems as if we had here an inde- necessary or useful to the god; he pendent and impartial testimony to the ponders only on the benefit to be truth of the representation conveyed in derived to the worshipper. God Holy Writ, that death has been the accepts it as a sign of gratitude, or specific punishment ordained for sin ; a sign of repentance for sin. Or it and that therefore, in passing beyond the becomes a mode of communication human order, we, as a matter of course, between the god and the worshipper, pass beyond its range."

the god having in some way entered

into the sacrifice offered to him : Men never think or imagine on after this it may be redolent of prothe principle of contrast. They gave phetic knowledge; or the worshipper, immortality to their gods because by partaking of it, may be a partaker they were familiar with this pro- of the divine spirit. Many subtle perty, as having been once their own! interpretations follow. These interIf our readers feel fatigued at this pretations form the higher part of wire-drawing, it is really not our the religious faith, not the rite itself, fault : it was necessary to give some to which the very rudest or most specimens, and we might easily have child - like conceptions may have multiplied them.

given origin. As might be expected, Mr Glad- But although the reader of Mr stone regards the rite of sacrifice, so Gladstone's book will feel, we susextensively prevalent over all the pect, a mere perplexity, a mere disheathen world, as “another portion tress and vexation, as of labour of the primeval inheritance." "It had thrown away in vain, as he follows been instituted before the Homeric him through those trains of reasonage—there can be no doubt of that ; ing by which he supports his mythobut it is one of those institutions logical theory, he will yet be occawhich it is needless and idle to trace sionally rewarded by remarks both to any one special origin. Sacrifice, of an interesting and an instructive like

prayer, has arisen wherever the description. When our author liberidea existed of a god who might be ates himself from the prepossessions induced to favour man. In the Book which this theory throws around of Genesis no other account is given him, he can show himself an intelliof its origin. Cain and Abel are gent and tasteful critic of Homer. represented as prompted by their Many observations which he makes, spontaneous feelings to testify their both on his heroes, his gods, and gratitude by an offering to God. To such imaginary beings as his Cyclops, bring an offering is, in one period of who are neither heroes nor gods, are our mental culture, as natural an act well deserving of study and rememas to utter a prayer :* now Mr Glad- brance. How well are the Cyclops stone does not tell us that prayer, here delineated :

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• If an animal is to be offered, there are but two ways of doing it, either by preserving it separate and intact, or by killing it. In aid of the last mode came the idea of offering life itself—of pouring out the blood, which contained the life.

“ Among them all, the Cyclops, chil- of Christendom, cannot be fully compredren of Neptune, offer as a work of art hended without the study of Homer, and by far the most successful and satisfac- is nowhere so vividly or so sincerely extory result. In every point they are bibited as in his works. He has a world placed at the greatest possible distance of his own, into which, upon his strong from human society and its conventions. wing, he carries us, There we find ourMan is small, the Cyclops huge. Man is selves amidst a system of ideas, feelings, weak, the Cyclops powerful. Man is and actions, different from what are to gregarious, the Cyclops is isolated. Man be found anywhere else, and forming a for Homer, is refined, the Cyclops is a new and distinct standard of humanity. cannibal. Man inquires, searches, de- Many among them seem as if they were signs, constructs, advances, in a word, is then shortly about to be buried under a progressive ; the Cyclops simply uses mass of ruins, in order that they might the shelter and the food that nature subsequently reappear, bright and fresh finds for him, and is thoroughly station for application, among later generations ary. Yet, while man is subject to death, of men. Others of them almost carry the Cyclops lives on, or vegetates at us back to the early morning of our race, least, and transmits the privileges of his the hours of its greater simplicity and race by virtue of its high original. The purity, and more free intercourse with moral element has been entirely dis- God. In much that this Homeric world missed. Polyphemus is a buge mass of exhibits, we see the taint of sin at work, force, seasoned perhaps with cunning, but far, as yet, from its perfect work certainly with falseness. This union of and its ripeness; it stands between Paraa superhuman life with the brutal that dise and the vices of later heathenism, dwells in solitude, and has none of its far from both, from the latter as well as angles rubbed down by the mutual con- the former; and if among all earthly tact between members of a race, produces knowledge the knowledge of man be that a mixed result of extreme ferocity, child. which we should chiefly court, and if to ishness, and a kind of horrible glee, be genuine it should be founded upon which, as a work of art, is most striking experience, how is it possible to overand successful.”—P. 318.

