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As this is the only method by which men of genius and learning, though fmall perhaps my claim to either, can fhow their efteem for perfons of extraordinary merit, in a fuperior manner to the reft of mankind, I could never embrace a more favourable opportunity to exprefs my veneration for your Grace, than before a tranflation of fo ancient and valuable an author as Hefiod. Your high defcent, and the glory of your illuftrious anceitors, are the weakest foundations of your praife; your own exalted worth attracts the admiration, and I may say the love of all virtuous and distinguifhing fouls; and to that only I dedicate the following work. The many circumstances which contributed to the railing you to the dignities which you now enjoy, and which render you deferving the greatest favours a prince can bestow; and, what is above all, which fix you ever dear in the affection of your country, will be no fmall part of the English hiftory, and fhall make the name of Argyll facred to every generation; nor is it the least part of your character, that the nation entertains the highest opinion of your tafte and judgment in the polite arts.

You, my Lord, know how the works of genius lift up the head of a nation above her neighbours, and give it as much honour as fuccefs in arms; among these we must reckon our tranflations of the claffics, by which, when we have naturalized all Greece and Rome, we shall be fo much richer than they were by fo many original productions as we fhall have of our own. By tranflations. when performed by able hands, our countrymen have an opportunity of discovering the beauties of the ancien's, without the trouble and expence of learning their languages; which are of no other advantage to us than for the authors who have writ in them; among which the pocts are in the first rank of honour, whofe veries are the delightful channels through which the belt precepts of morality are conveyed to the mind, they have generally fomething in the fo much above the common fefe of mankind; and that delivered with fuch dignity of expreffion, and in fuch harmony of numbers, all which put together, conftitute the as divinum, that the reader is inspired with January 1728.

fentiments of honour and virtue, he thinks with abhorrence of all that is bafe and trifling; I may say, while he is reading, he is exalted above himself.

You, my Lord, I say, have a juft fenfe of the benefits arifing from works of genius, and will therefore pardon the zeal with which I exprefs myself concerning them: and great is the blefling, that we want not perfon who have hearts equal to their power to cherish them: and here I muft beg leave to pay a debt of gratitude to one, who, I dare fay, is as highly thought of by all lovers of polite learning as by mysel I mean the Earl of Pembroke; whofe notes I have used in the words in which he gave them to me, and diftinguished them by a particular mark from the reft. Much would I fay in commendation of that great man ; but I am checked by the fear of offending that virtue which every one admires. The fame reafon makes me dwell lefs on the praise of your Grace than my heart inclines me to.

The many obligations which I have received from a lady, of whofe virtues I can never say too much, make it a duty in me to mention her in the moft grateful manner; and particularly before a tranflation, to the perfecting which I may with propriety fay fhe greatly conduced, by her kind folicitations in my behalf, and her earnest recommendation of me to several perfons of distinction. I believe your Grace will not charge me with vanity, if I confefs myself ambitious of being in the least degree of favour with fo excellent a lady as the Marchionefs of Annandale.

I fhall conclude without troubling your Grace with any more circumftances relating to myself, fincerely withing what I offer was more worthy your patronage; and at the fame time I beg it may be received as proceeding from a juft fenfe of your eminence in all that is great and laudable. I am,

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My Lord,

with the most profound respect,
your Grace's

most obedient,

and most humble fervant,





Sec. 1. The Introduction.

THE liyes of few perfons are confounded with many uncertainties and fabulous relations as those of Hefiod and Homer; for which reafon, what may poffibly be true, is fometimes as much difputed as the romantic part of their ftories. The firft has been more fortunate than the other, in furnishing us, from his writings, with fome circumftances of himself and family, as the condition of his father, the place of his birth, and the extent of his travels; and he has put it out of difpute, though he has not fixed the period, that he was one of the earlicft writers of whom we have any account.

in the following book. I have no doubt but Le
Clerc is right in the meaning of the word dir; but
at the fame time I think his obfervation on it trif-

foling, because, if his father was reduced to poverty,

we are not to infer from thence he was never
rich, or, if he was always poor, that is no argu-
ment against his being of a good family; nor is
the word divine in the leaft debased by being an
epithet to the fwincherd, but a proof of the dig-
nity of that office in thofe times. We are fup-
ported in this reading by Tzetzes: and Valla and
Frifius have took the word in the fame fenfe, in
their Latin translations of the Works and Days.

