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469 GREECE-LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND ART,

Pisistratus was tyrant of Athens the work was undertaken at his instance and under his

patronage. The Athenian grammarian Onomacritus was appointed to revise and arrange both of

the poems, rejecting what appeared to him to be the interpolations of weaker bards and the

manifest corruptions of the ignorant. Thus were the two greatest epics of the world, flung

from the vigorous imagination of the Blind Being of Ionia, preserved and transmitted to

after ages in nearly the forms which now they bear. Of the time at which Homer flourished

only so much is known as that he lived in the mysterious epoch where history and fable

blended, and when Greece was just beginning to awake to a consciousness of her power.

Around Homer grew Up a race of bards called the "Cyclic poets"-like unto himself, but of

less repute. They were like the group of English writers known as the Shakespearean

dramatists, clustering about a greater light, in whose effulgence they were lost. Not only

have the works of the Cyclic bards perished, but most of themselves have not even left

behind the legacy of a name.

After the old Ionian hard came HESIOD. He was a Dorian, who flourished about a century

after Homer, and dwelt at the foot of Mount Helicon, near Delphi. His fond countrymen set

up their poet in rivalry with his great predecessor, and even invented a fiction that the

two had once contested for the- palm in song and that the award had been made to Hesiod.

But the story was an impossibility, both in time and fact. The subjects selected by the

Dorian hard were the fables of the gods. Instead of the stirring strifes of heroes he

recited the history of the national religion. He also collected and reduced to verse the

practical and proverbial wisdom of the people, in a rather tedious didactic poem called

Works and Days. Between these productions and the living pictures of Homer there is, in

both subject and treatment, the greatest possible contrast. Neither in Hesiod, their

master hard, nor in his successors, did the Boeotian school in Grecian literature ever

approximate the excellence and breadth of the Ionic and Attic authors.

After the epic-which ceased to be cultivated from the epoch of Homer and Hesiod -the next

kind of Greek poetry which appeared was the LYRIC. In the form of elegy it became as the

heroic songs of the masters. The elegy, like the epic, took its rise among the Ionian

Greeks of Asia Minor. To them it seems to have been suggested by the ulgos of the

Phrygians. It was primarily a song of wailing, to be chanted with the accompaniment of a

flute. Among the Greeks, however, the elegy took a wider range, and included in its

subjects the stirring themes of patriotism and war. Even love and conviviality were made

elegiac by the Hellenic bards, who, in alternate hexameters and pentameters, chanted the

fiery charms of passion and the joys of the festival.

It was in the seventh century B. C. that the elegy of the Greeks achieved its greatest

triumphs. Not infrequently the gravest affairs of state, the policy of cities, the conduct

of war, were determined by a song. Thus the old decrepit TYRT^EUS, who was, in answer to

an oracular call, sent in derision by the Athenians to be a leader of the Spartans, fired

them to a pitch of unprecedented enthusiasm by a battle-lyric composed for the occasion.

CALLINUS of Ephesus in like manner inspired his countrymen in their war with the

Magnesians. SOLON himself disdained not the composition of a poem by which he induced the

men of Athens to reconquer Salamis. The lyrics of THEOGNIS of Megara were collected and

taught as a manual of wisdom and virtue. The praises of those who fell at Marathon .were

sung in immortal strains by SIMONIDES of Chios, while the poems of MIMNERMOS exalt the

fleeting joys of life. as the fairest and best to which mortality may aspire.

The next development of Greek verse- also lyric--was the IAMBIC or personal poetry. For

the old Hellenic hard did not forbear to assail his enemy with caustic words as well as

spears and javelins. This type of poetry seems to have been invented by ARCHILOCUS, who,

taking advantage of the license conceded to all at the festival of Demeter to indulge in

personal mockery and jests, introduced a new style of verse,