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abandon a single hereditary guest friend, but am unable to afford hospitality to any larger number.' He repeats almost the words of Telemachus receiving the suppliant seer (o 280), "Come into the ship, and then you shall be friendly entreated with the best that we can afford.'
There are certainly two points of great importance already mentioned, — points upon which the lyric age had made a decided advance, if not an improvement, on the Homeric range of feeling and sentiment. The first is the emotion of love, which is described as quite a different passion in its manifestations by the lyric poets, and is frequently concentrated on different objects. It is difficult to handle such a subject freely, but it is far too important in any social sketch of the Greeks to bear being omitted.
I shall merely indicate points of view and materials which may guide the student who seeks to comprehend this aspect of Greek life more thoroughly.
In the first place, as I said above, the lyric poets describe the emotion of love with a passion and an intensity quite foreign to the rhapsodists. Even when Agamemnon and Achilles quarrel fiercely about a fair captive, there is hardly one word about their passion for her. Nay, the peerless beauty Helen excites mere vulgar passion in her seducer; nor do we hear of any deeper and nobler feeling in Menelaus, whose private emotions are kept out of view by the poet, to be developed with full richness and beauty by the great Æschylus in a later age. The marital affections of Hector, Ulysses, and their wives, are deep and lasting, but there is nowhere any hint of that sort
of all-absorbing influence which we meet in Archilochus and Sappho, just as we meet it in all the great modern poets. It is there in Archilochus, even in the wretched scraps left us by jealous time: 'I lie wretched and lifeless with desire (fr. 14), pierced to the inmost marrow by the potent pang of the gods,' says he; and there is no doubt what pang he means, if we compare fr. 103, where he speaks of the desire of love pouring a mist over his eyes and stealing away his heart.' No Homeric hero would have understood such poignant feelings on the score of a woman. There was, no doubt, desire, but desire such as that of Aphrodite in the song of Demodocus, or of Paris in the second book of the Iliad, of Penelope's suitors, or of the same Aphrodite in the famous Homeric Hymn addressed to her. There was love of home, and with it of wife and children, but no passion other than mere sensual passion, and that treated rather as a natural appetite, than as anything high or worthy of poetic glory.
But in the lyric age we have Archilochus, we have, above all, Sappho, whom I have above quoted (p. 105), we have Ibycus, we have Anacreon, devoting all their genius and their art to sing of this all-powerful master of human happiness and misery.
There is yet a greater change in the objects towards which it was felt. Here first in Greek literature we meet with that strange and to us revolting perversion, which reached its climax in later times, and actually centred upon beautiful boys all the romantic affections which we naturally feel between opposite sexes, and opposite sexes alone. The reason of it is obvious enough. It is only when mental refinement is added to physical beauty that the love of lyric poet, and mediæval knight and troubadour, becomes possiblethat love rises from an appetite to a sentiment. If this be so, I am convinced that the deeper and fuller awakening to love in our sense among Greek hearts was closely connected with the rise of the Asiatic custom of attachments among men. The degradation, as we should say, in the object of their love (from natural to unnatural) was the cause of the ennoblement of that feeling itself. The generous affection for an intellectual equal displayed in the second part of Theognis' Elegies, the various stories of heroism and self-devotion which were familiar to Greek historians-these were not possible in early Greek society, except under the strange conditions to which I have adverted. We have as yet no Aspasia to advocate the higher education of women.
We have in many cities a tendency to seclude women, and prevent them from being companions to their lovers. Thus their natural place was invaded by those fair and stately youths, with their virgin looks, and maiden modesty, who fired Solon and Theognis, and Socrates and Epaminondas -- in fact, almost every great Greek in their greatest days.
There remains but one more topic to complete our review—the moral and religious progress of the lyric age as compared with the boasted excellence of Homer. Here there was indeed a change of vast importance. Of old, the poet had been the only accredited preacher,
expounding the brief and obscure responses of the oracles, describing the lives of the great men of old, then advancing to personal reflections, to gnomic wisdom, and to terse summaries of human experience. In these various functions the poets had been, if I may so say, the established clergy of the older Greeks. But now there sprang up a new class of teachers, the philosophers, who thought themselves clear of the wretched polytheism of the Epos, with its shameful immoralities, and taught a larger creed and purer morals. Of course the old poets were at first contemptuous, then disgusted, then abusive.
This is the old contest between poetry and philosophy of which Plato speaks (Rep. p. 607, C): "of which there are many proofs, such as the saying [of the poets] of “the yelping hound howling at her lord,” or of one “ mighty in the vain talk of fools,” and “the mob of sages circumventing Zeus," and "the subtle thinkers who are beggars after all”; and there are ten thousand other signs of ancient enmity between them.'
Such studies,' he says again, in the Laws (p. 967 C), gave rise to much atheism and perplexity, and the poets took occasion to be abusive—comparing the philosophers to dogs, uttering vain howlings, and saying other nonsense of the same sort. I said, the case is reversed. Of course it was reversed gradually, and so Plato is able in the Protagoras (Jowett, i. p. 125), to speak of the old poets as really the forerunners of the Sophists, and thus opposed to true and philosophic teaching.
But the struggle was long, though never doubtful.
But now, as
Xenophanes, writing in verse no doubt, but still decidedly a philosopher, as opposed to the professed poets, decries the singing old theologies about gods and Titans. Pindar, a poet, though affecting to be a philosophic teacher, shows constant traces of the struggle. But he is clearly on the defensive. Though he abuses the philosophers, he is obliged to manipulate and palliate the myths. He speaks contemptuously (Nem. iii. 40) of artificial wisdom, which attempts a thousand virtues and attains none: 'Atelñ copias Kapnòv Opérelv is his expression (fr. 124) for philosophy. Yet he is elsewhere obliged to deny the received stories of murder and adultery among the blessed gods. He tries to mediate between faith and rationalism, but of course in vain. He may accommodate some isolated legends, he may even venture to deny others, but no piecemeal criticism, no surrendering of outworks, no attempted truce with the enemy, could save the old Greek religion. Even the poets, who professed to find in the myths a solid creed, and who asserted themselves as the accredited moral teachers of the nation--even they owed their noblest thoughts and their loftiest poetry, not to the Epos, but to the contact with their opponents. Thus in Pindar, of whom we can speak most confidently, we are not attracted by his long mythical narratives, or by his moral lessons drawn from these models, in any sense as we are attracted by those splendid passages where he shows contact with the Orphic mysteries, or whatever theosophy had brought into life the reward of the good and the punishment of sinners in a future life.