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Price 6s.






It is expected that the WORK will not exceed Ten Volumes, Octavo. Each Volume will consist of Three Parts; one Part to be published each alternate month. Subscriptions to be intimated to the Publisher, Mr BLACKWOOD, George Street, Edinburgh, and to all the other Booksellers in town and country,

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No. I.

an Eidolon begotten by the imagination on the air of night, or some night-like day, and is visible but to his own frightened father. Now, Achilles was an Apparition; and his seer was a blind old man, with a front like Jove's, and a forehead like Olympus. "All power was given him in that dreadful trance;" and Beauty and Terror accompanied the Destroyer. He haunted Homer, who no longer knew that he had himself created the sublimest of all Phantoms. But the Muse gave the maker command over his creature ; and, at the waving of his hand, the imaginary Goddess-born came and went obedient, more magnificent than any shadowy form that at the bidding of sunlight stalks along mountains into an abisme of clouds.

THE Iliad was written by Homer. Will Wolf and Knight tell us how it happened that all the heroic strains about the war before Troy, poured forth, as they opine, by many bards, regarded but one period of the siege? By what divine felicity was it that all those sons of song, though apart in time and place, united in chanting the wrath of Achilles? The poem is one-like a great wood, whose simultaneous growth overspreads a mountain. Indeed one mighty poem, in process of time, moulded into form out of separate fragments, composed by a brotherhood of bards-not even coeval-may be safely pronounced au impossibility in nature.

Achilles was not the son of many sires; nor was the part he played written for him by a succession of "eminent hands," all striving to find fit work for their common hero. He is not a creature of collected traditions. He stands there-a single conception-in character and in achieve ment; his absence is felt like that of a thunder cloud withdrawn behind a hill, leaving the air still sultry; his presence is as the lightning in sudden illumination glorifying the whole field of battle. Kill, bury, and forget him, and the Iliad is no more an Epic.


No two men at the same time ever yet saw a ghost; because a ghost is


The Odyssey-also and likewise -was written by Homer, and the proof lies all in one word-Ulysses.

There he is-the self-same being as in the Iliad, and the birth of one brain. Had Homer died the day he said, " And thus they celebrated the obsequies of Hector the Tamer-ofHorses," before no mortal eye would have stood on the threshold of his own hall, pouring out from his quiver all the arrows at his feet, that vision of a ragged beggar, suddenly transfigured into an Avenger more glorious far than Apollo's self trans


fixing the Python,-for Laertiades stretched along his ancestral floor the whole serpent brood.

The opening of the Iliad is very simple-and so is the opening of the Odyssey-and both openings areyou will agree with us in thinking -sublime. In the one you are brought in a moment into the midst of heaven-sent death threatening the annihilation of a whole host; and, in pacifying Apollo, Agamemnon incenses Achilles, whose wrath lowers calamity almost as fatal as the visitation of the Plague. Men's minds are troubled-there is debate of doom in Heaven-nation is enraged against nation-and each trusts to its auxiliar gods. In the other there is no din below-the earth is silentand you hear not the sea. Corn grows where Troy-Town stood and you feel that Achilles is dust. All the chiefs who fought there and fell not-as Sotheby solemnly


His daughter there the sorrowing chief reclaims,

and there is an almost melancholy peace. There is mysterious mention of shipwreck on account of sin-and one guiltless and great Survivor is spoken of and then namedwho is to take the place in our imaginations of all the other heroes living or dead-affectingly named-for he has been and is to be a Sufferer"All but Ulysses!" And shall the Celestial Synod care for that One Man! Aye, Minerva says to Jove,

"With bosom anguish-rent I view
Ulysses, hapless chief! who from his
Remote, affliction hath long time en-

In yonder woodland isle, the central boss
Of ocean. That retreat a Goddess holds,
Daughter of sapient Atlas, who the
Knows to its bottom, and the pillars high
Himself upbears which separate Earth
from Heaven.

