Who is the real hero of the Iliad: Hector or Achilles?
400 words, only use information from the source provided
Topic Question: Who is the real hero of the Iliad: Hector or Achilles?
-use only information from “Homer, The Iliad, tr., Stanley Lombardo” -no outside sources
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ILIAD and ODYSSEY F
HOMER, TRANSLATED INTO
ENGLISH BLANK VERSE,
BY W. C W R,
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, ESQ^
IN TWO VOLUMES.
CONTAINING THE ILIAD.
LONDON PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, N° 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD.
m d c c x c : . •
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL C W R,
TRANSLATION OF THE ILIAD,
THE INSCRIPTION OF WHICH TO HIMSELF,
THE LATE LAMENTED EARL,
BENEVOLENT TO ALL,
AND ESPECIALLY KIND TO THE AUTHOR,
HAD NOT DISDAINED TO ACCEPT,
IS HUMBLY OFFERED,
AS A SMALL BUT GRATEFUL TRIBUTE,
TO THE MEMORY OF HIS FATHER,
BY HIS LORDSHIP'S
1791. WILLIAM COWPER.
R F A C .
WHETHER a translation of Homer may be beft executed
in blank verfe or in rbime, is a queition in the decifion of
which no man can find difficulty, who has ever duly confidered
what tranilation ought to be, or who is in any degree practically
acquainted with thofe very different kinds of verification. I will
venture to affert that a juil tranilation of any antient poet in rhime,
is impoilible. No human ingenuity can be equal to the taik of
clofing every couplet with founds homotonous, exprefling at the
fame time the full fenfe, and only the full fenfe of his original.
The tranilator's ingenuity, indeed, in this cafe becomes itfelf a
fnare, and the readier he is at invention and expedient, the more
likely he is to be betrayed into the wideil departures from the
guide whom he profeifes to follow. Hence it has happened, that
-although the public have long been in poifefiion of an Englifli
Homer by a poet whofe writings have done immortal honour to his
country, the demand of a new one, and efpecially in blank verfe,
has been repeatedly and loudly made by fome of the beil judges and
ableil writers of the prefent day.
I have no conteft with my predeceffor. None is fuppofeable
between performers on different inftruments. Mr. Pope has fur-
mounted all difficulties in his verlion of Homer that it was poirible
VI PREFACE. to furmount in rhime. But he was fettered, and his fetters were
his choice. Accuftomed always to rhime, he had formed to him-
r which probably could not be much gratified by verfe
that wanted it, and determined to encounter even impoflibilities,
rather than abandon a mode of writing in which he had excelled
every body, for the lake of another to which, unexercifed in it as
lie was, he mult have felt ftrong objections.
I number myfelf among the warmeft admirers of Mr. Pope as
an original writer, and I allow him all the merit he can juftly
claim as the tranflator of this chief of poets. He has given us
the Tale of Try: divine in fmooth verfe, generally in correct and
*ant language, and in diction often highly poetical. But his
deviations are lb many, occafioned chiefly by the caufe already men-
tioned, that, much as he has done, and valuable as his work is on
ccounts, it was yet in the humble province of a tranflator
that 1 thought it poflible even for me to follow him with fome
That he has ibmetimes altogether fupprelTed the fenfe of his
author, and has not feldom intermingled his own ideas with it, is
a remark which, on this occafion, nothing but neceifity ihould
have extorted from me. But we differ fometimes lb widely in our
matter, that unlefs this remark, invidious as it feems, be premifed,
I know not how to obviate a fufpicion, on the one hand, of carc-
. flight, or of factitious embelliihmcnt on the other. On this head, therefore, the Engliih reader is to be admonillied, that
the matter found in me, whether he like it or not, is found alfo in
Homer, and that the matter not found in me, how much foever
he may admire it, is found only in Mr. Pope. I have omitted no-
thing ; I have invented nothing.