value this primitive representative of the

human race in a form complete, distinct, His remarks on many of the chief and separate, with its own religion, characters, both in the Iliad and the ethics, policy, history, arts, manners, Odyssey, are such as display a highly fresh and true to the standard of its cultivated taste, and a refined sym- nature, like the form of an infant from pathy with what is noblest or most

the hand of the Creator, yet mature, full, delicate in such characters. Achilles, and finished, in its own sense, after its Hector, Nausicaa, are all gracefully sculptor’s'art ?”–Vol. i. p. 6.

own laws, like some masterpiece of the described ; more grace is thrown over them than we should perhaps find in

Some of these studies on Homer, the poet. The whole heroic age in those particularly which occupy the which Homer lived, and which his third volume, are on separate indivipoetry reflects, is dealt with, at times, dual subjects, remote from the lead, in a very indulgent strain. We can- ing theory which we have been exnot forget certain unmistakable amining ; but we should not now traits of ferocity which Mr Gladstone have space to enter on them.

We himself occasionally recalls ; we can.

have addressed ourselves to what not disguise from ourselves, for a

forms the predominating subject of moment, that Greece made a most the work; and so much is it the conspicuous progress, in morals as predominating subject, that we venwell as intellect, in the interval be- ture to say that no one who is distween Homer and Pericles. But still satisfied with Mr Gladstone as an there are certain strong, hardy, spon- interpreter of Greek mythology, will taneous virtues of this heroic age

be so far propitiated by any other which it is well to contemplate, and portion of the work as to rise from which do honour to our common

the whole with other feelings than humanity. Such a passage as the

those of weariness and disappointfollowing exhibits at least one phase

ment. of this heroic epoch

The last section of the work-with

the exception of two articles which “ The Greek mind, which became one are reprinted from the Quarterly Reof the main factors of the civilised life

Homer and his Successors,

99

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being a general review of epic poetry apprehension; and this being done, and the epic poets of Europe-bears the impression would hardly be inthe title of Aoidos, and treats on creased by adding the sum total of various points in the poetry of Homer, these lesser numbers. We, however, his Plot, his sense of Beauty, his Per- think it very probable that, above a ception, and Use of Number and of certain point, Homer would have Colour. Throughout this section the found it very difficult to make an reader will find many observations of accurate arithmetical calculation. It an acute and interesting character; the art of writing was not known, but they are observations which he the art of ciphering must have been will have to test and weigh for him- generally very little cultivated. self. Mr Gladstone has the inveterate On Homer's appreciation of colour, habit of drawing large conclusions as separable from brightness, we have from very narrow premises; or rather, here some curious speculations. Very having embraced some conclusion, hé few are the colours that he specifies ; hastily constructs ingenious argu- and when he describes objects whose ments for its defence. But the criti- colour we very well know, the terms cal remarks of Mr Gladstone, if they he uses are to us quite inexplicable. require, are always worthy of exa- If we lay the defect here upon his mination. There is much that de- language, we have still to ask, how serves attention in his little treatise came the language to be imperfect ? on Homer's Perception, and Use of Men find or coin words when they Number and Colour. We can have have perceptions to express.

Mr no doubt that Homer uses the names Gladstone limits Homer's range to of high numbers, hundreds and thou- white, black, yellow, red, violet, and sands, merely to convey the general indigo. Thus orange, green, and light impression of multitude - he has not blue* would remain without any disthe least idea of giving accurate sta- tinct expression. Orange might be tistics. Most early writers, and poets well embraced under red or yellow; of all periods, use nouns of number but green and blue-the colour of in this vague manner. A hecatomb the trees, the colour of the sky !-it doubtless meant, as our author sug- is impossible to think that Homer gests, merely a large sacrifice, a had not words for these. And our group of oxen, not absolutely a hun- lexicons used to give them. The dred. The thousand watchfires that Homeric words for green and blue the Trojans light mean some num- may also have other meanings, and ber larger than a hundred, not yet mean, sometimes, green and blue. precisely ten hundred. Mr Glad. One sees that the idea of green, shades stone doubts whether Homer's arith- into that of pallor; and also, because metic would have enabled him to it is the colour of spring, the same give us more precise statistics, even word may come to signify freshness. if this had been his object; he Let chloros signify both paleness and doubts whether Homer knew any freshness, it may also signify green; rule in arithmetic beyond addition, and glaukos may be both bright and whether that more rapid mode of blue. Mr Gladstone thinks that our addition which we call multiplication “blue-eyed Minerva” ought to have was known to him. Homer avoids, been translated " bright-eyed Minerhe observes, giving us the sum total, va.” Perhaps he is right; but there even where he has supplied us with are other occasions on which the the several items. This may result epithet blue may stand its ground. only from the general manner with Nor should it be driven from the sea which, as a poet, he would deal with (glaukė thalassa) simply because the numbers. His object being to con- sea may be both bright and blue. vey the sense of multitude, he would We have some good reasons given do this most effectually by enumerat- us, however, why Homer should not ing the lesser numbers, which can be have had his eye so well trained and brought more distinctly within the cultivated to the perception of colour

