Abbildungen der Seite


TO THE EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL. In order to do justice to the common interpretation of Iliad 1. 283. I shall bring into one view the arguments which support it. Professor Porson's version, as given by him in his note to the Orestes, line 663. is this :

“ Rogo te ut iram contra Achillem tuam dimittas.” The Professor has not condescended to justify this version ; yet my Cambridge opponent calls it an exquisite note. On the contrary I think it unworthy of his great name, as he uses assertion only for proof, and moralises with a lofty confidence on the prejudices of other critics, while he has hurried himself, and his readers, into an error.

1. While rícoopeces, it is allowed, generally governs an accusative, a sufficient reason can be assigned why, in this place, it governs a noun in the dative. This verb signifies to beg, request, supplicate ; but it does not exclusively imply a superior being for its object. On the other hand, sýkopai and épocopare suppose prayer or supplication to the and these govern the dative case.

Now Homer, in this place, has given to ricompuan the government of these verbs, because Nestor wished to impress on Agamemnon, that Achilles was the God, who alone was to protect the ships, and that the same humble supplication was to be presented to disarm his wrath, as the wrath of an offended deity. This is not a mere supposition : for Ulysses, when deputed in the Ninth Book to solicit his return, thus tells him, xù do danovs πέρ Παναχαιούς Τειρομένους ελέαιρε κατά στρατόν, οί σε, θεόν ώς, Τίσουσι, line 301, &c.

2. Nestor could not hope to disarm Achilles of his wrath, unless he first could soften Agamemnon, who was the aggressor, and induce him to join in the supplication. But the king, he knew, had already given his word, that he would not ask him to stay, v. 173. Nestor



'The remark in the text leads me to expose an obvious blunder of Lord Monboddo, Origin of Language, vol. ii. p. 158. “ Every intelligent reader,” says he, “thongh he do not understand Greek, may perceive, that Nestor uses a very improper argument to persuade Achilles to lay aside his anger, when he mentions that he was the bulwurk of the Greeks.But this observation was made not to Achilles, but to Agameninon. Nestor knew that no consideration was so likely to appease this prince, or to induce him to withdraw his menace, as to impress on his mind the sober conviction, that the hero, whom he threatened to disgrace, was necessary not only to the success, but even to the socurity, of the Greeks.' Accordingly, when in the sequel Agamemnon became sensible that the fleet was to be preserved only by the person and valor of Achilles, his resentment is dissipated ; and he sends the most humiliating offers to invite his return. The acknowledgment was made in the hearing of Achilles, and as it was made to the man who had dishonored him, it was calculated in the highest degree to gratify and to apprase him. The object of Monboddo is to expose the insuffi. ciency of Dr. Clarke, while, in truth, he only exposes his own folly. VOL. VI. No, XI.


meets this objection, and says, Αυταρ έγωγε λίσσομαι 'Αχιλλή: which means, as I hąve already explained, “ Do thou, Atrides, suppress thy own anger; and as thou hast declared that thou wilt not petition Achilles to stay here, I will take this upon myself, and supplicate him t8 dismiss his rage.” “Nestor, here using the present for the future tense, actually supplicates Achilles, while he meant that he would do it; and this indirect method of supplicating him would, he knew, be the most effectual way to do it. Moreover, the poet, in a line, put in the mouth of Thersites, thus alludes to the disputed verse, Il. II. 241.

'Αλλά μάλ' ουκ 'Αχιλλή χόλος Φρεσίν, αλλά μεθόμων. This verse, the meaning of which being the following, ’Axin año ουκ έστι χόλος, αλλά μέθηκε χόλον, glances at the intercession of Nestor ; and insinuates that he had been too successful in appeasing Pelides of his wrath. If Homer, therefore, may be allowed to be his own commentator, he establishes with certainty the common interpretation.

3. If Homer intended the sense maintained by my adversaries, he would have written not έγωΓΕ λίσσομαι, but εγώ ΣΕ λίσσομαι. Ρorson has introduced the pronoun into his version ; and perspicuity rendered it equally necessary in the original. On this supposition, moreover, it would have been sufficient in the poet to say, λίσσομαι μεθέμεν χόλον. The word 'Axonani is not only redundant, but it renders the whole clause equivocal; the context alone being sufficient to make it evident, that Achilles was the object of Agamemnon's anger,

4. Nestor addressing Agamemnon does not say pévos, but teòy prévos ; and this insertion of the possessive renders his language emphatic, by contrasting it with 'Ayırañü górov in the ensuing clause. But the new interpretation destroys the contrast, and takes away all propriety from an expression, which would otherwise be very appropriate.

