Obrazy na stronie

neighbouring country abounded in thick groves of these trees, together with the tree which afforded the balm or balsam of Gilead. At present, however, there is not a tree of any kind, either palm or balsam, and scarcely any verdure or bushes, to be seen about the site of this deserted city. But the desolation with which its ruins are surrounded is rather to be ascribed, according to Mr. Buckingham, to the cessation of the usual agricultural labours on the soil, and the want of a distribution of water over it by the aqueducts, the remains of which evince that they were constructed chiefly for that purpose, than to any change in the climate or the soil; an observation which may be extended to many parts of the Holy Land. (Mansford's Scripture Gazetteer, p. 208, seqq.) IERNs, one of the ancient names of Ireland. Pytheas, who, to his own personal acquaintance with this quarter of the globe, added much information respecting it, which he had obtained from the early inhabitants of Gades in Spain, is the first who calls Ireland by the name of Ierne (#'Iépvn). From Aristotle, a contemporary of his, we learn that what are now England and Ireland were then denominated Bperavukai vijoot. (De Mundo, c. 3.) In Caesar's commentaries a change of appellation appears. England is there styled Britannia, and Ireland, Hibernia. (B. G., 5, 12, &c.) The idea very naturally suggests itself, that Caesar may have given this name to the latter island of his own accord, for the purpose of denoting the severity of its climate, and that the meaning of the term is nothing more than Winter-land. Such a supposition, however, although it may wear a plausible appearance, seems to have no foundation whatever in fact. It is more than probable that Caesar gives the name as he heard it from others, without associating with it any idea of cold. He merely places the island to the west of Britain. It was Strabo who made it lie far to the north, and, in consequence of this error, first gave rise to the opinion, if any such were ever in reality entertained, that the climate of Ireland was cold and rigorous. But a question here presents itself, whether Ierne or Hibernia be the true appellation of this island. The latter, we believe, will, on examination, appear entitled to the preference. It is more than probable that Pytheas received the name Ierne from the mouths of the neighbouring nations, contracted from Hibernia. This supposition would approach to certainty, if we possessed any means of substantiating as a fact, that the appellation Hiberni, which is given to the inhabitants of the island, was used in the old accounts respecting it, and not first introduced by so late a writer as Avienus. A strong argument may be deduced, however, from what appears to have been the ancient pronunciation of the word Hibernia. The consonant b may have been softened down so as to resemble ou in sound, a change far from uncommon; and hence Hibernia would be pronounced as if written 'Iovepvia, whence Ierne may very easily have been formed. (Consult remarks under the article Iuverma.) The modern name Erin, which is sometimes applied to Ireland, is an evident derivation from Ierne, if not itself the ancient Erse root of that term. Ireland was known at a very early period to the ancient mariners of southern Europe, by the appellation of the Holy Island. This remarkable title leads to the suspicion that the primitive seat of the Druidical system of worship may have been in Ireland. Caesar, it is true, found Druids in Gaul, but he states, at the same time, that they were always sent to complete their religious education in Britain; and we shall perceive, if we compare later authorities, that the sanctuary of the Druids was not in Britain itself, but in the island of Anglesea, between which and the adjacent coast of Ireland the distance across is only 85 miles. Had the Romans extended their inquiries on this subject to Ireland itself, we should evidently have received 4 P

