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NO. 57 NORTHAMPTON STREET, EASTON, PA.,

DEALER IN

WATCHES, JEWELRY AND SILVERWARE.

REPAIRING PROMPTLY ATTENDED TO.

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BOOTS AND SHOES

175 Northampton St.. ab. 4:h, or Branch Store Porter's Block, Cor. S. 3d St. and Centre Square, Easton, Pa.

GENTS' FINE SHOES A SPECIALTY.

In Seasonable Goods our assortment has received large additions by recent arrivals from Philadelphia. New York and Boston, and comprises Gaiters, Oxford tis, Prince Alerts and French ties in all th ir mo-t fashiona le and desirable gra les. Several lines of these goods are the finest in town.

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THE

LAFAYETTE MONTHLY.

VOL. III.

Editors for April.-W. C. ALEXANDER, G. M. LEWIS, E. S. BARRICK.

APRIL, 1873

THE HOMERIC ACHILLES.

NUMBER 8.

BY SENANIA.

Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer.

It sounds well, Horatius. But is it true? True as far as it goes. Just so. But by stopping short it perverts the truth. A well-put half-truth is pernicious-sometimes it is a lie. The hexameter is eminently Horatian, having the true ring. But it is a villainous hexameter for all that. Strong words they are and move heroically. But they fail to keep step with swift-footed, god-like Achilles. just and inadequate as this line is, it is nevertheless of the toughest immortality. It seems, in proud Roman defiance, to say what Horace says of himself:

Non Omnis moriar, multaque pars mei
Vitabit Libitinam.

We have no expectation, not the slightest, that now and here we shall a "quietus make" for this thing that has come from Romethis Dactylic, acatalectic, hexametric, quadricornous thing that "will not down." But we stoutly protest that this thing is not Achilles. It may possibly be the "ferocious barbarian" that Mr. Bryant speaks of in his preface to the Iliad, but it is not Homer's Achilles, the beloved of cloud-driving, wind-whirling Jove, delight

ing in thunder-not the brave, daring, invincible son of venerable Peleus and silver-footed Thetis, daughter of the old man of the sea.

Homer is dramatic. He does not analyze and set forth in so many words the character of his heroes. He lets them speak and act, and thus develope and show their character. Hence we can not know truly what they are till we know fully all they say and do, and how they say and do, from the beginning to the end of the action. Here, as elsewhere, we must suspend judgment till we know all that it is possible for us to know of the facts belonging to the case. It will not do to read the first book or two of the Iliad, and then, in undisturbed repose, forever sing Achilles, Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer.

It is not our purpose to attempt a complete analysis of Achilles' character; nor do we deny that he is impiger, iracundus, and so on. But while he is that he doubtless is something more and better. Horace gives but a partial view of the hero. Let us also look at him as he appears in other situations, and we may discover something which may modify our estimate of his character. We shall proceed, not in what might be thought a more logical order, but in the chronological order of the Iliad.

Soon after the quarrel Agamemnon sends Talthybius and Eurybates to escort Briseis to his tent. At sight of Achilles they stand in silence, confusion and awe. They must obey Agamemnon, but they fear Achilles. Achilles comprehends the situation, and at once relieves their embarrassment by his kind and courteous address : "Welcome, heralds, messengers of Jove and of men! Come nearer; you are not blameworthy, but Agamemnon is." Here is not only kindness and courtesy, but justice withal. Here is a beautiful example of that rare quality, self-control, under the most trying circumstances. There is terrible wrath, but not unmanageable, not undiscriminating. The line is clearly drawn between the guilty and the innocent. This "iracundus," "ferocious barbarian," does, and does nobly too, what great men, in these glorious days of refinement and christian civilization, sometimes find it hard to do, and oftener find it quite impossible to do, when their souls are on fire with wrath. Achilles distinguishes between the haughty Agamemnon, who insults, and the innocent Talthybius and Eurybates, Agamemnon's unwilling messengers. His conduct savors not a little of the instincts of the gentleman. He obeys the order of his

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chief, giving up the fair-cheeked Briseis, who goes reluctantly. After yielding to his superior in rank, after his kind and gentleman-ly conduct to the heralds, separating himself from his companions, he gives himself up to grief on the shore of the hoary sea, earnestly seeking his mother. Shall we exclaim, "big baby"? Keep in mind that he weeps not for the loss of the captive girl, but for the outrageous affront. Masculine tears are rare, to be sure; but when they do come there is cause for their coming. There are times and occasions when "'Tis manly to weep." Shall we say, let children go to their mothers-let a man put away childish things"? Yes, let the childish things be put away, but not the child-like things. To go to one's mother in a time of trouble is natural and beautiful—a thing to be admired—a sacred thing, whether in a child or in a man, a sage or soldier; at least so thought Homer. The great captain,. whatever else he does, does not forget his mother. In his overpowering grief he yearns for maternal affection and sympathy and counsel. The Homeric conception is not a mere boyish tale of personal grievances, but the act of one who holds his parents in tender, filial regard. It was to the credit of Aeneas that he was "pius"-so let it be to Achilles.

It fares ill with the Greeks, falling beneath the hand of the manslaying Hector. The insolent Agamemnon is humbled. It is decided to send an embassy to prevail upon Achilles, if possible, to come back to the war. The aged Phenix, dear to Jove, the mighty Ajax, and the divine Ulysses, go upon the uncertain mission along the shore of the loud-sounding sea. Coming to the tents and ships of the Myrmidons, they find Achilles delighting his soul with his beautiful harp. No mean employment, surely. He is a soldier of elegant accomplishments, appreciates the beautiful, enjoys the harmonies, is in sympathy with spirits fine and select. As soon as he sees his visitors he leaps up, takes them by the hand, saying: "Welcome; truly you have come as friends!" He plays the harp no longer, but strikes a chord which makes a sweeter sound. It is the harmony of kindred souls. At once he takes them under his roof, seats them on comfortable couches, orders a large goblet, has purer wine mixed. Thus these soldiers have a soldiers' feast. Here: again we see the bearing of a gentleman-he is kind, courteous, discriminating, just. Notice, too, that he is a man of refined leisure and elegant surroundings-that he is a magnanimous host of most abounding hospitality. But the thing we would emphasize

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