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Αυτοδιδακτος δ' ειμί θεός δέ μοι εν φρεσίν οίμας
ΟΔΥΣΣΕΙΑΣ. Χ'. 347.
Untaught by others, in my mind I bear,
That this is not an imaginary delineation, but that united Greece hung as it were on the steps of Homer, sightless and in years, with an enthusiasm of regard little short of adoration, may
be inferred from the admirable sketch which he has himself given of Demodocus, the blind Bard of Phcacia.
Than this portrait, without all doubt, intended as a faithful representation of himself, and of the honours which usually awaited him*, nothing can be more lovely and affecting. It places Homer before us as he lived, and as he sung, and we dwell with rapture on the sketch, as
* “ It was the opinion of Maximus Tyrius,” remarks Cowper, “ that Homer in this short history of the Phæacian bard, gives us in reality his own.". Vide Cowper's Translation, 2nd. edit. vol. i. Odyssey, p. 201.
exhibiting in the most pleasing light, the kind manners of that remote period, and the very affectionate respect which was paid to age and talent.
Alcinoüs, the hospitable monarch of Phæacia, wishing to do honour to his illustrious guest, the ship-wrecked wanderer Ulysses, assembles together, at a sumptuous feast, the noblest in his realm. Without the sacred bard, however, the banquet had been joyless, and Alcinoüs therefore gives especial orders for his prescence:
καλέσασθε δε θείον αοιδόν Δημόδοκον" τω γάρ ρα θεός περι δώκεν αοιδών Τερπνήν, όππη θυμός εποτρύνησιν αείδειν.
ΟΔΥΣ, Θ'. 43.
Call, too, Demodocus, the bard divine,
He is accordingly introduced with all that care and tenderness, that deference and delicacy of feeling, due to his talents and infirmities;
attentions which cannot fail to impress us with a high and amiable idea of the tone of society in which they prevailed; recollecting, also, as we must delight to do on this occasion, that they were attentions which Homer had often experienced in his own person, and which he, therefore loved to commemorate.
Κηρυξ δ' εγγυθεν ηλθεν αγων εριηρον αοιδον 1. 62.
ad Οίμης, της τότ' άρα κλέος ουρανόν εύρυν κάνε. 1. 74.
And now the herald thither led with care
If, as hath been conjectured by Eustathius, the poet alludes in the last line of this passage to his own Iliad, it furnishes us both with a striking proof of the great and early celebrity which that poem must have acquired, and with a just inference as to the honors which awaited its author, whithersoever he turned his steps. We cannot wonder, therefore, that he describes his own Demodocus as the chosen care of kings and princes, and that he represents Alcinoüs as appointing an herald, to attend his every movement, with the utmost courtesy and kindness. Thus, when the guests break up from the banquet :
Καδ δ' εκ πασσαλόφιν κρέμασε φόρμιγγα λιγείαν,
ΟΔΥΣ. Θ'. 105.
the herald hanging high The sprightly lyre, took gently by his hand
Demodocus, and leading him abroad,
and when, reseeking the social hall, they resume their seats to share the
Κήρυξ δ' εγγύθεν ήλθεν αγων ερίηρον αοιδόν,
ΟΔΥΣ. Θ. 471.
-introducing by his hand the bard, Phæacia’s glory, at the column's side The herald placed Demodocus again.
Literal as Cowper may generally be esteemed in his version, he has not here given the full import of the original, omitting the epithet amiable, as applied to the bard, égrýsov 2018òv, and translating 180toi terijevov, honoured by the people, by the less characteristic term of Phæacia's glory.
It is evident, however, from these passages, that Homer has taken a more than common delight in enumerating the attentions paid to