such accounts from them as would have substantiated what has just been advanced. As regards the early population of this island, it may, we believe, be safely assumed as a fact, that the northern half of the country was peopled by the Scoti; not only because in later years we find Scoti in this quarter as well as on the Isle of Man, but because even at the present day the Erse language is not completely obliterated in some of the northern provinces. The southern half of the island seems to have had a Celtic population. It is a very curious fact, however, that the names of many places in ancient Ireland, as given by Ptolemy, bear no resemblance whatever either to Scottish or Celtic appellations. This has given rise to various theories, and, in particular, to one which favours the idea of migrations from the Spanish peninsula. Tacitus considers the Silures in Britain as of Spanish origin; but this supposition is merely grounded on an accidental resemblance in some national customs. Inquiries have been made in modern days into the Basque language, which is supposed to contain traces of the ancient Iberian, but no analogy has been discovered between it and the modern Irish. The Roman arms never reached Ireland, although merchants of that nation often visited its coasts. From the accounts of the latter, Ptolemy obtained materials for his map of this island. It is worthy of remark, that this geographer does not name a single place in northern Scotland, whereas, in the same quarter of the sister island, he mentions as many as 10 cities, one of them of considerable size, and three others of the number situate on the coast. Is not this a proof that Ireland, at this early period, had attained a considerable degree of civilization? A barbarous people never found cities on the coast. In addition to what has thus far been remarked, it may be stated that Herodotus was equally ignorant of Ireland and Britain. Eratosthenes gives a general and rude outline of the latter, but knew nothin of the former. Strabo had some knowledge, thoug very imperfect, of both. Pliny's information, with regard to both Britain and Ireland, greatly surpasses that of his predecessors. Diodorus Siculus calls the latter Iris or Irin, and copies a foolish story of the matives being cannibals. (Mannert, Geogr., vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 33, seqq.) Jerusalem, the capital of Judaea. yma.) Igilgilis, a town of Mauretania Caesariensis, west of the mouth of the river Ampsagas, and north of Cirta. It is now Gigeri or Jigel. (Pliny, 5, 2–Amm. Marcell., 29, 5.) Igilium, now Giglio, an island of Italy, near the coast of Etruria, off the promontory of Argentarius. The thick woods of this island served as a place of refuge for a great number of Romans, who fled from the sack of Rome by Attila. (Mela, 2, 7–Rutilius, It. I, 325.) IGNatius, a martyr who suffered at Rome during the third persecution of the Christians. He was a Syrian by birth, and an immediate disciple of St. John the Evangelist, who, in the 67th year of the Christian era, committed the church at Antioch to his pastoral superintendence, as successor to Euodius. Over this bishopric he presided for upward of 40 years, when the Emperor Trajan, after his triumph over the Dacians, entering the city, exercised many severities towards those who professed the Christian faith, and summoned the prelate himself before him, on which occasion Ignatius conducted himself with such boldness in the imperial presence, that he was forthwith sent to Rome, and ordered to be exposed in the amphitheatre to the fury of wild beasts. This dreadful death he underwent with great fortitude, having availed himself of the interval between his sentence and its execution to strengthen, by his exhortations, the faith of the Roman converts. After his decease, which took place A.D. ".* accord