There is indifputably a wide difference between the cafe of an
original writer in rhime and a tranilator. In an original work the
author is free ; if the rhime be of difficult attainment, and he can-
not find it in one direction, he is at liberty to feek it in another
the matter that will not accommodate itfelf to his occafions he may
difcard, adopting fuch as will. But in a tranilation no fuch option
is allowable ; the fenfe of the author is required, and we do not
furrender it willingly even to the plea of necefTity. Fidelity is
indeed of the very eifence of tranilation, and the term itfelf implies
it. For which reafon, if we fupprefs the fenfe of our original, and
force into its place our own, we may call our work an imitation, if
we pleafe, or perhaps a paraphrafe, but it is no longer the fame
author only in a different drefs, and therefore it is not tranilation.
Should a painter, profeffing to draw the likenefs of a beautiful
woman, give her more or fewer features than belong to her, and a
general caft of countenance of his own invention, he might be faid
to have produced a jeu d*efprit, a curiofity perhaps in its way, but
by no means the lady in queftion.
It will however be neceifary to fpeak a little more largely to this
fubject, on which difcordant opinions prevail even among good
Mil PREFACE. ii r. free and the clofe tranflation have, each, their advocates.
But inconveniences belong to both. The former can hardly be
true to the original author's ftyle and manner, and the latter is apt
to be fervile. The one lofes his peculiarities, and the other his
fpirit. Were it poflible, therefore, to find an exact medium, a
manner io clofe that it fliould let flip nothing of the text, nor
mingle any thing extraneous with it, and at the fame time lb free
) have an air of originality, this feems precifely the mode in
which an author might be bcit rendered. I can allure my readers
my own experience, that to difcover this very delicate line is
difficult, and to proceed by it when found, through the whole
length of a poet voluminous as Homer, nearly impomble. I can
only pretend to have endeavoured it.
I r is an opinion commonly received, but, like many others, in-
debted for its prevalence to mere want of examination, that a tran-
flator fliould imagine to himfelf the ftyle which his author would
probably have ufed, had the language into which he is rendered
been his own. A direction which wants nothing but practicability
to recommend it. For fuppofe fix perlbns, equally qualified for
the nployed to tranilate the fame Antient into their own lan-
gua je, with this rule to guide them. In the event it would be
nd that each had fallen on a manner different from that o£ all
l, and by probable inference it would follow that none had
fallen on the right. On the whole, therefore, as has been faid, the
t nflation which partakes equally of fidelity and liberality, that is
but not io clofe as to be fervile, free, but not fo free as to
Ikentii mifes faireft ; and my ambition will be I ntly
gratified, if fuch of my readers as are able, and will take the pains
to compare me in this refpeit with Homer, mall judge that I have
in any meafure attained a point fo difficult.
As to energy and harmony, two grand requifites in a tranilation
of this moil energetic and moil: harmonious of all poets, it is
neither my purpole nor my wiih, mould I be found deficient in
either, or in both, to melter myfelf under an unfilial imputation of
blame to my mother-tongue. Our language is indeed lefs mufical
than the Greek, and there is no language with which I am at all
acquainted that is not. But it is muiical enough for the purpoles
of melodious verfe, and if it feem to fail, on whatfoever occafion,
in energy, the blame is due, not to itfelf, but to the unfkilful ma-
nager of it. For fo long as Milton's works, whether his profe or
his verfe, mall exiit, fo long there will be abundant proof that no
iu eject, however important, however fublime, can demand greater
force of exprefiion than is within the compafs of the EnMim language.
I have no fear of judges familiar with original Homer. They
need not be told that a tranilation of him is an arduous enterprize,
and as fuch, entitled to fome favour. From thefe, therefore, I
ihall expect, and lhall not be diiappointed, coniiderable candour
and allowance. Efpecially they will be candid, and I believe that
there are many fuch, who have occafionally tried their own
flrength in this boiv of Ulyjfes. They have not found it fupple and
pliable, and with me are perhaps ready to acknowledge that they
could not always even approach with it the mark of their ambition.
