THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER
DONE INTO ENGLISH PROSE
by S. H. BUTCHER, M.A.
A. LANG, M.A.
There would have been less controversy about the proper
method of Homeric translation, if critics bad recognised
that the question is a purely relative one, that of Homer
there can be no final translation. The taste and the
literary habits of each age demand different qualities in
poetry, and therefore a different sort of rendering of
Homer. To the men of the time of Elizabeth, Homer would
have appeared bald, it seems, and lacking in ingenuity, if
he had been presented in his antique simplicity. For the
Elizabethan age, Chapman supplied what was then necessary,
and the mannerisms that were then deemed of the essence of
poetry, namely, daring and luxurious conceits. Thus in
Chapman's verse Troy must 'shed her towers for tears of
overthrow,' and when the winds toss Odysseus about, their
sport must be called 'the horrid tennis.'