(Wid. Hierosoling to some accounts, A.D. 116, his remains were carried to Antioch for interment.—If, as some suppose, Ignatius was not one of the little children whom Jesus took up in his arms and blessed, it is certain that he conversed familiarly with the apostles, and was perfectly acquainted with their doctrine. Of his works there remain seven epistles, edited in 1645 by Archbishop Usher, republished by Cotelerius in 1672, in his collection of the writings of the apostolical fathers; and again printed in 1697 at Amsterdam, with notes, and the commentaries of Usher and Pearson. An English translation of them, from the pen of Archbishop Wake, is to be found among the works of that prelate. There are some other letters of minor importance, which, though the question of their authenticity has met with supporters, are generally considered to have been attributed to him on insufficient authority.—II. A patriarch of Constantinople, about the middle of the ninth century. He was son to the Emperor Michael Curopalata, and on the deposition of his father assumed the ecclesiastical habit. The uncompromising firmness which he displayed aster his elevation to the patriarchal chair in 847, in subjecting Bardas, a court-favourite, to the censures of the church, on account of an incestuous connexion, caused him to undergo a temporary deprivation of office. Under Basil, however, he was restored to his former dignity, and presided in his capacity of patriarch at the eighth general council. His death took place about the year 878. (Gorton's Biogr. Dict, vol. 2, p. 162.) Iguvium, a city of Umbria, on the Via Flaminia, to the south of Tifernum, and at the foot of the main chain of the Apennines. It is now Eugubbio, or, as it is more commonly called, Gubbio. Iguvium was a municipal town; and, as it would seem from the importance attached to its possession by Caesar when he invaded Italy, a place of some consequence. (Cas., Bell. Civ., 1, 2–Compare Cic. ad Att., 7, 13.—Plin., 3, 14.) This city has acquired great celebrity in modern times, from the discovery of some interesting monuments in its vicinity, in the year 1440. These consist of several bronze tablets covered with inscriptions, some of which are in Umbrian, others in Latin characters. They have been made the subject of many a learned dissertation by modern literati. The most recent work on the subject is by Grotefend, entitled Rudimenta Linguar Umbrica, 4to, Hannov., 1835–39. Ilda or Ilva, an island of the Tyrrhene Sea, off the coast of Etruria, and about ten miles from the promontory of Populonium. It was early celebrated for its rich iron mines; but by whom they were first discovered and worked is uncertain, as they are said to exhibit the marks of labours carried on for an incalculable time. (Pini, Ossert. Mineral sulla miniera di ferro di Rio, &c., 1777, 8vo.—Lettre sur l'histoire naturelle de l'sle d’ Elbe, par Koestlin, Vienne, 1780, 8vo.) It even seems to have been a popular belief among the ancients, that the metallic substance was constantly renewed. (Aristot., de Mir., p. 1158.—Strab., 223. —Plin., 34, 14.) It is probable that the Phoenicians were the first to make known the mineral riches of this island, and that it was from them the Tyrrheni learned to estimate its value, which may have held out to them no small inducement for settling on a coast otherwise deficient in natural advantages. It is to the latter people that we ought to trace the name of AEthalia, given to this island by the Greeks, and which the latter derived from alto (to burn), in allusion to the number of forges on the island. According to Polybius (ap. Steph. Byz.), the same appellation was given to Lemnos, a Tyrrhenian settlement in early times. Ilva is now Elba. (Cramer's Anc. Italy, vol. 1, p. 210.) Ilerc A5Nes, a Spanish tribe, east of the Edetani, on both ": of the Iberus, near its mouth. Dertosa

(now Tortosa) and Tarraco (now Tarragona) were two of their towns. (Ukert, Geogr., vol. 2, p. 418.) Ilerda, the capital city of the Ilergetes in Spain, situate on the Sicoris or Segre, a tributary of the Iberus. (Strabo, 161.) The situation of this place, near the foot of the Pyrenees, exposed it incessantly to the horrors of war, from the time that the Romans began to penerate into Spain. It was celebrated for the resistance it made against Caesar, under the lieutenants of Pompey, Afranius and Petreius, who were, however, finally defeated. (Cas., B. Civ., 1,61.—Flor., 4, 12. —Appian, B. Civ., 2, 42.) In the reign of Gallienus it was almost entirely destroyed by the barbarians, who, migrating from Germany, ravaged the western parts of the empire. It is now Lerida in Catalonia. (Auson., Epist, ad Paullin., 26, 59.-Id, Profess., 23, 4.—Ukert, Geogr., vol. 2, p. 451.) ILERGEtes. Wid. Ilerda. Ilia, otherwise called Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitor, king of Alba, was appointed one of the vestal virgins by Amulius, after the latter had wrested from his brother Numitor the kingdom of Alba. Amulius made his niece a vestal to prevent her having any offspring, the vestals being bound to perpetual chastity. Mars, however, according to the old legend, overpowered the timid maiden in the sacred grove, whither she had gone to draw water from a spring for the service of the temple. She became the mother of Romulus and Remus, and, according to one account, was buried alive on the banks of the Tiber. Ennius, however, as cited by Porphyrion (ad Hor, Od., 1, 2, 17), makes her to have been cast into the Tiber, previous to which she had become the bride of the Anio. Horace, on the contrary, speaks of her as having married the god of the Tiber. Servius (ad AEm., 1,274) alludes to this version of the fable as adopted by Horace and others. Acron also, in his scholia on the passage in Horace just cited, speaks of Ilia as having married the god of the Tiber. According to the account which he gives, Ilia was buried on the bank of the Anio, and the river, having overflowed its borders, carried her remains down to the Tiber; hence she was said to have espoused the deity of the last-mentioned stream. Ilias, a celebrated poem composed by Homer, upon the Trojan war, which delineates the wrath of Achilles, and all the calamities which befell the Greeks, from the refusal of that hero to appear in the field of battle. It finishes with the funeral rites of Hector, whom Achilles had sacrificed to the shade of his friend Patroclus, and is divided into twenty-four books.—Modern critics differ very much in opinion with regard to the proper termination of the Iliad. Wolf and Heyne, with others, think that there is an excess of two books, and that the death of Hector is the true end of the poem. The 23d and 24th books, therefore, they consider as the work of another author. Granville Penn, however, has undertaken to show (Primary Argument of the Iliad, Lond, 1821), that the poem is to be taken as a whole, and that its primary and governing argument is the sure and irresistible power of the divine will over the most resolute and determined will of man, exemplified in the death and burial of Hector, by the instrumentality of Achilles, as the immediate preliminary to the destruction of Troy –The following observations on the unity and general character of the Iliad, taken from an able critique in the Quarterly Review (No. 87, p. 147, seqq.), may be read with advantage by the student. “Does the Iliad appear to have been cast, whole and perfect, in one mould, by the vivifying energy of its original creator, or does it bear undeniable marks of its being an assemblage of uncon: nected parts, blended together, or fused into one no by a different and more recent compiler!—We cannot but think the universal admiration of its unity by the better, the poetic age of Greece, almost conclusive testimony to its original uniform composition. It wo not till the age of the grammarians that its primitive integrity was called in question; nor is it injustice to assert, that the minute and analytical spirit of a grammarian is not the best qualification, for the profound feeling, the comprehensive conception of an harmonious whole. The most exquisite anatomist may be no judge of the symmetry of the human frame, and we would take the opinion of Chantrey or Westmacott on the proportions and general beauty of a form rather than that of Mr. Brodie or Sir Astley Cooper.—There is some truth, though some malicious exaggeration, in the lines of Pope:

