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middle of the street and abuse each other with reproaches both true and false?' We shall find the same. license implied in many of the lyric poets.

But I do not feel at all sure whether the very mild censure expressed against infidelity is to be regarded as a trustworthy reflex of the morals of the times. No doubt the painful facts which I have noticed above (p. 31) must have blunted the moral sense of men on these delicate relations. Though we now-a-days rate personal purity so highly, that the loss of it by misfortune is hardly less excused by society than its abandonment through passion, yet in the Homeric times, when the compulsory infidelity of a wife as a prisoner of war was openly recognised, and in no way reprehended, this callous attitude may have reflected its influence upon cases of voluntary sin, and so they came to be regarded less heinous than they should have been. All this is possible, and may be allowed, I think, some weight. So also the open concubinage allowed to married men often afforded a plea for retaliation, and a justification in the case of crime.

But yet, after all these allowances, I think we must still attribute the most important reason for the apparent leniency with which the adultery of princesses is regarded to the poet's own social position, and to the audience before whom he sang. Doubtless noble ladies were present at his songs; he owed to their favour many precious gifts, and perhaps a comfortable retreat in the precincts of the palace. It was necessary then to treat them, as he does the kings, with peculiar leniency, and to set down their delinquencies to the

special temptations of the gods, rather than their own wickedness.

It was, I think, for this part of his audience that the poet inserted the list of celebrated ladies whom. Ulysses met in the lower regions. I hardly think the male part of the audience felt sufficient interest in them. If they did, it would be an additional proof of the prominence of noble ladies in their society, and of the celebrity which a lady of exceptional beauty and rank might attain. There can be no doubt that this passage was very similar to the fuller catalogue of female worthies known as the 'Hoîat and ascribed to Hesiod.

Despite of all that the advocates of Homeric morals may say, there is nowhere throughout the poems a really strong reprobation of Helen's adultery, even in her own mind. She is never spoken of as disgraced in the eyes of men, she is never regarded as a castaway, or unfit to return to her position in Menelaus' palace. If she had not caused bloodshed and misery by the Trojan war, I see little reason to think that her crime would have been regarded much. more seriously than that of Aphrodite in the lay of Demodocus.

The treatment of Clytemnestra is, I think, equally lenient, if we consider her more violent character, and that she added the crime of murder to her adultery ( 263 sqq.). She is specially said to have been of a good disposition, and to have stood firm as long as the old bard whom Agamemnon had left in charge of her was there to advise her. The shade of Agamemnon of course (in λ) speaks more sharply; but the advice put

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into his mouth shows how strong was the influence and intimate the relation of married women as regards their husbands: Take care not to speak your mind to your wife, but keep back something'-an advice which is sometimes given in the present day by people who pretend to be practical men, and who have never heard of Agamemnon. Noble ladies then came strictly within the limits of the exclusive caste, they were treated with courtesy, and even too great leniency, and occupied a very important position in aristocratic society.

The very same remark will hold good of the servants attached to noble houses. They were often, as we are told, children of good birth, brought up with the children of the family, after they had been bought from the vagrant pirates who had kidnapped them. In fact, there appears to have been no traffic such as afterwards existed, which brought slaves of inferior races, usually Thracians and Syrians, into Greek ports. There was, in Homer's day, no feeling of shame at enslaving other Greeks; nor, indeed, had the Greeks separated themselves in idea from other nations under the title of Hellenes. So the slave was, or at least might be, socially his master's equal; and I think the bards take pains to tell us that those who distinguished themselves by fidelity to their masters, were, after all, of no common origin (like the wretched day-labourers who worked for hire), but were really, though lowered by misfortune, members of the same caste society of which I am now speaking.

These confidential servants were, perhaps, excep

tions; for we find the faithlessness of the mass of Ulysses' household coupled (p 319) with the general reflection 'that Zeus takes away half a man's virtue in the day that slavery comes upon him.' If we wish, however, to see the good side of the matter, we need only read what is told of Euryclea, and of Eumæus the swineherd, to see how thoroughly they belonged to the family, and felt with it against the lower domestics. Eumæus tells the disguised Ulysses the history of his life, and of his intimate relations to Laertes and Anticlea. He speaks with gratitude of the comfortable position which he holds, but nothing can compensate for the exile in which his circumstances have placed him. He longs to see his old patrons, to talk with them, be entertained by them, and to carry back to his country home some token of their affection in the shape of a present1. Euryclea, who plays a leading part through the poem, is clearly one of the mainstays of the house, and so self-devoted in her conduct. that we feel hurt with Ulysses as we do nowhere else in the whole poem, when he threatens her, should she be wanting in discretion (~ 487)2. Such slaves

1 Not a keepsake, as I have already explained. 2 There is a curious combination of harshness and of high feeling in this passage, which is one of the finest in either poem. The old nurse, recognising him suddenly by his scar, lets everything fall, and the bath pours over the floor. Overcome by a burst of mingled joy and grief, she cries out and looks round to Penelope, whose eyes are darkened, and her mind distracted by Athene that she may not perceive it. Ulysses seizes her by the throat, and whispers vehemently: Nurse, why will you destroy me-you that nursed me at your breast-now that I am come home a wayworn sufferer after twenty years? But since god has

differed in social standing but little from the free attendants (ỏτpnpoì lepáñovtes), who held a very honourable position in the retinue of the chiefs, just as wellbred gentlemen and men of respectability are even now not ashamed to perform menial duties at the courts of kings and governors.

Even the animals, such as horses and dogs, which were attached to the Homeric chief, enjoyed their privileges accordingly. The horses of Achilles, with their human sympathies and with their human voice, remind us of Balaam's ass, and the intimate relations which she had with the prophet. Indeed, throughout the whole Iliad, the poets seem to be full of sympathy with the energy and fire of the war-horses. In the Odyssey the dog Argus takes the place of the horses of Achilles. The island was rugged, as Telemachus says to Menelaus, when he offered him a chariot and pair as a present, and chariot-driving was consequently not in fashion. But the dogs, chosen for both speed and scent, the faithful companions of the young men in hunting, must have been as highly esteemed as they are now, and they must have attained, through

allowed you to recognise me, silence! and let no one in the house know it, (for if you do) I solemnly declare that I shall not spare you, though you are my nurse, when I am putting to death the other women-servants in my house.' And she answers: Child, how could you say such a thing? you know how staunch is my resolve, and that I shall keep the secret, like some hard stone or mass of iron. But when the day of vengeance comes, I can tell you who are the women who are dishonouring your house.' He answers: Nurse, why should you tell of them? 'tis not your business, I shall find them out for myself. Keep you silent, and leave it to the gods.'

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