-Frater ades (fays Valla) generofo e fanguine


And Frifius calls him Perfe divine.

4. A judgment of his age and quality from filjon,

The genealogy likewife which the author of
the contention betwixt Homer and Hefiod, gives
us, very much countenances this interpretation.

2. Of his own and father's country, from bis writings.
He tells us in the fecond book of his Works and
Days, that his father was an inhabitant of Cuma,
in one of the Æolian ifles; from whence he re-
moved to Afcra, a village in Boeotia, at the foot
of mount Helicon; which was doubtless the place
of our poet's birth, though Suidas, Lilius Gyral-We are told in that work, that Linus was the fon
dus, Fabricius, and others, fay he was of Cuma. of Apollo, and of Thoofe the daughter of Neptone;
Hefiod himself seems, and not undefignedly, to King Pierus was the son of Linus, Oeagrus of Pie-
have prevented any mistake about his country; he rus and the nymph Methone, and Orpheus of Oc-
tells us pofitively, in the fame book, he never was agrus and the Mufe Calliope; Orpheus was the
but once at fea, and that in a voyage from Aulis, father of Othrys, Othrys of Harmonides, and Har-
á fea port in Boeotia, to the island Euboea. This, morides of Philoterpus; from him sprung Eu-
connected with the former paffage of his father phemus the father of Epiphrades, who begot Me-
failing from Cuma to Bootia, will leave us in nonalops the father of Dios; Hefiod and Feries were
doubt concerning his country:
the fons of Dios by Pucamede the daughter of
Apollo; Perfes was the father of Mæon, whofe
daughter Crytheis bore Homer to the river Mcles.
the brother of Hefiod. I do not give this account
Homer is here made the great grandson of Perfes
with a view it fhould be much depended on; for
it is plain from the poetical etymologies of the
names, it is a fictitious generation; yet two ufeful
inferences may be made from it; first, it is natural
have forged fuch an honourable defcent, unless it
to fuppofe the author of this genealogy would not
was generally believed he was of a great family;
nor would he have placed him so long before Ho-
mer, had it not been the prevailing opinion he was


3. Of bis quality, from his writings.

Of what quality his father was we are not very certain; that he was drove from Cuma to Afera, by misfortunes, we have the teftimony of Heliod. Some tell us he fled to avoid paying a fine; but what reafon they have to imagine that I know not. It is remarkable that our poet in the first book of his Works and Days, call: his brother day yvos.

We are told indeed that the name of his father was
Dios, of which we are not affured from any of his
writings now extant; but if it was, I rather be-
Heve, had he defigned to call his brother of the
race of Dios, he would have ufed Alysons or Air ys-
905; he must therefore by diov yivos intend to call
him of race divine. Le Clerc obferves, on this 5. Of bis age, from Longomontanus, and the Arundelian
paffage, that the old posts were always proud of
the epithet divine; and brings an initance from
Homer, who ftyled the fwincherd of Ulyffes fo.
In the fame remark he fays, he thinks Hefiod de-
bafes the word in his application of it, having
fpoke of the neceffitous circumftances of his father


Mr. Kennet quotes the Danish aftronomer Longomontanus, who undertook to fettle the age of Hefiod from fome lines in his Works and Days; and he made it agree with the Arundelian marble, which makes him about thirty years before Homer

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of the age of Homer or Hefiod. The Ionic poets, Dr. Clarke obferves, had one fixed rule of making the first fyllable in xaλo; long: the Attic poets Sophocles, Euripides, and Ariftophanes, in innumerable places, he fays, make it fhort; the Doric poets do the fame: all therefore that can be inferred from this is, that Homer always used it in the Ionic manner, and Hefiod often in the Ionic, and often in the Doric. This argument of Dr. Clarke's, founded on a fingle quantity of a word, is entirely destructive of Sir Ifaac Newton's fyftem of chronology; who fixes the time of Troy being taken but thirty-four years before Heliod flourished. Troy, he fays*, was taken nine hundred and four years before Chrift, and Hefiod, he fays, flourished eight hundred and feventy. This fhows Sir Ifaac Newton's opinion of the age of Hefiod in regard to his vicinity to Homer: his

8. The opinions of Juftus Lipfius, and Ludolphus bringing the chronology of both fo low as he does, is to fupport his favourite scheme of reducing all to fcripture chronology.