“The critic eye, that microscope of wit,
Sees hairs and pores, examines bit by bit:
How parts relate to parts, or they to whole;
The body's harmony, the beaming soul;
Are things which Kuster, Burman, Wasse, shall see,
When man's whole frame is obvious to a flea.'

—We would not comprehend, under this sweeping denunciation, men of genius as well as critical sagacity, such as Heyne and Wolf, still less those of the highest poetic feeling, who, both in this and other countries, are converts to their system. Yet there is a sort of contagion in literary as well as religious scepticism; we like, in scholarship, to be on the stronger side, and the very names of Bentley, Wolf, and Heyne would sweep a host of followers into their train. In the authors of a paradox, criticism, like jealousy, furnishes the food which it grows on ; and it is astonishing, when once possessed with a favourite opinion, how it draws “from trifles confirmation strong,' and overlooks the most glaring objections; while, if the new doctrine once forces its way into general notice, ardent proselytes crowd in from all quarters, until that which was at first a timid and doubtful heresy, becomes a standard article of the scholar's creed, from which it requires courage to dissent. Such to us appears to have been the fate of the hypotheses before us. —For, in the first place, it seems that many of the objections to the original unity of the poem apply with equal force to the Pisistratid compilation. It is, for instance, quite as likely, that in the heat of composition the bard should have forgotten something; that, for example, owing to his obliviousness, the Pylaemenes, whom he had slain outright in the fifth book, should revive, gallantly fighting, in the thirteenth; and thus, in a different way from the warrior of the Italian poet:

“Andare combattendo, ed esser morto.”

