page 180. The Present State of Art. 18.
thing on the growing Hand, and the very Soul"and Genius of the People rising to higher Attempts, and a more liberal manner."
After our Author has thus happily found Terms to communicate an Observation to the World, which had hitherto been taken notice of only by a few, of the same uncommon Measure of Understanding and Sagacity with himself; he goes on from the Accounts left us of the State of ancient Greece by the most accurate of their Historians, to point out to us three periods in their Affairs.
The first from the dark Ages, of "which they had little or no Knowledge, to the "Time of the Trojan War. The second, from "the taking of Troy to the Persian Invasion un- "der Xerxes. The third, from that Time to the "Loss of their Liberty, first by the Macedonians, "and then by the Romans. Greece was peopled in"the first; the grew, and the Constitution was "settled in the second; the enjoyed it in the third, and was in all her Glory. From the two first "Periods, Homer drew his Imagery and Manners,learned his Language, and took his Subject." For this Reason he takes a Review of them in the Sequel of this Section.
He tells us "Greece is in the main but a rough and sterile Country. It was of old but thinly "inhabited, and these Inhabitants had no constant Possessions, one Nation or Tribe frequently expelling another, and possessing themselves of their Seats. At Sea, from their very first Practice of Navigation, they turned themselves wholly to Piracy; and thought living by Plunder an honorable Mark of their Spirit and Bravery. These were the Manners in Homer'sDays, and such we find them in his Writings;
Art.18. the Republic of Letters.page 181.
He was born at a Time when Arms were in Repute, and Force decided Possession; when he might, as he grew up, be a Spectator of all the various Situations of human Race; observe them in
great Calamities and in high Felicity;
fee Towns taken and plundered, the Men put to the Sword, and the Women made Slaves;behold their despairing Faces, and suppliant Postures; here their Meanings o'er their murdered Husbands, and Prayers for their Instants to the Victor. On the other hand, he might view Cities blessed with Peace, spirited by Liberty, flourishing in Trade and increasing in Wealth. These were the Scenes he wandered thro', and at leisure observed. Nor was it the least instructive Sight, to see a Colony led out,a City founded, the Foundations of Order and Policy laid, with all the Provisions for the Security of the People: Such Scenes afford extended Views, and natural ones too, as they are the immediate Effect of Necessity the great Parent of Invention, in its young and untaught "Essays."
This was the first of those fortunate Circumstances, which concurred to raise Homer to that unparalleled pitch of Perfection and Fame, which he obtained and stands possessed of.The Marvelous and Wonderful is the Nerve of the Epic Strain: This is not to be found in a well ordered State. But in a wide Country,not under a regular Government, or split into many, whose Inhabitants live scattered, and ignorant of Laws and Discipline; in such a Country, the Manners are simple; and Accidents will happen every Day, proper to inflame the Human Passions while acting, or a wake them when described, and recalled by Imitation.