Isle, there to find Odysseus chafing under restraint. There ensue the departure, the anger of Poseidon, the wreck, and the rescue in the land of the Phæacians. The scene shifts to the brilliant court of their king, Alcinous, before whom Odysseus recounts the wonderful adventures which preceded his arrival at Calypso's island. In Phæacia Odysseus meets Nausicaa, the fairest and most radiant girlish figure in Greek literature. Nothing will better illustrate the difference between Homer and Virgil than a comparison of Nausicaa's words of parting with the violent outpourings of Dido's spirit when Æneas leaves her. This part of the "Odyssey" is also highly interesting and important for the way in which the bard Demodocus represents the traditions and methods of the heroic lay.
The second half of the story begins when the Phæacians carry Odysseus home. Disguised as a beggar, he meets with a series of encounters which give full play to the dramatic devices of recognition and irony, so skillfully practiced later on the Greek stage. He discloses himself to Telemachus. Then his old dog Argos recognizes him, in a scene full of pathos. Finally, after a supreme trial of strength and skill, and the slaughter of the suitors, the husband makes himself known to his wife, and then to his aged father. Faults of repetition there are in plenty; but they only show with what fondness the epic poets loved to linger on the story, and how eager their audiences were to have the tale prolonged.
THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE HOMERIC POEMS
The Greeks were fond of recounting personal details about their great men, but they were unable to tell about a real Homer. The later legends concerning his life are meager, and almost wholly disregarded by the scholars of Alexandria. His blindness is a trait often remarked to-day among the popular singers in the villages of Greece and Macedonia. It is beautifully portrayed in the well-known bust in the Naples Museum. Seven cities claimed the honor of being his birthplace. They were mostly on the shores of Asia Minor or the adjacent islands—a fact which attests what we knew before from the language of the poems, that their latest composers were Ionian Greeks, and that the poems had a vogue on that coast
- See "Æneid," in H. C., xiii, 163ff.