The slow and cautious compiler is even less likely to have made such an oversight than the rapid and inventive poet; and, by-the-way, Sancho Panza's wife's name is changed, through Cervantes' forgetfulness of such trifles, in the second part of Don Quixote; but no such lapsus can be alleged against the spurious continuator of the romance, Avellenada. Nor, secondly, will any critical reader of Homer pretend that we possess the Homeric poems entire and uninterpolated. That they were, at one period of their history, recited in broken fragments; that the wandering rhapsodists would not scruple to insert occasionally verses of their own ; that certain long and irrelevant passages of coarser texture may have thus been interwoven into the rich tissue of the work—all these points will readily be conceded: but while these admissions explain almost every discrepance of composition and anomaly of language and versification, they leave the main question, the unity of the original design, entirely untouched.—We will hazard one more observation before we venture to throw down our glove in defence of the suspected unity of the Iliad. If, on Heyne's supposition (for the objection does not strictly apply to that of Wolf), the i. was compiled from scattered fragments of ancient poetry in the age of the

Pisistratidae, it is surely unaccountable that, considering the whole of the Trojan war must have been a savourite subject with these wandering bards, all the more valuable part of this poetry should easily combine into a plan, embracing only so short a period of these ten years of splendid Grecian enterprise. , Had not one of these numerous Homers touched with Homeric life and truth any of the other great poetical events which preceded, or the still more striking incidents which followed the wrath of Achilles and the death of Hector—the destruction of the city, for instance—the midnight devastation of ancient Ilium ? We are far from asserting that many passages of the Iliad—as the adventures of Diomed, the night enterprise of Diomed and Ulysses, with the death of Rhesus—necessarily belong to that period of the war; it is possible that they may have been inlaid into the work by a later and a foreign hand; but it is somewhat incredible that the compilers should have been able to condense the whole of the nobler Homeric poetry into the plan of the Iliad and Odyssey; and if they rejected any passages of equal merit, what became of them : Did they form the poems of Arctinus, Stasinus, and Lesches! were they left to be moulded up in the Cyclic poems? But how immeasurably inferior, by the general consent of Greece, was all the rest of their epic poetry to the Iliad and Odyssey ! It is probable that the better passages in the poem of Quintus Calaber are borrowed, or but slightly modified, from the Cyclic poets; but how rarely do we recognise the clear, the free, the Homeric life and energy of the two great poems' But we must go farther. To us, we boldly confess, the fable of the Iliad is, if not its greatest, among its greatest perfections; the more we study it, like a vast and various yet still uniform building, the more it assumes a distinct relation of parts, a more admirable consonance in its general effect: it is not the simple unity of the single figure, as in the Odyssey, but it is the more daring complexity of the historical design, the grouping of a multitude of figures, subordinate to the principal, which appears the more lofty from the comparative height of those around him. The greatness of Achilles in the Iliad is not that of Teneriffe, rising alone from the level surface of the ocean, but rather that of Atlas, the loftiest peak of a gradually ascending chain; he is surrounded by giants, yet still collo supereminet omnes. Much of the difficulty has arisen from seeking in the Iliad a kind of technical unity, foreign to the character and at variance with the object of the primitive epopee : it is a unity, as a French critic, La Motte, long ago remarked, of interest. Mr. Coleridge has sensibly observed, “it may well, indeed, be doubted whether the alleged difficulty is not entirely the critic's own creation; whether the presumption of the necessity for a pre-arranged plan, exactly commensurate with the extent of the poem, is not founded on a misconception of the history and character of early heroic poetry.” The question is not, whether the whole fable is strictly comprised within the brief proposition of the subject, in the simple exordium, but whether the hearer's mind is carried on with constant and unfailing excitement; whether, if the bard had stopped short of the termination of his poem, he would not have left a feeling of dissatisfaction on the mind; at least, whether every event, even to the lamentations over the body of Hector, does not flow so naturally from the main design, and seem so completely to carry us on in an unbroken state of suspense and intense curiosity, that even to the last verse we are almost inclined to regret that the strain breaks off too soon :

“The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he a while
Thought him still speaking.”

