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 Langsam
devra at aol.com
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