Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
The Praise of Homer
By George Chapman (1559?–1634)
            O! ’TIS wondrous much
Though nothing prosed, that the right virtuous touch
Of a well written soul to virtue moves.
Nor have we souls to purpose, if their loves
Of fitting objects be not so inflamed.        5
How much, then, were this kingdom’s main soul maimed
To want this great inflamer of all powers
That move in human souls! All realms but yours
Are honored with them, and hold blest that State
That have his works to read and contemplate,        10
In which humanity to her height is raised;
Which all the world, yet none enough hath praised.
Seas, earth, and heaven, he did in verse comprise,
Outsung the Muses, and did equalize
Their King Apollo; being so far from cause        15
Of princes’ light thoughts, that their gravest laws
May find stuff to be fashioned by his lines.
Through all the pomp of kingdoms still he shines,
And graceth all his gracers. Then let lie
Your lutes and viols, and more loftily        20
Make the heroics of your Homer sung;
To drums and trumpets set his angel tongue;
And, with the princely sport of hawks you use,
Behold the kingly flight of his high muse,
And see how, like the Phœnix, she renews        25
Her age and starry feathers in your sun,
Thousands of years attending; every one
Blowing the holy fire, throwing in
Their seasons, kingdoms, nations, that have been
Subverted in them; laws, religions, all        30
Offered to change, and greedy funeral,
Yet still your Homer lasting, living, reigning,
And proves how firm Truth builds in poets feigning.

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