It is much to be desired, that, as the *...* the 7

dividers of the Iliad, have zealously sought out every apparent discrepance and contradiction in the several parts of the poem, some diligent student, on the other side, would examine into all the fine and delicate allusions between the most remote parts—the preparations in one book for events which are developed in another—the slight prophetic anticipations of what is to come, and the equally evanescent references to the past—those inartificial and undesigned touches which indisputably indicate that the same mind has been perpetually at work in a subtler manner than is conceivable in a more recent compiler. This has been done in a few instances by M. Lange, in his fervent vindication of the unity of the Iliad, addressed to the celebrated Goethe ; in more by Mr. Knight, who has applied himself to obviating the objections of Heyne, but still not so fully or so perfectly as, we are persuaded, might be done. It is obviously impossible for us, in our limited space, to attempt an investigation at once so minute and so extensive, nor can we find room for more than a brief and rapid outline of that unity of interest which appears to us to combine the several books of the Iliad, if not into one preconceived and predistributed whole, yet into one continuous story; in which, however the main object be at times suspended, and apparently almost lost sight of, it rises again before us, and asserts its predominant importance, while all the other parts of the design, however prominent and in bold relief, recede and acknowledge their due subordination to that which is the central, the great leading figure of the majestic group. The general design of the Iliad, then, was to celebrate the glory of the Grecian chieftains at the most eventful period of the war before Troy; the especial object, the pre-eminent glory of the great Thessalian chieftain, during this at the same time the most important crisis of his life. The first book shows us at once who is to be what is vulgarly called the hero of the poem: Achilles stands forth as the assertor of the wer of the gods—the avenger of the injured priestood—taking the lead with the acknowledged superiority due to his valour, bearding the sovereign of men, the great monarch, who commands the expedition. Wronged by Agamemnon, so as to enlist the generous sympathies on his side, yet without any disparagement to the dignity of his character, he recedes into inaction, but it is an inaction which more forcibly enthrals our interest. In another respect, nothing shows the good fortune, or, rather, the excellent judgment of the poet, so much as this dignified secession through so large a part of this poem. Had Achilles been brought more frequently forward, he must have been successfully resisted, and thus his pre-eminent valour have been disparaged; or the poet must have constantly raised up antagonists more and more valiant and formidable, in the same manner as the romancers are obliged, in order to keep up the fame of their Amadis or Esplandian, to go on creating more tall, and monstrous, and manyheaded giants, till they have exhausted all imaginable dimensions, and all calculable multiplication of heads and arms. The endless diversity of his adventures permits Ulysses, in the Odyssey, to be constantly on the scene. His character rises with the dangers to which he is exposed, for he contends with the elements and the gods. Achilles could scarcely be in danger, for his antagonists must almost always be men. It is surprising how much the sameness of war is varied in the Iliad, but this chiefly arises from its fluctuations, which could scarcely have taken place in the presence of Achilles, without lowering his transcendent powers. Yet, though he recedes, Achilles is not lost to our sight; like the image of Brutus in the Roman procession, his absence, particularly as on every opportunity some allusion is made to his superior valour, power, or even beauty and swiftness, rivets our attention. In the mean time, the occasion is seized for displaying