PREFACE, But I would willingly, were it poiiible, obviate uncandid criticiim,
becaufe to anfwer it is loft labour, and to receive it in iilence has
the appearance of ftately referve, and felf-importance.
To thofe, therefore, who ihall be inclined to tell me hereafter
that my diction is often plain and unelevated, I reply beforehand
that I know it— that it would be abfurd were it otherwife, and
that Homer himfelf frauds in the fame predicament. In fact, it is
one of his numberlefs excellencies, and a point in which his judg-
ment never fails him, that he is grand and lofty always in the right
place, and knows infallibly how to rife and fall with his fubject.
Big "ii-orJs on fmall matters may ferve as a pretty exact definition of
the burlefque ; an inftance of which they will find in the battle of
the Frogs- and Mice, but none in the Iliad.
By others I expect to be told that my numbers, though here
and there tolerably fmooth, are not always fuch, but have, now
and then, an ugly hitch in their gait, ungraceful in itfelf, and in-
venient to the reader. To this charge alfo I plead guilty, but
beg leave in alleviation of judgment to add, that my limping lines
are not numerous, compared with thofe that limp not. The truth
, that nut one of them all efcaped me, but, fuch as they are, they
were all made fueh with a willful intention. In poems of great length
there is no blemiih more to be feared than famenefs of numbers,
and every art is ufeful by which it may be avoided. A line, rough
itfelf, has yet its recommendations ; it faves the ear the pain of
an irklbme monotony, and leems even to add greater fmoothneis to
others. Milton, whofe ear and tefte were exquifite, has exempli-
fied in his Paradtfe Loft the efFeft of this practice frequently.
Having mentioned Milton, I cannot but add an obfervation on
the fimilitude of his manner to that of Homer. It is fuch,
that no perlbn, familiar with both, can read either without being
reminded of the other ; and it is in thofe breaks and paufes, to
which the numbers of the Engliih poet are fo much indebted both
for their dignity and variety, that he chiefly copies the Greeciam
But thefe are graces to which rhime is not competent ; fc broken,
it lofes all its mufic ; of which any perfon may convince himfelf
by reading a page only of any of our poets anterior to Denham,
Waller and Dryden. A tranflator of Homer, therefore, feems
directed by Homer himfelf to the ufe of blank verfe, as to that
alone in which he can be rendered with any tolerable reprefentation
of his manner in this particular. A remark which I am natural 1
led to make by a deiire to conciliate, if poffible, fome, who, rather
unreafonably partial to rhime, demand it on all occalions, and feem
perfuaded that poetry in our language is a vain attempt without it.
Verfe, that claims to be verfe in right of its metre only, they judge
to be fuch rather by courtefy than by kind, on an apprehenfion
that it coils the writer little trouble, that he has only to give his
lines their prefcribed number of fyllables, and, fo far as the mecha-
nical part is concerned, all is well. Were this true, they would
have reafon on their fide, for the author is certainly beft entitled
to applaufe who fucceeds againft the greateft dirHculty, and in
verfe that calls for the moft artificial management in its conftruc-
tion. But the cafe is not as they fuppofe. To rhime, in our lan-
b 2 guage,
xii PREFACE. guagc, demands no great exertion of ingenuity, but is always ealy
to a perfon exercifed in the practice. Witnefs the multitudes who
rhime, but have no other poetical pretenfions. Let it be conil-
dered too, how merciful we are apt to be to unclaiTical and indif-
ferent language for the fake of rhime, and we fball foon fee that
the labour lies principally on the other fide. Many ornaments of
no eafy purchafe are required to atone for the abfence of this fingle
recommendation. It is not fufficient that the lines of blank verfe
be fmooth in themielves, they muil alfo be harmonious in the com-
bination. Whereas the chief concern of the rhimiil is to beware
that his couplets and his icnk be commenfurate, left the regularity
of his numbers ihould be (too frequently at kail) interrupted. A trivial difficulty this, compared with thole which attend the poet
unaccompanied by his bells. He, in order that he may be mufical,
rnuil exhibit all the variations, as he proceeds, of which ten fylla-
bles are fufceptible ; between the firfl fyllable and the lail there is
no place at which he muil not occasionally paufe, and the place of
tlie paufe muil be perpetually fhifted. To effect this variety, his
attention mull be given, at one and the fame time, to the paufes
he has already made in the period before him, as well as to that
which he is about to make, and to thofe which iliall fucceed it.