5. According to Porson's construction, révos and kórov both express the resentment of Agamemnon, and are thus made synonymous, or nearly so. This confounds not only the meaning of two distinct words, but the character of two very different heroes, which Homer ever keeps distinct. Mévos sometimes is used in a good sense, and denotes courage, or strength of mind; and therefore the poet applies it to Atrides, who, though not wise and just, is ever sedate and decorous. On the other hand, kóros means fury or rage, and perfectly suited the impetuous character of Achilles. The latter noun is never applied to Aganiemnon, but when it is intended to distort or exaggerate his passion; and on the contrary, the former never to Achilles, but where it is intended to speak with respect of, or to dignify, his resentment. He resisted the deputies with great firmness, yet with great politeness and dignity. Accordingly, Ajax, on his return, says to Atrides, Κείνος γ' ουκ έθέλει σβέσσαι χόλον, αλλ' έτι μάλλον Πιμπλώνεται μένεος, Ιl. IX. 678.

This remark my Cambridge opponent endeavours to set aside, by the following criticism : By μένος the poet means,


rage which he showed on the spot; but kóros must be considered equivalent to simultas. Χόλος. οργης επιμόνη, says Hesychius. Παύειν μένος, and

[ocr errors]


μεθέμεν κόλον, are therefore two different things; the μένος might be checked, while the kóros still existed; so that airde is here highly proper in the sense of deinde." Now this criticism, from beginning to end, is in exact opposition to the truth ; and I wonder that it could have been dictated. If this be true, we are, to consider kóros as synonymous with xótos, grudge, revenge, or steadfast hate : see Il. 1. 82. But the known character of Achilles, as open, fiery, and impetuous, and the constant application of the term to him in the course of the Iliad, show that it has quite a different meaning. I was surprised to be told, that Hesychius gives this explanation; and, upon consulting him, I see that he does not. His text is úgyn, farovn; and is, no doubt, corrupted. A critic has proposed an emendation, and my adversary has thought himself free to represent the licentiousness of conjecture for the genuine words of Hesychius. This is in character, and I am persuaded that nothing but artifices of this kind can support


I submit whether Hesychius had not written bęyn exipcévns, furious rage. This is precisely

. the sense of kóros : and he thus agrees with Suidas, who explains it transient fury; and with Horace, who calls anger brevis furor.

6. The supporters of the new version maintain that airde is a mere conjunction—then, after that, besides, in addition. Now supposing that it has this sense, the use of it here is incongruous; and forms a species of, connexion, to which there is nothing similar in Homer, or in any other Greek author; and affords, withal, a sense tautologous, puerile, and totally unworthy of Homer, or any writer

“ Do thou, Atrides, restrain thy anger, and then I supplicate thee to dismiss thy rage towards Achilles.” So Nestor commands Agamemnon to restrain his anger. To this succeeds another act ; and what is that? he supplicates him to do what he has already commanded to be done !! But I maintain, that cutie has no such meaning. It always marks opposition, contrast, expressed or implied. This I have already shown by various instances; and that, after the errors, into which my adversary. has fallen, respecting the use of this word, he should again, without proof, hazard the assertion that it signifies deinde, is really surprising. He seems to think that he can with safety and impunity assert any thing, if it be to support Heyné and Professor Porson. Í will let him know, that the authority of these men, however great in other respects, is of no moment, when opposed by the authority of reason ; and the attempt of so feeble a critic to bear them up, when overwhelmed by the weight of argument, can only provoke ridicule, Heyné refers to two passages, where he supposes avràę to mean et prætereà ; but I affirm with confidence that he is mistaken. In Od. xv. 159. it means the same with eand, having où póvor implied“ I received from Nestor not only every kind attention, while in his house, but I bring rich presents.'

So also in Od. vii. 121. “ Not only pears grow old upon pears, but (airie) grapes upon grapes." This particle, followed by the pronoun égye, occurs scores of times in the course of the Iliad and Odyssey; and in every place it presents an evident contrast or oppo.'

of sense.

[ocr errors]

sition, with some noun or pronoun preceding it. I will take the first instance that presents itself:

'Εχθρός γάς μοι κείνος όμως είδαο πύλησιν,
ος κ' έτερόν μεν κευθει ένι Φρεσίν, άλλο δε βάζει.
Αυταρ έγών ερέω, ώς μοι δοκεί είναι άριστα.

Il. ix. 312. Achilles received the deputies, Ajax and Ulysses, as friends, and treated them with kindness; but he could not but know and dislike the double character of the latter : he knew, also, that all the Grecian chiefs were greatly displeased with the insolent conduct of Atrides, and yet

had not the magnanimity to declare their sentiments. At their duplicity, or want of firmness, in this respect, Achilles glances, when he says that “ he hated the man, as he did the gates of Hades, who said one thing with his tongue, and entertained another in his breast" -- exsiyos and yw are opposed, and auraię marks the opposition between them. This observation has escaped Heyné, whose learned labors I greatly value, though I by no means think him an oracle.

