dwj-digest Even Homer Nods

Devra at aol.com Devra at aol.com
Sun Oct 7 20:00:28 EDT 2001


I have this very vague (I was an English major once, before I was seduced by 
the juvenile side of literature) feeling that Ben Johnson, in his elegy to 
Our Beloved Master William Shakespeare, umm--no, that was 'small Latin and 
less Greek"...   One of the Restoration chappies,  like Pope or Dryden...?

    Hurray for Barlett's!  Quintus Horatius Flaccus Horace (65-8 BC) said it 
in Ars Poetica:  "Sometimes even good old Homer nods"--to indicate that you 
don't need to accept everything a famed person says, or perhaps that you're 
more knowledgeable than that old fart everyone keeps praising...

    AhHA!  I was right!  In his An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope 
(1688-1744) said: "Those oft are strategems which errors seem, Nor is it 
Homer nods, but we that dream..."  --basically, so there to you, bub.

    But obviously the Horace quotation was pretty common knowledge 1700 years 
later, so that Pope could so casually refer to it.

Devra



Devra Langsam
www.poisonpenpress.com
devra at aol.com
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