On no lighter terms than thefe is it polTible that blank verfe can
be written which will not, in the courfe of a long work, fatigue
the ear pall all endurance. If it be eafier, therefore, to throw five
balls, into the air and to catch them in lucceflion, than to fport in
that manner with one only, then may blank verfe be more eafily
fabricated than rhime. And if to thefe labours we add others
equally requilite, a llyle in general more elaborate than rhime
requires, farther removed from the vernacular idiom both in the
language itfelf and in the arrangement of it, we ihall not long
doubt which of thefe two very different fpecies of verfe threatens
the compofer with moil expence of itudy and contrivance. I feel•
it unpleafant to appeal to my own experience, but, having no other
voucher at hand, am conftrained to it. As I affirm, fo I have
found. I have dealt pretty largely in both kinds, and have fre-
quently written more verfes in a day, with tags, than I could ever
write without them. To what has been here faid (which whether
it have been faid by others or not, I cannot tell, having never read
any modern book on the fubjed) I ihall only add, that to be
poetical without rhime, is an argument of a found and claffical
conilitution in any language.
A word or two on the fubject of the following tranilation, and
I have done.
My chief boaft is that I have adhered clofely to my original
convinced that every departure from him would be puniihed with
the forfeiture of fome grace or beauty for which I could fubititute
no equivalent. The epithets that would confent to an Engliih
form I have preferved as epithets ; others that would not, I have
melted into the context. There are none, I believe, which I have
not tranilated in one way or other, though the reader will not find
them repeated fo often as moil of them are in Homer, for a reaibn.
that need not be mentioned.
XIV PREFACE. Few perfons of any consideration are introduced either in the
Iliad or Odyfley by their own name only, but their patronymic i
given alio. To this ceremonial I have generally attended, becauie
it is a circumilance of my author's manner.
Homer never allots lefs than a whole line to the introduction of
a ipeaker. No, not even when the fpeech itfelf is no longer than
the line that leads it. A practice to which, fince he never departs
from it, he muir. have been determined by fome cogent reafon.
He probably deemed it a formality necefTary to the ma j city of his
narration. In this article, therefore, I have fcrupuloufly adhered
to my pattern, confidering thefe introductory lines as heralds in a
proceflion ; important perfons, becaufe employed to ulher in perfons
more important than themfelves.
It has been my point everywhere to be as little verbofe as- ble, though, at the fame time, my conftant determination not to
facrifice my author's full meaning to an affected brevity.
In the affair of ftyle, I have endeavoured neither to creep nor
to bluftcr, for no author is fo likely to betray his tranilator into
both thefe faults, as Homer, though himfelf never guilty of either.
I have cautioully avoided all terms of new invention, with an
abundance of which, perfons of more ingenuity than judgment
have not enriched our language, but incumbered it. I have alio
everywhere ufed an unabbreviated fullnefs of phrafe as moft fuited
to the nature of the work, and, above all, have ltudied perfpicuity,
PREFACE. not only becaufe verfe is good for little that wants it, but becaufe
Homer is the moil perfpicuous of all poets.
