Imatges de pÓgina

are treated with moral dignity and religious idealism. Homer's love of life is inimitable. When Odysseus meets his mother in hades she beseeches him to haste with all his heart toward the sunlight. Seeing the light is synonymous with being alive; over and over again when Homer pictures the dying of a hero in battle he tells us that "darkness clouded his eyes." The body in Homer is as divine as the soul; it is the gods who shed sweet sleep upon the eyelids. Again and again in Homer we meet the phrase, "after they had put from them the desire of meat and drink." The modern world can appreciate but it cannot utter with naturalness the words of Diomedes to his fellows on the eve of battle: "Go ye now to rest, full to your hearts' desire of meat and wine, wherein courage is and strength." Heroes stricken at heart because of lost companions are nevertheless described as "feasting on abundant flesh and sweet wine." The banquets of the gods occasioned laughter unquenchable, “nor was their soul aught stinted of the fair banquet, nor of the beauteous lyre that Apollo held, and the Muses singing alternately with sweet voice." Here is Homer's description of the immortality of the gods: "They eat no bread neither drink they gleaming wine, wherefore they are bloodless and are named immortals." The Greeks of Homer drank honey-hearted wine in silver bowls; red wine they drank to their hearts' desire, sweet wine unmingled, a draft divine.

Previous to the reflective movement which culminated in the Socratic age the individual's sense of

'The quotations are from the Iliad of Lang, Leaf and Myers, and the Odyssey of Butcher and Lang.

moral selfhood did not extend beyond the immediate groups of family, tribe, and city-state. The nurse Eurycleia, reporting to Penelope the slaying of the unwelcome suitors by her husband, says: "Then I found Odysseus standing among the slain, who around him, stretched on the hard floor, lay one upon the other; it would have comforted thy heart to see him, all stained like a lion with blood and soil of battle." In such a setting the human will seems as much a part of nature as the instinct of the animal. We moderns may admire but we cannot truly relive the Homeric unity-so devoid of self-consciousness-between man and the world of nature. Notice this characteristic lack of self-consciousness: "Like them, two lions on the mountain tops are nurtured by their dam in the deep forest thickets; and these harry the kine and goodly sheep and make havoc of the farmsteads of men, till in their turn they too are slain at men's hands with the keen bronze; in such wise were these twain vanquished at Aineias' hands and fell like tall pine trees.' We see here that characteristic lack of romantic self-consciousness in the Greek individual of the pre-Socratic period which clearly differentiates him from the modern man, or from the Greek of the Socratic age. He was one with his family, with his city-state, with the world of nature, in an unconsciously intimate way unknown to ourselves.

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Homer's world is not a world of blind instinct or of uncriticized custom. The conduct of Homer's characters is lighted by the keenest intelligence. But there is in Homer no dualism of will and instinct, of mind and body, of soul and world, of human and

divine. Intelligence illumines but does not block the will.

When Homer describes the killing of a group of Trojans by Diomedes and Odysseus, he refers to the slain as being deprived of "sweet life." The knife that takes the life of some lambs for a sacrifice, Homer calls a "pitiless knife." Meat and drink give strength and joy. The spirits in hades, he calls "phantoms of men outworn;" they exist, but they do not live. Homer speaks of the joy of battle, of the lust for combat. The anger which Achilles felt in his heart toward Hector was sweeter than honey. The heroes of Homer urged each other to be wroth at heart; this dynamic emotion augmented their power to survive in battle.

This is the way Homer describes the feelings of Achilles during his combat with Hector: "As a falcon upon the mountain swiftest of winged things swoopeth fleetly after a trembling dove; and she before him fleeth while he with shrill screams hard at hand still darteth at her, for his heart urgeth him to seize her, so Achilles in hot haste flew straight for him, and Hector plied swift knees." Nor was Achilles ashamed of these animal impulses. After he had laid him low with his spear, he exclaimed to Hector: "Would that my heart's desire could so bid me myself to carve and eat raw thy flesh."

Here is Homer's description of Paris as he leaves his native city to go to battle. "Neither lingered Paris long in his lofty house, but clothed on him his brave armour, bedight with bronze, and hasted through the city, trusting to his nimble feet. Even as when a

stalled horse, full-fed at the manger, breaketh his tether and speedeth at the gallop across the plain, being wont to bathe him in the fair-flowing stream exultingly; and holdeth his head on high, and his mane floateth about his shoulders, and he trusteth in his glory, and nimbly his limbs bear him . . Paris glittering in his armour like the shining sun, strode down from high Pergamos laughingly, and his swift feet bare him."


The Hebrew Love of Life

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The Hebrews do not have the Greek faculty of projecting the process of their experience in the mirror of thought. The Hebrews are not so æsthetic, not so scientific, not so philosophical. They excel, they are creative, in their ethical attitude toward life. But this same untranslatable love of life which we see in Homer exists in the Old Testament. Isaiah gives an account of Hezekiah's reflections after he had recovered from sickness and so escaped sheol or hades: "By these things men live and in all these things is the life of my spirit. . . . For the grave cannot praise thee. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day" (38:16, 18, 19). This pure joy in life overflows in the CIV Psalm. Yahweh "causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine and bread which strengtheneth man's heart" (vv. 14, 15).



The Body in the Early Greek Tradition

Modern literature tends toward a description of mental states; it regards the body as an instrument of the mind. In Homer the body is a basic and integral part of the personality. Individuals are recognized by their feet and knees. Instead of Agamemnon saying to Nestor, "while I live," he says, "while my breath abides in my breast and my knees move." The body in Homer is not a dead tool of the soul; it is a living thing. Anger, courage, despair, are in the heart, are in the breast. When a man dies he gasps out, he breathes out, his life. A man experiences fear because fear seizes his limbs. The soul doesn't leave the body at death; it is literally "torn from the limbs."

Characters in Homer having perfect bodily qualities are thought of as divine. "Priam marvelled at Achilles to see how great he was and how goodly, for he was like a god to look upon." Over and over again Homer speaks of the soul as being torn from the limbs, thereby expressing a closer unity of soul and body than exists in the modern mind. There was no incompatibility between spirit and body in early Greek life. The gods on the frieze of the Par

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