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all the gradations of human life, until he has ascended to the character of a Prince*, and become the scourge of a tyrant, who sat on one of the greatest thrones of Europe, before the man who was to have the greatest part in his downfall had made one step in the world. But such elevations are the natural consequences of an exact prudence, a calm courage, a well-governed temper, a patient ambition, and an affable behaviour. These arts, as they are the steps to his greatness, so they are the pillars of it now it is raised. To this, her glorious son, Great Britain is indebted for the happy conduct of her arms, in whom she can boast, that she has produced a man formed by Nature to lead a nation of heroes.
N° 6. SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libell
JUV. Sat. J. 85, 86.
Will's Coffee-house, April, 22. I am just come from visiting Sappho, a fine lady, who writes verses, sings, dances, and can say and do whatever she pleases, without the imputation of any thing that can injure her character; for she is so well known to have no passion but self-love ; or folly, but affectation ; that now, upon any occasion, they only cry, “ It is her way!” and,'« That is so like her!” without farther reflection. As I came into the room, she cries, “Oh! Mr. Bickerstaff, I am utterly undone ; I have broke that pretty Italian fan I shewed you when you were here last, wherein were so admirably drawn our first parents in Paradise, asleep in each other's arms. But there is such an affinity between painting and poetry, that I have been improving the images which were raised by that picture, by reading the same representation in two of our greatest poets. Look you, here are the same passages in Milton and in Dryden. All Milton's thoughts are wonderfully just and natural, in that inimitable description which Adam makes of himself in the eighth book of Paradise Lost. But there is none of them finer than that contained in the following lines, where he tells us his thoughts, when he was falling asleep a little after the creation :
* In the year 1704, in consequence of the memorable victory at Hochsted, the Duke of Marlborough was appointed a Prince of the Empire, and had Miljenheim assigned for his principality, Nov. 12,1705.
While thus I calld, and stray'd I knew not whither,
But now I cannot forgive this odious thing, this Dryden, who, in his “ State of Innocence, has given my great-grandmother Eve the same apprehension of annihilation on a very different occasion; as Adam pronounces it of himself, when he
was seized with a pleasing kind of stupor and deadness; Eve fancies herself falling away, and dissolving in the hurry of a rapture. However, the verses are very good, and I do not know but what she says may
be natural: I will read them.
When your kind eyes look'd languishing on mine,
She went on, and said a thousand good things ač randon, but so strangely mixed, that you would be apt to say, all her wit is mere good luck, and not the effect of reason and judgment. When I made my escape hither, I found a gentleman playing the critic on two other great poets : even Virgil and Homer. He was observing, that Virgil is more judicious than the other in the epithets he gives his hero. Homer's usual epithet, said he, is Todees eving or locaçmensy and his indiscretion has been often rallied by the critics, for mentioning the nimbleness of foot in Achilles, though he describes him standing, sitting, lying down, fighting, eating, drinking, or in any other circumstance, however foreign or repugnant to speed and activity. Virgil's common epithet to Æneas is Pius, or Pater. I have therefore considered, said he, what passage there is in any of his hero's actions, where either of these appellations would have been most improper, to see if I could catch him at the same fault with Homer; and this, I think, is his meeting with Dido in the cave, where Pius Æneas would have been absurd, and Pater Æneas a burlesque: the poet therefore wisely dropped them both for Dux
Trojanus ; which he has repeated twice in Juno's speech, and his own narration ; for he very well knew, a loose action might be consistent enough with the usual manners of a soldier, though it became neither the chastity of a pious man, nor the gravity of the father of a people.
Grecian Coffee-house, April 22. While other parts of the town are amused with the present actions, we generally spend the evening at this table in inquiries into antiquity, and think any thing News which gives us new knowledge. Thus we are making a very pleasant entertainment to ourselves, in putting the actions of Homer's Iliad into an exact Journal.
This Poem is introduced by Chryses, king of Chryseis and Priest of Apollo, who comes to redemand his daughter, who had been carried off the taking of that city, and given to Agamemnon for his part of the booty. The refusal he received enrages Apollo, who for nine days showered down darts upon them, which occasioned the pestilence.
The tenth day Achilles assembled the council, and encourages Chalcas to speak for the surrender of Chrysers to appease Apollo. Agamemnon and Achilles storm one another, notwithstanding which, Agamemnon will not release his prisoner, unless he has Briseïs in her stead.
After long cortestations, wherein Agamemnon gives a glorious character of Achilles's valour, he determines to rem store Chryseis to her father, and sends two heralds to fetch away Briseis from Achilles, who abandons himself to sorrow and despair. His mother Thetis comes to comfort him under his affiction, and pro. mises to represent his sorrowful lamentation to Ju. piter : but he could not attend to it; for, the evening before, he had appointed to divert himself for
two days beyond the seas with the harmless Ethiopians.
It was the twenty-first day after Chryseïs's arrival at the
camp, that Thetis went very early to demand an audience of Jupiter. The means he used to satisfy her were, to persuade the Greeks to attack the Trojans; that so they might perceive the consequence of contemning Achilles, and the miseries they suffer, if he does not head them. The next night he orders Agamemnon, in a dream, to attack them; who was deceived with the hopes of obtaining a victory, and also taking the city, without sharing the honour with Achilles.
On the twenty-second in the morning he assembles the council, and having made a feint of raising the siege and retiring, he declares to them his dream ; and, together with Nestor and Ulysses, resolves on an engagement.
This was the twenty-third day, which is full of incidents, and which continues from almost the begioning of the second canto to the eighth. The armies being then drawn up in view of one another, Hector brings it about that Menelaus and Paris, the two persons concerned in the quarrel, should decide it by a single combat, which tending to the advantage of Menelaus, was interrupted by a cowardice infused by Minerva: then both armies engage, where the Trojans have the disadvantage ; but being afterwards animated by Apollo, they repulse the enemy, yet they are once again forced to give ground, but their affairs were retrieved by Hector, who has a single combat with Ajax. The gods threw themselves into the battle : Juno and Minerva took the Grecians part, and Apollo and Mars the Trojans : but Mars and Venus are both woupded by Diomedes.