And ever with smooth spirit, insidious

To wean his heart from Ithaca, meantime
Ulysses, happy might he but behold
The smoke ascending from his native
Canst thou not, Olym-
Death covets.
pian Jove,

At last relent? Hath not Ulysses oft

With victim's slain amid Achaia's fleet
Thee gratified, while yet at Troy he
How, therefore, hath he thus incensed

Thee, Jove?"

At once we love the Man of whom the Muse is to sing-longing for his home-his wife-and his son-and pitied at last by Jove, at the intercession of Minerva, because of his piety. That she should fly to Ithaca, and that Hermes should wing his way to the Isle of Secrecy-on behalf of Ulysses-seems demanded of the justice of heaven. And simple as all this is-we said it was sublime Dwell free from battle and the ocean for our sympathies are already

"At home once more


awakened for

"A good man struggling with the storms of fate."

Ulysses longs for Ithaca-but knows not what may have passed, or may be passing there-if Penelope and Telemachus be alive or dead. All we are told is, that year after year he has been lamenting for his native Isle-sighing for a sight of its ascending smoke, ere he dies-unforgetful of Ithaca even in Calypso's arms.

How finely Sotheby has given Minerva's "alighting," and the sudden shewing of the scene-the first sight of which reveals to us all the lawless life of the Suitors, and the evils to which the kingless Island has been so long a prey! We are at once in the heart of it all-and the thought comes across us in the midst of the revelry, "if Ulysses were here!"

"Then on her feet her golden sandals laced,
With bright ambrosial wings divinely graced,
Wings that o'er earth and sea the Goddess bear
And challenge in their speed the viewless air-
Then grasp'd her brass-edged lance, of matchless strength,
Vast, massive, ponderous, whose far-shadowing length,
When the mail'd Goddess in her fury burns,
Rank after rank heroic chiefs o'erturns.

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Then downward flew from steep Olympus' height,
And on Ulysses' island deign'd alight,
And at the threshold of his portal staid
Beneath the vestibule's protecting shade:
Held in her grasp the spear, and took her stand
Like Mentes, leader of the Taphian band:
There found the suitors festively array'd,
Who, gay, at dice before the palace play'd,
Their seats on hides of many a numerous herd,
Slain at the dictates of their haughty word:
Heralds, and minist'ring menials stood around,
Some who with temper'd wine their goblets crown'd,
With many a porous spunge some cleansed the board,
And with carved meat their proffer'd chargers stored.
Her first the young Telemachus perceived,
Who 'mid the wooers sat, and inly grieved,
Bright picturing in his mind, how, home again,
His sire would put to flight the wassail train,
Resume his honours, and ancestral right,
And, musing thus, the Goddess caught his sight.
Forward he sprung, in wrath, that nigh their feast
A stranger stood, an uninvited guest:

Then clasp'd her hand, received the brazen spear,
And pour'd his welcome in her gladden'd ear:

"Hail! stranger-welcome-now the banquet share,
Then, feasted, wherefore here-thy wish declare.'

"He spake and at the word, the blue eyed Maid
Where the prince led the way not loth obey'd.
Now, 'neath his dome, within the channel'd height
Of a vast column, towering on the sight,

He fix'd the lance, where, ranged in order, stood
Ulysses' war-spears, like an iron wood :
Then, on a stately seat the Goddess placed,
With linen spread, and with a foot-stool graced,
And near it drew his own resplendent throne,
At distance from the suitors placed alone,
Lest the contemptuous rioters molest,
And vex with noise and insolence the guest,
Nor yield him peaceful leisure to enquire,
And hold free commune of his long-lost sire.
From a gold ewer, a maid, their hands to lave,
Pour'd in a silver bowl the cleansing wave,
And a bright table brought, where, largely spread,
The sage dispenseress heap'd the food and bread.
The sewer with flesh, all kinds, the plates supplied,
And golden goblets placed each guest beside,
Which oft with wine the busy herald crown'd;
Then, rushing in, the suitors gather'd round,
And on their separate seats and thrones of state,
Where heralds wash'd their hands, in order sate:
The attendant maids in baskets piled their bread,
On the carved dainties as the feasters fed;

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And youths oft crown'd their goblets o'er and o'er,
Till thirst and hunger, satiate, sought no more:
Then other joys inflamed their keen desire,
The song and dance, that charm the festive choir.
The herald gave to the reluctant hand
Of Phemius, leader of the minstrel band,
A silver lyre. By force the bard obey'd,
And, preluding the song, the measure play'd."

