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PROM

HOMER.

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THE

FIRST BOOK

OP

IIOMER’S ILIAS.

THE ARGUMENT.

Chryses, priest of Apollo, brings presents to the Gre

cian princes, to ransom his daughter Chryseis, who was prisoner in the ficet. Agumemnon, the general, whose captive and mistress the young lady was, refuses to deliver her, threatens the venerable old man, and dismisses him with contumely.-The priest craves vengeance of his god; who sends a plague among the Greeks: which occasions Achilles, their great champion, to summon a council of the chief officers: he encourages Calchas, the high priest and prophet, to tell the reason, why the gods were so much incensed against them.Calchas is fearful of provoking Agamemnon, till Achilles engages to protect him: then, emboldened by the hero, he accuses the general as the cause of all, by detaining the fair captive, and refusing the presents offered for her ransom. By this pro

ceeding, Agamemnon is obliged, against his wili, to restore Chryseis, with gifts, that he might appease the wrath of Phæbus ; but, at the same time, to revenge himself on Achilles, sends to seize his Mace Briseis. Achilles, thus affronted, complains to his mother Thetis; and beg's her to revenge his injury, not only on the general, but on all the army, by giving victory to the Trojans, till the ungrateful king became sensible of his injustice. At the same time, he retires from the camp into his Ships, and withdraws his aid from his countrymen. Thetis prefers her son's petition to Jupiter, who grants her suit. Juno suspects her errand, and quarrels with her husband, for his grant; till Vulcan reconciles his parents with a bowl of nectar, and sends them peaceably to bed.

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THE wrath of Peleus' fon, O Muse, re

found *; Whose dire effects the Grecian army found,

* Pope made a ridiculous blunder, milled by an old Latin translation of Diodorus Siculus, where Homer was called Me dicus by an error of the press for Mendicus; whence Pope affirmed ihat Homer was a physician.

This is not the place to enter into a long differtation on the admirable disposition and economy of the Iliad. We may however just observe one or two circumstances. It is an essential beauty in a well-constituted epic poem, that there should be an apparent necessity for every incident that arises. It was abfolutely necessary that each of the Grecian chiefs should be brought forward, in order to heighten the effects of the absence aud anger of Achilles. It was absolutely necessary for Vulcan to make à fhield for Achilles, because thé Trojans had seized and carried away his armour. It was absolutely neceffary that funeral

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