Page:The Iliad of Homer (Butler).djvu/15

This page has been validated.

ence to the letter—to which, after all, neither he nor any man can adhere.

These last words may suggest that I claim graces which Dr. Leaf has not attained. I can make no such claim. All I claim is to have done my best towards making the less sanguinary parts of the Iliad interesting to English readers. The more sanguinary parts cannot be made interesting; indeed I doubt whether they can ever have been so, or even been intended to be so, to a highly cultivated audience. They had to be written, and they were written; but it is clear that Homer often wrote them with impatience, and that actual warfare was as distasteful to him as it was foreign to his experience. Happily there is much less fighting in the Iliad than people generally think.

One word more and I have done. I have burdened my translation with as few notes as possible, intending to reserve what I have to say about the Iliad generally for another work to be undertaken when my complete translation of the Odyssey has been printed. Lastly, the reception of my recent book, "The Authoress of the Odyssey," has convinced me that the general reader much prefers the Latinised names of gods and heroes to those which it has of late years been attempted to popularise: I have no hesitation, therefore, in adhering to the nomenclature to which Pope, Mr. Gladstone, and Lord Derby have long since familiarised the public.


August 8, 1898.