Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  Aristotle himself allows that Homer has nothing to boast of as to the unity of his fable, though at the same time that great critic and philosopher endeavoured to palliate this imperfection in the Greek poet, by imputing it in some measure to the very nature of an epic poem. Some have been of opinion that the Æneid also labours in this particular, and has Episodes which may be looked upon as excrescences rather than as parts of the action.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 267.    
  Homer has excelled all the heroic poets that ever wrote in the multitude and variety of his characters. Every god that is admitted into his poem acts a part which would have been suitable to no other deity. His princes are as much distinguished by their manners as by their dominions; and even those among them, whose characters seem wholly made up of courage, differ from one another as to the particular kinds of courage in which they excel. In short, there is scarce a speech or action in the Iliad which the reader may not ascribe to the person who speaks or acts, without seeing his name at the head of it. Homer does not only outshine all other poets in the variety, but also in the novelty of his characters.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 273.    
  In short, if we look into the conduct of Homer, Virgil, and Milton, as the great fable is the soul of each poem, so, to give their works an agreeable variety, their episodes are so many short fables, and their similes so many short episodes; to which you may add, if you please, that their metaphors are so many short similes.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 303.    
  Homer is in his province when he is describing a battle or a multitude, a hero or a god. Virgil is never better pleased than when he is in his elysium, or copying out an entertaining picture. Homer’s epithets generally mark out what is great; Virgil’s, what is agreeable. Nothing can be more magnificent than the figure Jupiter makes in the first Iliad, nor more charming than that of Venus in the first Æneid.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 417.    
  It was easier for Homer to find proper sentiments for Grecian generals than for Milton to diversify his infernal council with proper characters.
Joseph Addison.    
  The part of Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey is much admired by Aristotle, as perplexing that fable with very agreeable plots and intricacies, by the many adventures in his voyage and the subtilty of his behaviour.
Joseph Addison.    
  Homer in his character of Vulcan and Thersites, in his story of Mars and Venus, in his behaviour of Irus, and in other passages, has been observed to have lapsed into the burlesque character, and to have departed from that serious air essential to the magnificence of an epic poem.
Joseph Addison.    
  The only poet, modern or ancient, who in the variety of his characters can vie with Homer, is our great English dramatist.
James Beattie.    
  The Iliad consists of battles, and a continual commotion; the Odyssey, in patience and wisdom.
William Broome: Notes on the Odyssey.    
  By this single trait Homer marks an essential difference between the Iliad and Odyssey; that in the former the people perished by the folly of their kings; in this, by their own folly.
William Broome.    
  Homer has concealed faults under an infinity of admirable beauties.
William Broome.    
  Homer is guilty of verbosity, and of a tedious prolix manner of speaking: he is the greatest talker of all antiquity.
William Broome.    
  If we look upon the Odyssey as all a fiction, we consider it unworthily. It ought to be read as a story founded upon truth, adorned with embellishments of poetry.
William Broome.    
  Homer introduces the best instructions in the midst of the plainest narrations.
William Broome.    
  Plutarch quotes this instance of Homer’s judgment, in closing a ludicrous scene with decency and instruction.
William Broome.    
  The commentators on Homer apologize for the glaring falsehoods which Ulysses relates, by showing that they are told to the Phœnicians, a credulous people.
R. O. Cambridge.    
  Criticism has not succeeded in fixing upon Pope [in his translation of Homer] any errors of ignorance. His deviations from Homer were uniformly the result of imperfect sympathy with the naked simplicity of the antique, and therefore wilful deviations, not (like those of his more pretending competitors, Addison and Tickell) pure blunders of misapprehension.
Thomas De Quincey: Encyc. Brit.    
  Though Cowper has been too literal in his Homer, and too inattentive to the melody of his versification, yet has he infused much more of the simple majesty and manner of the divine bard than Pope, whose splendid and highly ornamented paraphrase is more adapted to the genius of Ovid than of Homer.
Dr. Nathan Drake.    
  The action of Homer, being more full of vigour than that of Virgil, is more pleasing to the reader: one warms you by degrees, the other sets you on fire all at once, and never intermits his heat.
John Dryden.    
  I touch here but transiently, without any strict method, on some few of those manly rules of imitating nature which Aristotle drew from Homer.
