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A large number of persons gathered yesterday afternoon in Sever 11 to listen to Professor Wright's second lecture on "The Study of Homer."
After a short summary of his previous lecture, Professor Wright traced briefly the traditions and history of the Homeric poems down to the present day, following with a sketch of their chief characteristics and remarks on the range and nature of the work in Homer which will be carried on in the freshman class. The speaker said that when the distinctly Greek civilzation passed away, Homer fell into disuse and Virgil took his place. For little was known about Homer at that time and the translations were poor. About this time spurious poems by Dictys of Crete and Dares the Phrygian appeared and for a long time these were thought more trustworthy than the Homeric poems. In these two poems the Trojans were famed, not the Greeks as in Homer, and the number of persons who were killed was estimated at 676,000 Trojans, and 886,000 Greeks. Shakespeare is said to have obtained the groundwork of his Troilus and Cresida from Dares' poem. In the fourteenth century the study of Homer was awakened by the students of the Byantine empire who flocked to Rome and Florence, and in 1488, the first edition of the original Greek appeared. In 1610 an English edition of Homer was published by George Chapman. A book by Robert Wood in 1769 on the Original Genius of Homer awakened a great deal of interest.
Some scholars have refused to believe that Homer wished to describe the Trojan war and even Mr. Glad stone in our day is said to believe that the poems are full of Egyptian mythology. We have today a more correct text than ever before. Homer has a wonderful ability to enter into the spirit of his poems and make his characters perfect representatives of the qualities they typify. Achilles, the type of heroic might, violent in anger and sorrow, capable also of chivalrous and tender compassion-Odyssey, the type of resourceful intelligence. joined to heroic endurance. How remarkable too his types of women-"Androwmache the young wife and mother who in losing Hector must lose all-Penelope loyal under hard trial to her long absent lord; the Helen of the Iliad, remorseful, clearsighted, keenly sensitive of any kindness shown her at Troy; the Helen of the Odyssey, restored to honor at her home at Sparta; the maiden Nausicaa, so beautiful in the dawning promise of a noble womanhood-perfect in her delicacy, her grace, her general courage.
In conclusion Professor Wright urged upon his hearers the necessity of considering these poems, not as mere tasks set for school boys, but rather as mighty creations that have been the inspiration of the best men for more than twenty centuries. In reading Homer, we are in noble companionship, we catch the voices that reached the ears and stirred the hearts of Pericles and Alexander, of Virgil and Milton.
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