the prowess of the other great chieftains; they are led forth in succession, exhibiting splendid valour and enterprise, but still are found wanting in the hour of trial; the gallantry of Diomed, the spirit of Menelaus, the heavy brute force of Ajax, the obstinate courage of Idomeneus—even the power and craft of the deities, are employed in vain to arrest the still advancing, still conquering forces of Hector and the Trojans, till at last they are thundering before the outworks of the camp, and forcing their way into its precincts. Not that the progress of Trojan success is rapid and continuous; the war fluctuates with the utmost variety of fortune; the hope and fear of the hearer is in a constant state of excitement, lest Hector should fall by a meaner hand, and, notwithstanding the proud secession of Achilles, Greece maintain her uninterrupted superiority. Still, on the whole, Jove is inexorable; the tide of Trojan success swells onward to its height; Patroclus, in the arms of Achilles, arrests it for a tiine, but in vain; it recoils with redoubled fury; up to the instant, the turning point of the poem, the tremendous crisis for which the whole Iliad has hitherto been, as it were, a skilful prelude; when, unarmed and naked, Achilles, with his voice alone, and by the majesty of his appearance, blazing with the manifest terrors of the deity, arrests at once and throws back the tide of victory; and from that moment the safety, the triumph of Greece, are secure, the fate of Hector and of Troy sealed for ever. This passage, as expressive of human energy, mingled with the mysterious awe attendant on a being environed by the gods, is the most sublime in the whole range of poetry. (Il., 18, 245.) The only parallel to this unrivalled passage is the crisis or turning point in the fortunes of the Odyssey, when Ulysses throws off at once his base disguise, leaps on the threshold, and rains his terrible arrows among the cowering suiters. There is the same mingling of the supernatural as Ulysses tries his bow.—These two passages we have never read and compared, without feeling, however from all other reasons sceptics as to the single authorship of the two great poems, an inward and almost irresistible conviction of the identity of mind from which they sprang—this convergence, as it were, of the whole interest to a single point, and that point—that trepitéreva, as the Greek critics would call it—brought out with such intense and transcendent energy, the whole power of the leading character condensed, and bursting forth in one unrivalled effort. Each seems too original to be an imitation, and though apparently of the same master, of that master by no means servilely copying himself.—On no part of the Iliad has so much been written as on the armour framed by Vulcan, more especially on the shield of Achilles. We would only point out the singular felicity of its position, as a quiet relief and resting-place between the first sudden breaking forth of the unarmed Achilles, and his more prepared and final going out to battle; two passages which, if they had followed too close upon each other, would have injured the distinctness and completeness of each. Of the final going forth of Achilles to battle, his irresistible prowess, his conflict with the Rivet God, and his immediate superiority over the appalled and flying Hector, nothing need be said, but that it fully equals the high-wrought expectations excited by the whole previous preparation, That single trumpetsound, which preluded with its terrific blast, grows into the most awful din of martial sound that ever was awakened by the animating power of poet—Even the last two books, if we suppose the main object of the poet to be the glory of the great Thessalian hero, with only such regard to the unity of his fable as that it should never cease to interest, are by no means superfluous. The religious influence which funeral rites held over the minds of the Greeks, and the opportunity of displaying Achilles in the interchange of free and noble courtesy, as liberal as he was valiant, might well tempt the poet, assured of his hearer's profound sympathy, to prolong the strain. The last book, unnecessary as it seems to the development of the wrath of Achilles, yet has always appeared to us still more remarkably conducive to the real though remote design of the Iliad. We have before observed, that the premature and preadvanced mind of the poet seems to have delighted in relieving the savage conflict with traits of milder manners; and the generous conduct of Achilles, and his touching respect for the aged Priam, might almost seem as a prophetic apology to a gentler age for the barbarity with which the poet might think it necessary to satisfy the implacable spirit of vengeance which prevailed among his own warlike compeers. Hector dragged at the car of his insulting conqueror was for the fierce and martial vulgar, for the carousing chieftain, scarcely less savage than the Northman, delighted only by his dark Sagas; Hector's body, preserved by the care of the gods, restored with honour to Priam, lamented by the desolate women, for the heart of the poet himself, and for the few congenial spirits which could enter into his own more chastened tone of feeling.—Still, in all this there is nothing of the elaborate art of a later age; it is not a skilful compiler, arranging his materials so as to produce the most striking effect: the design and the filling up appear to us to be evidently of the same hand ; there is the most perfect harmony in the plan, the expression, the versification ; and we cannot, by any effort, bring ourselves to suppose that the separate passages, which form the main interest of the poem, the splendid bursts, or more pathetic episodes, were originally composed without any view to their general effect; in short, that a whole race of Homers struck out, as it were by accident, all these glorious living fragments, which lay in a kind of unformed chaos, till a later and almost mightier Homer commanded them to take form, and combine themselves into a connected and harmonious whole.—There is another very curious fact, on which we do not think, though it was perceived by both Wolf and Heyne, that sufficient stress has been laid—the perfect consistency of the characters in the separate parts of the poem. It is quite conceivable that there should have been a sort of conventional character assigned to different heroes by the minstrels of elder Greece. To take Mr. Coleridge's illustration of the ballads on Robin Hood; in all of these bold Robin is still the same frank, careless, daring, generous, half-comic adventurer: so Achilles may have been by prescription,

Impiger, iracundus, inerorabilis, acer;