There is some error of the press in the original : violet is put down amongst the culours that are, and are not, distinctly expressed.

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as a more modern poet. The art of as is not unfrequently the case with dyeing, so we are told, had not been Mr Gladstone's observations-someinvented, or was very little practised. what dissipated this conviction. He Paints, and all artificial colouring, finds that Homer is not sufficiently were but little known ; the yellow of studied in a philosophical and hisgold and brass, and the ruddy hue of torical point of view. A boy at our copper, were perhaps the brightest public schools reads him for his colours known in dress or household battles, for the resounding line, for decoration ; and it is not easy to say the poetry of the old Grecian-if he how much of our ready and apt dis- reads him for anything else than to tinctions between colours is due to construe and translate ; whilst at the teaching the eye receives from our universities Homer is passed near and artificial objects-objects over for Æschylus and Sophocles, that can be easily embraced and com- and the Greek language and Greek pared in the field of vision.

thought are studied in later writers. There is a noticeable superiority in Homer seems thus deprived of his the modern over the classic poet, and legitimate share of attention. But of times later than Homer, in this love when we reflect for a moment on the and appreciation of colour, which is kind of study of Homer which Mr well worth inquiring into. Here, as Gladstone finds neglected, we are elsewhere, Mr Gladstone is hasty in led to ask ourselves whether this is his deductions. He lays consider- a study which youths at the univerable stress on the “remarkable verse sity are expected to be engaged in, of Albinovanus, an Augustan poet, or can, with any profit, be engaged which applied the epithet 'purpu- in.

“There is,

says our author, reus' to snow

an inner Homeric world, of which * Brachia purpurea candidiora nive.""

his verse is the tabernacle and his

poetic genius the exponent, but which The poet is comparing, we presume, offers in itself a spectacle of the most a woman's arm to snow, and he has profound interest, quite apart from before his imagination the snow with him who introduces us to it, and from that purple or roseate hue upon it the means by which we are so introwhich it receives, not only at sunset, duced. This world of religion and but often at noon. For not unwisely ethics, of civil policy, of history and does our poet Shelley speak of the ethnology, of inanners and arts, so purple noon's transparent light. widely severed from all following The comparison, as we often meet experience that we may properly call with it in poetry, of a woman's them palæozoic, can hardly be exaneck to snow in its own proper local mined and understood by those who colour, is a very cold affair, and one are taught to approach Homer as a which frequent repetition has never poet only.” Very true ; and beautireconciled us to. We think Albino- fully expressed. But it happens that vanus was very right, and regret there is no book, except it be the that we have so little opportunity of Germania of Tacitus, which has been making better acquaintance with one so industriously, explored as the who earned amongst his contempora- liad, for the intimations it gives of ries the title of Elegantissimus. an existing state of society; and the

Mr Gladstone opens his whole Greeks of Homer, and the Germans work, cominences his Prolegomena, of Tacitus, have not been unfreas it is learnedly called, with some quently compared. What may be general observations on the defective safely gathered of this kind lies study of Homer in our English open to every student, to every inschools and universities. These ob- telligent reader. In every commenservations are expressed with such a tary on Homer, and in every history logical precision, and so grave an air of Greece, in Mitford,

Thirlwall

, Grote, of plausibility, that we

rose from a picture of the Homeric age is them with the conviction that some drawn too interesting in itself to reform was urgently called for in escape any but the dullest of readers. our academical studies. But further It cannot be this that is neglected consideration and a second perusal- by our studious youth. This inner

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