Imatges de pÓgina
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PART I

THE FIRST EMPIRE

IDEALS OF CONDUCT

CHAPTER I

THE GREEK AND HEBREW LOVE OF LIFE

The Greek Love of Life

Alcinous is described in Homer as sitting on a throne in his palace and drinking wine like an immortal. This abounding love of life contemplated sickness and death with indescribable horror. Death "draws the spirit from the limbs;" old age wastes one's life out of one's body. The Homeric Greek prayed to Zeus that he might live to a smooth old age. How pathetic is Homer's exclamation: "Man's life is brief enough!" When Odysseus and his companions escaped from the cave of Cyclops, a glad sight, says Homer, were they to their fellows, for they had fled from death. The soul in hades flits around like a lifeless shadow. When Odysseus visits hades he is besought by the luckless Elpenor, whose corpse had been left unburied, not only to bury his body but to plant upon the barrow his oar wherewith he rowed in the days of his life, while he was yet among his fellows. How full of the deepest yearning for life is this sad request!

In the Homeric poems the simple processes of living

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