Specimens of the Poets and Poetry of Greece and Rome PDF ePub eBook

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Specimens of the Poets and Poetry of Greece and Rome free pdf Excerpt from Specimens of the Poets and Poetry of Greece and Rome: By Various Translators "There are," says a late accomplished scholar, in his introduction to the study of the classic poets, "certain peculiar properties characterizing the Greeks and Romans, and contradistinguishing them from the present natives of Europe, which must be known, felt, and borne in mind, by those who would study the classic literature aright. The most essential of these consist in the facts, that the old Greek and Roman poets were - I. Pagans- - II. Southerns, or Inhabitants of the South of Europe- - III. Ignorant of Chivalry. I. The spirit of the old Paganism is more freely diffused in the poetry than in any other part of the ancient literature. The Fancy and the Imagination, the two chief working faculties of a poet, are the most susceptible of a deep impression from the forms and influences of a national mythology- and therefore it is, that, while in their historians, their orators, and even their philosophers we may, for the most part, recognise the Greeks and Romans for our own contemporaries of some foreign nation, in their poets we must be conscious of a tone oftentimes completely alien to the moral or popular associations of modern days. Not detailing the chances of actual wars, or (with an exception, sometimes, on the tragic stage.) the intrigues of ambition, which in all ages must be nearly the same- not aiming to persuade an audience to a given measure, by means identical with those in use in every country- not speculating clandestinely on the probable amount of truth in metaphysical or religious systems- - the poet, taking his stand, as he did, upon the sure ground of human passion, addressed himself, nevertheless, to the common hearts of his own countrymen of every rank and every age. His object was to please and to captivate the minds of all, and, when he taught, his lessons were, for the most part, conveyed under the form of familiar and favourite fable. The morality of the nation was his morality, the popular religion in general was his also. With him the eternal dwellers of Olympus spoke, and moved, and had a being- with him the common powers or functions of nature were impersonated- an old and awful genius lay shrouded in the dark-crested waves of the Scamander, and flowers and sacrificial wine were thank-offerings meet for the secret Naiad of Bandusia. II. Intimately connected with the character of the Religion of the ancient Classics, is the fact of their being natives and inhabitants of the South of Europe. Whether Montesquieu has not contended for an influence on the laws and governments of men, which is disproved by history and experience, may well be doubted- but that the Greeks and Italians, from the earliest times to this hour have been, as nations, distinguished from the Northern tribes by a more sensuous conception of the Divinity, and by a craving after a visible and tangible representation of Him on earth, is indisputable. It is not difficult to account for the fact. The inhabitant of those sunny lands, where the light of day is so bountifully spread abroad, was naturally a worshipper of the external face of nature- his studies, his exercises, his amusements, were all in the open air, and he prayed and sacrificed in the face of heaven. By a natural impulse of gratitude and admiration, which acted in the absence of a revealed knowledge of the true God, the early shepherd or herdsman would fain deify the fountains and rivers which purified him, the winds which refreshed him, the sun and the moon which lighted him- but these were either invisible influences, or bodies frequently or always out of his reach, and oftentimes withdrawn from his sight. He therefore wanted a visible and tangible Form, which, with various aspect, might symbolically represent them all - which he could believe might sympathize with humanity, and to which he might raise his eyes in adoration without debasement. Where could he.

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Details Book

Author : William Peter
Publisher : Forgotten Books
Data Published : 27 September 2015
ISBN : 1331345243
EAN : 9781331345244
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 548 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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