John Dryden.    
  The Roman orator endeavoured to imitate the copiousness of Homer, and the Latin poet made it his business to reach the conciseness of Demosthenes.
John Dryden.    
  Homer took all occasions of setting up his own countrymen, the Grecians, and of undervaluing the Trojan chiefs.
John Dryden.    
  Scaliger would needs turn down Homer. and abdicate him, after the possession of three thousand years.
John Dryden.    
  After considering the effect which has been produced by the Iliad of Homer, I am compelled to regard it with the same sentiment as I should a knife of beautiful workmanship which had been the instrument used in murdering an innocent family. Recollect, as the instance, its influence on Alexander, and through him on the world.
John Foster: Journal.    
  I venture to think that the rhapsodes incurred the displeasure of Kleisthenes by reciting, not the Homeric Iliad, but the Homeric Thebais and Epigoni.
George Grote.    
  Perhaps few authors have been distinguished by more similar features of character than Homer and Milton. That vastness of thought which fills the imagination, and that sensibility of spirit which renders every circumstance interesting, are the qualities of both: but Milton is the most sublime, and Homer the most picturesque.
Robert Hall: Essay on Poetry and Philosophy.    
  Is it possible that Homer could design to say all that we make him: and that he design’d so many and so various figures, as that the divines, law givers, captains, philosophers, and all sorts of men who treat of sciences, how variously and oppositely however, should indifferently quote him, and support their arguments by his authority as the sovereign lord and master of all offices, works, and artizans, and counsellor general of all enterprizes? Whoever has had occasion for oracles and predictions has there found sufficient to serve his turn. ’Tis a wonder how many, and how admirable concurrences an intelligent person, and a particular friend of mine, has there found out in favour of our religion: and yet he is as well acquainted with this author as any man whatever of his time. And what he has found out in favour of ours, very many anciently have found out in favour of theirs.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cotton’s 3d ed., ch. lxix.    
  To reflect on those innumerable secrets of nature and physical philosophy which Homer wrought in his allegories, what a new scene of wonder may this afford us!
Alexander Pope.    
  The periphrases and circumlocutions by which Homer expresses the single act of dying have supplied succeeding poets with all their manners of phrasing it.
Alexander Pope.    
  This vast invention exerts itself in Homer in a manner superior to that of any poet; it is the great and peculiar characteristic which distinguishes him from all others.
Alexander Pope.    
  Upon the whole, it will be necessary to avoid that perpetual repetition of the same epithets which we find in Homer.
Alexander Pope.    
  There is nothing more perfectly admirable in itself than that artful manner in Homer of taking measure or gauging his heroes by each other, and thereby elevating the character of one person by the opposition of it to some other he is made to excel.
Alexander Pope.    
  Homer has divided each of his poems into two parts, and has put a particular intrigue, and the solution of it, into each part.
Alexander Pope.    
  The whole structure of that work [the Iliad] is dramatic and full of action.
Alexander Pope.    
  Zoilus calls the companions of Ulysses the “squeaking pigs” of Homer.
Alexander Pope.    
  To throw his language more out of prose, Homer affects the compound epithets.
Alexander Pope.    
  Homer excels all the inventors of other arts in this; that he has swallowed up the honour of those who succeeded him.
Alexander Pope.    
  Herodotus … is as fabulous as Homer when he defers to the common reports of countries.
Alexander Pope.    
  Homer is like a skilful improver, who places a beautiful statue so as to answer several vistas.
Alexander Pope.    
  Homer is like his Jupiter, has his terrors, shaking Olympus; Virgil, like the same power in his benevolence, laying plans for empires.
Alexander Pope.    
  Homer’s Achilles is haughty and passionate, impatient of any restraint by laws, and arrogant in arms.
Matthew Prior.    
  Homer never entertained either guests or hosts with long speeches till the mouth of hunger be stopped.
Sir Philip Sidney.    
  I have followed all the ancient poets historical: first, Homer, who in the person of Agamemnon ensampled a good governor and a virtuous man.  43
  The Greek tongue received many enlargements between the time of Homer and that of Plutarch.
Jonathan Swift.    
  The Iliad is great, yet not so great in strength, or power, or beauty, as the Greek language.
Richard C. Trench.    

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