Neocorus confuted.

6. From Herodotus.

Herodotus affures us that Hefiod, whom he places first in his account, and Homer, lived four hundred years and no more before himfelf; this muft carry no small weight with it, when we confider it as delivered down to us by the oldest Greek hiftorian we have.

7. From his writings.

The pious exclamation against the vices of his own times, in the beginning of the iron age, and the manner in which the defcription of that age is wrote, most of the verbs being in the future tenfe, give us room to imagine he lived when the world had but just departed from their primitive virtue; just as the race of heroes was at an end, and men were funk into all that is base and wicked.

Juftus Lipfius, in his notes to the first book of Velleius Paterculus, fays, "there is more fimpli"city, and a greater air of antiquity in the works "of Hefiod than of Homer," from which he would infer he is the older writer: and Fabricius gives us these words of Ludolphus Neocor us, who writ a critical history of Homer: "if a judgment of "the two poets is to be made from their works, "Homer has the advantage in the greater fim. "plicity and air of antiquity in his ftyle. Hefiod " is more finished and elegant." One of thefe is a flagrant inftance of the random judgment which the critics and commentators often pafs on authors, and how little dependence is to be laid on fome of them. In fhort, they are both in an error; for, had they considered through how many hands the Iliad and Odyffes have been fince they came from the first author, they would not have pretended to determine the question, who was first by their ftyle.


9. Dr. Clarke's and Sir Ifaac Newton's opinions conjidered.


Dr. Samuel Clarke (who was indeed a perfon of much more extenfive learning and nicer difcernment than either Neocorus or Lipfius) has founded an argument for the antiquity of Homer on a quantity of the word xaños: in his note on the 43d verfe of the 2d book of the Iliad, he obferves, that Homer has ufed the word xxλos in the Iliad and Odyffey above two hundred and feventy times, and has in every place made the first syllable long; whereas Hefiod frequently makes it long, and often short: and Theocritus ufes it both long and fhort in the fame verfe; from which our learned critic infers that Hefiod could not be cotemporary with Homer (unless, fays he, they spoke different languages in different parts of the coun try) but nach later; because he takes it for granted, that the liberty of making the first fyllable of λ fhort was long after Homer; who uses the word above two hundred and feventy times, and never has the first fyllable fhort. This is a curious piece of criticism, but productive of no certainty

10. A thousand years before Chrift.

After all, it is universally agreed he was before, or at least cotemporary with Homer; but I think we have more reafon to believe him the older; and Mr. Pope, after all the authorities he could find in behalf of Homer, fixes his decifion on the Arundelian marble. To enter into all the dif putes which have been on this head, would be endefs and unneceffary; but we may venture to place him a thousand years before Chrift, without exceeding an hundred, perhaps, on either side.

11. Some circumflances of his life from his writings. Having thus far agreed to his parents, his country, and the time in which he rose, our next busi^ refs is to trace him in fuch of his actions as are difcoverable; and here we have nothing certain but what occurs to us in his works. That he tended his own flocks on mount Helicon, and there first received his notions of poetry, is very proba. ble from the beginning of his Theogony; but what he there fays of the mufes appearing to him¡ and giving him a fceptre of laurel, I pafs over as a poetical flight. It likewife appears, from the first book of his Works and Days, that his father left fome effects, when he died, on the division of which his brother Perfes defrauded him, by bribing the judges. He was fo far from being pro voked to any act of refentment by this injuftice, that he expreffed a concern for thofe poor miftaken mortals, who placed their happiness in riches only, even at the expence of their virtue. He lets us know, in the fome poem, that he was not only above want, but capable of affifting his brother in time of need; which he often did after the ill usage he had met with from him. The laft paffage, relating to himself, is his conqueft in a poetical contention. Amphidamas, king of Euboea, had inftituted funeral games in honour of his own memo ry, which his fons afterwards faw performed : Hefiod here was competitor for the prize in pre


* In kis chronology of ancient kingdoms amended,

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