Ajax heavy and obstinate, Ulysses light and subtle; but can we thus account for the finer and more delicate touches of character, the sort of natural consistencies which perpetually identify the hero, or even the female of one book, with the same person in another! Take, for instance, that of Helen, perhaps the most difficult to draw, certainly drawn with the most admirable success. She is, observes Mr. Coleridge, : a genuine lady, graceful in motion and speech, noble. in her associations, full of remorse for a fault, for which higher powers seem responsible, yet graceful and affectionate towards those with whom that fault had connected her.” Helen first appears in the third book, in which it is difficult to admire too much the admiration of her beauty extorted from the old men, who are sitting rerriyegatv tookörer

[ocr errors]

Nothing can equal this, except the modesty with which she alludes to her own shame ; the courteous respect with which she is treated by Priam and Antenor; the touching remembrance of her home and of her brothers; and the tender emotions excited by the reminiscences which flow from the history of almost each successive warrior as she describes them to Priam.—In the same book, we find her soon after reproaching the recreant Paris; yet, under the irresistible influence of the goddess, yielding to his embraces in that wellknown passage, over which Pope has thrown a voluptuous colouring foreign to the chaster simplicity of the original.—The companion to the first lovely picture is the interview between Hector and Helen, in book vi., l. 343, when she addresses her brother.—We turn to the close of the poem, and find the lamentation of Helen over the body of Hector, which we concur with Mr. Coleridge in considering almost the sweetest passage of the poem. But beautiful as it is in itself as an insulated fragment, how much does it gain in pathetic tenderness, when we detect its manifest allusions to the two earlier scenes to which we have referred above! —Compare all these, and then consider whether it is possible to suppose that the Helen of the Iliad sprung from different minds, or even from the same mind, not full of the preconcerted design of one great poem. Could even Simonides, if Simonides assisted in the work of compilation, have imagined, or so dexterously inserted, these natural allusions !”—For some very able remarks on this same subject, consult Muller, History of Grecian Literature, p. 48, seqq. Ilir Nses, a people of Sardinia, fabled to have been descended from some Trojans who came to that island after the fall of Troy. They were driven into the mountains by Libyan colonies, and here, according to Pausanias (10, 17), the name 'I2teiç existed even in his time. (Mannert, Geogr., vol. 9, pt. 2, p. 475.) IllóNE, the eldest daughter of Priam, who married Polymnestor, king of Thrace. (Virg., AEm., 1,657. —Consult Heyne, Excurs., ad loc.) Ilissus, a small stream rising to the northeast of Athens, and from which that city was principally supplied with water. It loses itself, after a course of a few miles, in the marshes to the south of the place. From the beautiful passage in which Plato alludes to it (Phaedrus, p. 229), it appears to have been at that period a perennial stream, whereas now it is almost always dry, its waters being either drawn off to irrigate the neighbouring gardens, or to supply the artificial fountains of Athens. The modern name is Ilisse. (Leake's Topogr., p. 49.) Ilithyia, a goddess who presided over childbirth, and who was the same in the Greek mythology with the Juno Lucina of the Romans. In the Iliad (11, 270) mention is made of Ilithyia in the plural, and they are called the daughters of Juno. In two other parts, however, of the same poem (16, 187, and 19, 103), the term Ilithyia occurs in the singular. In the Odyssey (19, 188) and in Hesiod (Theog., 922) the number is reduced to one. We also meet with but one Ilithyia in Pindar (Ol., 6, 72.—Nem., 7, 1), and the subsequent poets in general.—It is not by any means an improbable supposition, that Ilithyia was originally a moon-goddess, and that the name signifies “light wanderer,” from £2m, “light,” and 91%, “to move rapidly.” (Welcker, Kret. Kol., p. 11, 19.) The moon was believed by the ancients to have great influence over growth in general ; and as, moreover, a woman's time was reckoned by moons, it was natural to conceive that the moon-goddess presided over the birth of children. (Keightley's Mythology, p. 193, seq.) Ther or IllāN, I. another name for the city of Troy, or, more properly, the true one, since Troja, the appellation given to the place by the Roman writers, was, strictly speaking, the name of the * (Wid.

« PoprzedniaDalej »