7. I observed that residinpes, with a noun in the dative, and another in the accusative, means to hurl, throw ;' a sense, the reverse of that given to it by Porson. This observation my adversary evades in the following manner : “ Your correspondent takes for granted the very thing he ought to prove. If, therefore, Achilles denotes the object of the motive implied in pelépcev, the mean. ing will be to hurl at Achilles !! viz. if Achilles be the object hurled at, he is the object hurled at. Very concisely proved. Xoror 'Aginami, in this place, can signify nothing but his anger for, or towards, Achilles. My argument supposes, that 'Axıraña depends upon, or is governed by resdéues : and this is the construction adopted by Heyné

Atride, tu autem compesce tuam iram; verùm ego ipse supplico tibi, ut in Achillem deponas iram. He, however, says, nisi mavis dictum kórov ’Axinama pro sis ’Axinaña, meaning, I suppose, that the 'AX11277 depends upon kórov, or a preposition understood, and not on the verb. This, I presume, is the acceptation of Porson, and is that intended by your correspondent ; though no construction appears to me more fallacious. The dative case is often used, I grant, by the poets, for the genitive; but then the meaning of 'Axunma xónov would be the anger of Achilles himself, and not the anger of another towards him. Thus towards the beginning, we read, 'A repéreront θυμώ for Αγαμέμνονος θυμώ; and it would be perverse in the extreme to render this the passion towards Agamemnon." Yet my opponent roundly asserts, that the phrase can in this place signify nothing but

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Lord Monboddo renders ’Axraani pezdéglev xórov, to forgive Achilles for his passion, and supports this construction from a passage of Herodotus, lib. viii

. č. 140. which must be allowed to be very apposite. And this passage I ought to notice, because, in candor, I ought to allow, that it sets aside, in part, my assertion, that pelinping connected with a dative noin, necessarily means to hurl, transfer, remove. Porson treats the Scotch interpretation with contempt, though it is far more justitiable than his own. Yet no man would think of such a construction as that adopted by the Scotch critic, unless it were to avoid some difficulty.

the anger of Agamemnon towards Achilles. I reply, such a sense is not admissible, because contrary to all analogy: The very expression occurs in Il. 11. 241. and has there no such signification ; nor can an instance of the same kind be found in all Homer, nor, I believe, in any other Greek author. Resting on the solidity of these arguments, I venture to contradict Porson, Heyné, and Brunck; and I hope your correspondent will not again have the assurance to oppose his own assertions, or even these great names, to reason and truth. At all events, I wish to attract the attention of those, who are most competent to decide. For these I write ; and I am confident in the end of their suffrage.


Critical and Explanatory Notes on the Prometheus Desmotes

of Æschylus; with Strictures on the GLOSSARY, and the NOTES to Mr. Blomfield's Edition.


V. 13. 'EMIOANN. Upon this word, in the sense of the business in hand, I have spoken in the Class. Journ. No. VII. p. 209. : I shall here make some further observations upon it. It appears to me, that the proverbial phrase, τα έν ποσίν, τα εμπόδων, which is used in the sense of to mind the business before you, had its origin in the story, which, if I remember rightly, is told of Thales: as he was once gazing at the stars, he was so absorbed in his own astronomical thoughts, that he did not perceive that he had fallen into a ditch, and was rebuked by an old woman, whose language has thus been translated,

III luck attends the man, who looks too high,

And can a stur, but not a marl-pit spy. This unlucky fall might become a standing joke against the philosophers : hence Themist. in Orat. 24. p. 307. D. (cited by Valckenaer, in his Diatr. p. 26.) says, (tuxai égwrixaà xal Quróxcnou) TA 'EN ΠΟΣΙΝ ατιμάσασαι, περιπολούσι ΤΟΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΝ, Rhes. V. 482. (cited p. 32.):

μή νύν τα πόρρω, τάγγύθεν μεθείς, σκόπει. T. Gataker says, in his Annotationes in Marc. Anton. p. 58. “ To żu xegoi, i.e. Tò magòv, id, quod in manibus, vel præ manibus est : ut infra l. iï. 12. et 1. vi. 2. Livius, 1, iv. Cum tantum belli in manibus esset, et l. xxvi. Omittere id, quod in manibus erat, bellum coegerunt, Plin. Min. L. Ep. Non vacat, quia vindemiæ in manibus, Seneca de Benef. 1. iv. c. I. Nihil tam necessarium, aut magis cum

« ZurückWeiter »