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von

THE

MONTHLY EPITOME,

FOR OCTOBER, 1802.

CXXXIX. The ILIAD AND ODYs- plorable illness; and though the fore

SEY OF HOMER. Translated into most wish of my heart was to lessen English Blank Verse, by the late the intenseness of his misery, I was W. Cow'PER, Esq. The 2d Edition, utterly unable to afford him any with copious Alterations and Notes. aid. Prepared for the Press by the Trans- “Thad however a pleasing, though a lator, and now published with a melancholy opportunity of tracing Preface by his Kinsman, J. John- his recent footsteps into the field of sox, LL. B. Chaplain to the Bishop Troy, and in the palace of Ithaca. of Peterborough, 4 vols. royal 8vo. He had materially altered both the

Iliad and Odyssey, and, so far as my EXTRACT FROM THE PREFACE.

ability allowed me to judge, they HAVE noother pretensions the were each of them . occasion, than as a faithful transcriber bookseller, inter persed the two of the manuscript, and a diligent cor- poems with copious notes, for the rector of the press, which are, doubt. most part translations of the ancient less, two of ihe very humblest em- Scholia, and gleaned, at the cost of ployments in thať niost extensive pro- many valuable hours, from the pages vince. I have wanted the ability to of Barnes, Clarke, and Villoi-on. It attempt any thing higher, and, for- has been a constant subject of regret tunately for the reader, I have also to the enthusiatic admirers of “The wanted the presumption What, Task," that the exercise of such however, I can do, I will. Instead of marvellous original powers should critical remark, I will furnish him have been so long suspended by the with anecdote. He shall trace from drudgery of translation ; and, in this beginning to end the progress of the view, their quarrel with the illustrifollowing work, and in proportion as ous Greek will be doubtless extended I have the happiness to engage his to his commentators. attention, I shall merit the name of a “ During two long years from this fortunate Editor.

most anxious period, the translation “ It was in the darkest season of a continued as it was, and though, in most calamitous depression of his the hope of its being able to divert spirits, that I was summoned to the bis melancholy, I bad attempted house of my inestimable friend the more than once to introduce it to its Translator, in the month of January author, I was every time painfully 1794. He had happily completed a obliged to desist. But in the summer revisal of his Homer, and was think of ninety-six, when he had resided ing of the preface to his new edition, with me in Norfolk twelve miserable when all his satisfaction in the one, months, the introduction long wished. and whatever he had projected for for took place. To my inexpressi. the other, in a moment vanished from ble astonishment and joy ! surprised his mind. He had fallen into a de him, one morning, with the Iliad in Vol. I.

4 D

his hand; and with an excess of de- tion. For though the interleared light which I am still more unable to copy was always at hand, and in the describe, I the next day discovered multitude of iis altered places could what he had been writing. ., hardly fail to offer some things worthy What the voice of persuasion had to be preserved, but which the rafailed in for a year, accident silently vages of illness, and the lapse of time, accomplished in a single day. The might have utterly effaced from his circumstance I allude to was this, I mind, I could not often persuade the received a copy of the Iliad and Translator to consult it. 'I was there. Odyssey of Pope, then recently pub- fore induced, in the course of tranlished by the Editor above mentioned scribing, to compare the two revisals (Mr. Wakefield), with illustrative as I went along, and to plead for the and critical notes of his own. As it continuance of the first correction, commended Mr. Cowper's transla- when it forcibly struck me as better tion in the preface, and occasionally than the last. This, however, but selpointed out its inerits in the notes, dom occurred; and the practice at I was careful to place it in his way, Jength was completely left off, by his though it was more from a habit of consenting to receive into the nuexperiment which I had contracted, ber of books which were daily laid than from well grounded hopes of open before him, the interleaved copy success. But what a fortunate cir., to which I allude. cumstance was the arrival of this “ At the end of the first six books of work? and by what name worthy of the Diad, the arrival of spring brought its influence shall I call it? In the the usual interruptions of exercise inouth of an indifferent person it and air, which increased as the summight be chance, but in mine, whom mer advanced to a degree so unfa. it rendered so peculiarly happy, com- vourable to the progress of Homer, mon gratitude requires that it should that in the requisite attention to their be Providence.

salutary claims, the revisal was at one “ As I watched him with an inde- time altogether at a stand. Only scribable interest in his progress, I four books were added in the course had the satisfaction to find, that after of nine months; but opportunity rea few mornings given to promiscu- turning as the winter set in, there ous correction, and to frequent peru- were added in less than seven weeks "sal of the above mentioned notes, he four more: and thus ended the year was evidently settling on the six- ninety-seven. teenth book. This he went regu- “ As the spring that succeeded was larly through, and the fruits of an a happier spring, so it led to a happier application so happily resumed were,

We had no longer air and one day with another, about sixty exercise alone, but exercise and Ho. new lines. But with the end of the six. mer hand in hand. He even folteenth book he had closed the cor- lowed us thrice to the sea; and wherections of the year. An excursion ther our walks were to the coast, which immediately followed, though it promised an acces

• On the margin of the land, sion of strength to the body, could

O'er the green summit of the cliffs, not fail to interfere with the pursuits

whose base of the mind. It was therefore with

• Beats back the roaring surge,' much less surprise than regret that I

* or on the shore

· Of the untillable and barren deep,' saw him relinquish the “Tale of Troy divine."

they were always within hearing of “ Such was the prelude to the last bis magic song.. About the middle revisal, which in the month of January, of this busy summer, the revisal of ninety• seven, Mr. Cowper was per- the Niad was brought to a ciose, and suaded to undertake, and to a faith- on the very next day, the 24th of July, ful copy, as I trust, of which I have the correction of the Odyssey comat this time the honour 10 conduct menced-a morning rendered memothe reacher. But it may not be amiss rable by a kind and unexpected visit to observe, that with regard to the from the patroness of that work, the earlier books of the Iliad, it was less Dowager Lady Spencer! a revisal of the altered text, than of “It is not my intention to detain the the text as it stands in the first edi. reader with a progressive account of

summer.

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