In all difficult places I have confulted the beil commentators,
and where they have differed, or have given, as is often the cafe,
a variety of folutions, I have ever exercifed my beil judgment, and
felected that which appears, at leafl to myfelf, the moil probable
interpretation. On this ground, and on account of the fidelity
which I have already boailed, I may venture, I believe, to recom-
mend my work as promifing fome ufefulnefs to young iludents of
The paifages which will be leail noticed, and poiTibly not at
all, except by thofe who ihall wiih to find me at a fault, are
thofe which have coil me abundantly the moil labour. It is dif-
ficult to kill a iheep with dignity in a modern language, to flay and i
to prepare it for the table, detailing every circumilance of the pro-
cefs. Difficult alfo, without finking below the level of poetry, to
harnefs mules to a waggon, particularizing every article of their
furniture, ilraps, rings, ilaples, and even the tying of the knots
that kept all together. Homer, who writes always to the eye,
with all his fublimity and grandeur, has the minutenefs of a Flemiih
But in what degree I have fucceeded in my verfion either of
thefe paifages, and fuch as thefe, or of others more buoyant and
above-ground, and efpecially of the moil fublime, is now iubmit-
ted to the decifion of the reader, to whom I am ready enough to
XVI PREFACE. confefs that I have not at all confulted their approbation,
account nothing grand that is not turgid, or elegant, that is not
zened with metaphor.
I purposely decline all declamation on the merits of ' to"er,
becaufe a tranilator's praifes of his author are liable to a fufpicion
of dotage, and becaufe it were impoiTible to improve on thofe
which this author has received already. He has been the wonder
of all countries that his works have ever reached, even deified by
the o-reateft names of antiquity, and in fome places actually wor-
fhipped. And to fay truth, were it poiTible that mere man could
entitle himfelf by pre-eminence of any kind to divine honours,
Homer's aftonifhing powers feem to have given him the beft pre-
in no conclude without due acknowledgments to the bell
critic in Homer I have ever met with, the learned and ingenious
Mr. Fusi Li. Unknown as he was to me when I entered on this
arduous undertaking, (indeed to this moment I have never leen
him) he yet voluntarily and generouily offered himfelf as my revifor.
To his clamcal tafte and juft difcernment I have been indebted for
diicovery of many blemifhes in my own work, and of beauties,
which would otherwiie have efcaped me, in the original. But his
neceilary avocations would not fuffer him to accompany me farther
than to the latter books of the Iliad, a circumftance which I fear
my readers, as well as myfelf, will regret with too much real'on *,
•ne of the few -tcs (ubjoined to my Cranflation of the Odyilcy are bv .Mr.
.ho had a (hort opportunity to perule the MSS. while the Iliad was printing.
ked with hi-, initial
PREFACE. XV 11
I have obligations likewife to many friends, whofe names, were
it proper to mention them here, would do me great honour. They
have encouraged me by their approbation, have aflifted me with
valuable books, and have eafed me of almoft the whole labour of
And now I have only to regret that my pleafantwork is ended.
To the illuftrious Greek I owe the fmooth and eafy flight of many
thoufand hours. He has been my companion at home and abroad,
in the ftudy, in the garden, and in the field -, and no meafure of
fuccefs, let my labours fucceed as they may, will ever compenfate
to me the lofs of the innocent luxury that I have enjoyed, as a
Tranflator of Homer.
LIST of SUBSCRIBERS. Tbofe marked f, are Subfiribers for Copies en fine Paper.
His Royal Ilighnefs the Duke of Gloucester.
Her Royal Highneis the Dutchess of Gloucester.
Lord Alva, f.
Lady Anderfon, York
The Rt. Hon. Henry Addington, Speaker
of the Houfe of Commons, f.
The Hon. Sir Wm. Aihhurft, Knt.
John Hiley Addington, Efq; Clevehill near
Francis Annefley, Efq; M. P.
Sir Rowland Alfton, Bart.
John Aubrey, Efq;
W. Aiken, Efq;
John William Adam, Efq; Crutched Friars,f.
George Anfon, Efq;
Matthew Robert Arnott, Efq; f. two copies
Robert Alexander, Efq;
The Rev. Air. Gilbert Auften
Mr. George Adams, Fleet ftreet
Mr. Wm. Andrews, Olney, Bucks
, by the Rev. Mr. Thomas Bodham •
, by Mifs Johnfon
, by Mr. John Johnfon
, by the fame
, by the fane
The Dutchefs of Buccleugh
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