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NUMBER. CXXIV.

Hesiod's heroic holds a middle place between the Orphean and Homeric style ; his Genealogy of the Deities resembling the former, and his Shield of Hercules at due distance following the latter : his famous

poem

in praise of illustrious women is lost; from the words, "H Oin, with which it opened, it came in time to be generally known by the name of the Eoics, or The Great Eoics, and this title by misin. terpretation has been construed to refer to the proper name of some favourite mistress, whom he chose to make the heroine of his poem : the poet being born at Ascra, a small village in the neighbourhood of Mount Helicon, Eoa was supposed to have been a beautiful damsel of Ascra, whom he was in love with: this poem seems to have been considered as the best work of the author, at least it was that which brought him most in favour with his contem. poraries, and gained him some admirers, who even preferred him to Homer; we cannot wonder if that sex at least who were the objects of his panegyric, were the warmest in his praise. I suspect that lomer did not pay much court to the ladies in his Margites, and as for the Cypriacs, they were professedly written to expose the gallantries of the fair sex; the character of Penelope however in the Odyssey is a standard of conjugal fidelity, and Helen, though a frail heroine in the Iliad, is painted with such delicate touches as to recommend her in the most in. teresting manner to our pity and forgiveness.

Hesiod's aldress carried every thing before it, and Ehe choice of his subjects shew that popularity was his study, for not content with engaging the fair sex in his favour by the gallantry of The Great Eoics, he fattered the heroes of his time, or at least the descendants of herocs, by a poem, which he entitled The Heroic Genealogy : as one was a professed pane. gyric of beautiful and illustrious women,

the other was written in the praise of brave and distinguished men: if this heroic catalogue comprized only the great and noble of his own sex, his Times and Seasons were addressed to the community at large, and conveyed instruction to the husbandman and labourer; nor was this all, for great authorities have given to Hesiod the fables commonly ascribed to Æsop, who is supposed only to have made some additions to Hesiod's collection ; if this were so, we have another strong reason for his popularity—' For fables, as Quintilian well observes, are above all things calculated to win the hearts of the vulgar and unlearned, who delight in pleasing tales and fictions, and are easily led away with what they delight in.'

- In short, Hesiod seems to have written to all ranks, degrees and descriptions of people; to rich and poor,

to the learned and unlearned, to men, women, and even to the deities themselves.

Can we be surprised then if this politic and pleasing author was the idol of his time, and gained the prize even though Homer was his competitor ? His contemporaries gave judgment in his favour, but posterity revokes the decree : Quintilian, who probably had all his works before him, pronounces of Hesiod, - That he rarely soars; that great part of his works are nothing else but catalogues and strings of names, intermixed however with useful precepts

gracefully delivered and appositely addressed ; in fine, that his merit consists in the middle style of . writing.'-Talents of this sort probably recom-. mended him to the unreserved applause of all, whom superiority of genius in another affects with envy and provokes to detraction. Many such, besides the grammarian Daphidas, were found to persecute the name of Homer with malevolence, whilst he rose superior to their attacks : the rhapsodists, whose vocation it was in public and private to entertain the company with their recitations, were so con. stantly employed in repeating Homer's poems preferably to all others, that in time they were universally called Homerists : Demetrius Phalereus at length introduced them into the theatres, aud made them chaunt the poems of his favourite author on the stage : the poet Simonides, celebrated for his memory, repeated long passages of Homer, sitting in the public theatre on a seat erected for him on the stage for that purpose ; Cassander, king of Macedonia, had the whole Iliad and Odyssey by heart, and was continually repeating, not in company only, but in his private hours to himself : Stesichorus also, the sublimest of all poets next to Homer, and his greatest imitator, was remarkably fond of chaunting forth passages in the Iliad and Odyssey ; it is related also that he used frequently to repeat verses of Hesiod, Archilochus, Mimnermus, and Phocylides the Milesian, who is the supposed author of the poem entitled Parænesis yet extant. We are obliged to the grammarians for many scraps or fragments from the wrecks of authors, but in the case of Hesiod's Eoics meet with one remnant only preserved by Pausanias, and this relates to Iphigenia, who, by Hesiod's account, was by the fa. vour of Diana reprieved from extinction

and

immortalized in the person of the goddess Hecate.

As for the bards of the Orphean family, it is difficult to adjust their chronologies and descents ; have already enumerated five poets of the name of Orpheus, and said in general terms, that there were several of the name of Musæus ; they may be thus described; viz. first, Musæus, son of Antiphemus and disciple of Orpheus, styled an epic poet; he wrote a long poem of four thousand verses, containing precepts, addressed to his son Eumolpus, and thence entitled The Eumolpiad ; he wrote a hymn to Ceres, a poem on the cure of diseases, and published certain prophetic verses, though his title to these has been brought into dispute by the artifices of one Onomacritus, a plagiarist and pretended diviner in the time of Hipparchus, who put off these verses of Musæus as his own. The second Musæus was grandson of the first and son of Eumolpus; various poems are given to this Musæus, particularly The Theogony, The Sphere, The Mysteries of Initiation and Lustration, The Titans, &c. The third Mu. sæus, a Theban, was son of 'Thamyris and grandson of Philammon; he flourished about the time of the Trojan war: his father Thamyris is recorded by Homer.

And Dorion fam'd for Thamyris' disgrace,
Superior once of all the tuneful race,
Till vain of mortals' empty praise he strove
To match the seed of cloud-compelling Jove;
Too daring bard! whose unsuccessful pride
Th' immortal Muses in their art defy'd;
Th’avenging Muses of the light of day
Depriv'd his eyes, and snatch'd his voice away;
No more his heav'nly voice was heard to sing,
His hand no more awak'd the silver string.

POPE. 12. 2.

Such was the fate of blind Thamyris, but he has double security for immortality, having a place not only in the Iliad of Homer, but also in the Paradise Lost of Milton :

Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,

That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equalld with me in fate,
So were I equall’d with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides.

BOOK III.

Thus although the works of this famous bard have totally perished, and his heavenly voice is no more heard to sing, yet it has been his singular good fortune to be celebrated by the greatest poet of antiquity, and ranked with that very poet by the greatest of the moderns; and all three involved in the same visitation of blindness ; an extraordinary concurrence !

The fourth Musæus was son of Orpheus and President of the Eleusynian Mysteries: this is the Musæus, whom Justin Martyr says was instructed by his father in a more rational religion than he practised in the temple of Ceres, and taught the knowledge and worship of one supreme God,creator of all things. The fifth was Musæus of Ephesus, an epic poet ; the sixth a grammarian, whose treatise on the Isthmian games is quoted by Euripides; and the seventh and last, is that Musæus, whom the poet Martial mentions for having written Pathicis. simos libellos, and the author as it is probable of the little poem upon Hero and Leander, now extant, which Scaliger so much admires.

Archilochus flourished in Olymp. xxiii. and was a very early writer of Iambics ;-He excels, says Quintilian, in energy of style ; his periods strong,

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