Telemachus is no favourite with many critics. But we hope you admire and love the Princely Boy-for

he was assuredly a great favourite with Homer. So well did Homer know his worth, that he is at no great

pains to describe his character. He puts him, however, into some situations that serve to shew what is in him—and he behaves, we think, like heir-apparent to the throne. Here he allows the dicers to shake their elbows undisturbed-in their pastimes perhaps playing for the Queen. But he is picturing in his mind another kind of game-in which his father will play the Lion, and he the Lion's Whelp. Mentes, the leader of the Taphian Band, though no vulgar stranger, is disregarded by the Suitors, heralds, and menials-but how courteous is the Prince! "Manners maketh the man," and Telemachus, we feel, will be a hero. He takes not his guest into some nook or corner, to question him of his Sire--but places him on a stately seat, with a footstool," and near it drew his own resplendent throne." Let all the Suitors behold them two in conversenor dare to intrude upon their privacy-apart but open-and confidential during the measure preluding the Poet-Laureate's song. Minerva must have been pleased with such graceful and dignified reception -and how wisely does she insinuate into his heart, by half-truth and half fable, hopes even of his sire's return! True that Telemachus speaks like one that will not be comforted; but his looks belie his words, for we see his face brightening as he listens to the stranger's counsel. Who does not see that he believes his father will return, as Minerva, after foretelling that return, says,

"But this I urge-now truly this declare, Art thou, for such thou seem'st, Ulysses' heir?

sures me that I am the son of Ulysses-but I know it not." In this, says Pope, "there seems something very shocking,"-but as Minerva approved of it-and said cheeringly, "heaven shall one day grace thee, not nameless, nor of a nameless race, sprung from Penelope,”there can be no doubt that it was the answer usually returned to such a question, in that simple age, a sort of apophthegm, that conveyed no imputation on any mother's fidelity to her husband, but, on the contrary, entire reliance on every mother's truth. That Telemachus in this conversation expresses no tenderness for his mother, has been foolishly said to shew a want of due filial atfection. But he knew she was pretty well, up-stairs-while he feared his father was dead or in misery-and that was the thought that wrung his heart. It would have been exceeding silly to begin puling about Penelope to a person who was not much troubling his head about her

but who had paid her, nevertheless, a high and just compliment. There can be no doubt that he loved and honoured her-but he was now in his twentieth year-and at that age sons are shy of seeming before strangers too fond of their mothers-nay even before their mothers themselves-especially when surrounded by suitors. But hear him on his


"Once I had hope while here my sire remained,

That wealth and virtue had our house sustained;

Thy features such, thy eyes so beaming bright,

Such as the chief oft towered before my sight, Ere with their bravest heroes, Argos' boast,

The Warrior moor'd his fleet on Phrygia's coast."

Pallas was not a goddess addicted to the complimentary-and she loved Ulysses too well to be easily satisfied with his son. But she was satisfied with his beaming eyes-nor at all dissatisfied with his answer about his mother, though it has given serious offence in certain quarters, not in the contemplation of Telemachus. The Prince said, "my mother as

But heaven, devising ill, not this designed,

And left his fate obscurest, 'mid mankind; Nor could bis death so sharply have impressed

The sting of sorrow in my filial breast, If, with his brave compeers, in Phrygia slain,

Or, 'mid his friends from Troy returned again.

Then all the Greeks had raised his funeral mound,

And by his father's fame the son renowned.

But him the Harpies from the light of day Unknown, unseen, unheard, have swept away."

The noble boy listens with delight to the recital of his Father's

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