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Omitted Passages And Variations
by [?]

[Greek: En Delo tote proton ego xai Homeros aoidoi
Melpomen, en nearois umnois rapsantes aoide.]

‘Then, first of all,’ says Hesiod, ‘did I and Homer chant as bards in Delos, laying the nexus of our poetic composition in proaemial hymns.’ We understand him to mean this: There were many singers and harpers who sang or accompanied the words of others; perhaps ancient words–at all events, not their own. Naturally he was anxious to have it understood that he and Homer had higher pretensions. They killed their own mutton. They composed the words as well as sang them. Where both functions were so often united in one man’s person, it became difficult to distinguish them. Our own word bard or minstrel stood in the same ambiguity. You could not tell in many cases whether the word pointed to the man’s poetic or musical faculty. Anticipating that doubt, Hesiod says that they sang as original poets. For it is a remark of Suidas, which he deduces laboriously, that poetry, being uniformly sung in the elder Greece, acquired the name of [Greek: aoide]. This term became technically appropriated to the poetry, or substance of whatever was sung, in contradistinction to the musical accompaniment. And the poet was called [Greek: aoidos] So far Hesiod twice over secures the dignity of their office from misinterpretation. And there, by the word [Greek: raphantes] he indicates the sort of poetry which they cultivated, viz., that which was expanded into long heroic narratives, and naturally connected itself both internally amongst its own parts, and externally with other poems of the same class. Thus, having separated Homer and himself from the mere musicians, next he separates them even as poets from those who simply composed hymns to the Gods. These heroic legends were known to require much more elaborate study and art. Yet, because a critical reviewer might take occasion to tax his piety in thus composing human legends in neglect of the Gods, Hesiod, forestalling him, replies: ‘You’re out there, my friend; we were both pious, and we put our piety into hymns addressed to the Gods, which, with cabinetmakers’ skill, we used also as interludes of transition from one legend to another.’ For it is noticed frequently and especially by a Scholiast on Aristophanes (Pac. 826), that generally speaking the proaemia to the different parts of narrative-poems were entirely detached, [Greek: kai ouden pros to pragma delon], and explain nothing at all that concerns the business.

2.–Mrs. Evans and the ‘Gazette.’

In his autobiographic sketch, ‘Introduction to the World of Strife,’ he tells of his brother’s enterprise in establishing the Gazette, which was to record their doings, and also of Mrs. Evans’s place on the Gazette. The following is evidently a passage which was prepared for that part of the article, but was from some cause or other omitted:

I suppose no creature ever led such a life as I led on the Gazette; sometimes running up, like Wallenstein, to the giddiest pinnacles of honour, then down again without notice or warning to the dust; cashiered–rendered incapable of ever serving H. M. again; nay, actually drummed out of the army, my uniform stripped off, and the ‘rogue’s march’ played after me. And all for what? I protest, to this hour, I have no guess. If any person knows, that person is not myself; and the reader is quite as well able to furnish guesses to me as I to him–to enlighten me upon the subject as I him.

Mrs. Evans was a very important person in the play; I don’t suppose that things could have gone on without her. For, as there was no writer in the Gazette but my brother, so there was no reader of it except Mrs. Evans. And here came in a shocking annoyance to me that, as often as any necessity occurred (which was every third day) for restoring me to my rank, since my brother would not have it supposed that he could be weak enough to initiate such an indulgence, the Gazette threw the onus of this amiable weakness, and consequently of my gratitude, upon Mrs. Evans, affirming that the major-general had received a pardon and an amnesty for all his past atrocities at the request of ‘a distinguished lady,’ who was obscurely indicated in a parenthesis as ‘the truly honourable Mrs. Evans.’ To listen to the Gazette one would have supposed that this woman, who so cordially detested me, spent her whole time in going down on her knees and making earnest supplications to the throne on my behalf. But what signified the representations of the Gazette if I knew them to be false? Aye, but I did not know that they were false. It is true that my obligations to her were quite aerial, and might, as the reader will think, have been supported without any preternatural effort. But exactly these aerial burdens, whether of gratitude or of honour, most oppressed me as being least tangible and incapable of pecuniary or other satisfaction. No sinking fund could meet them. And even the dull unimaginative woman herself, eternally held up to admiration as my resolute benefactress, got the habit (I am sure) of looking upon me as under nameless obligations to her. This raised my wrath. It was not that to my feelings the obligations were really a mere figment of pretence. On the contrary, according to my pains endured, they towered up to the clouds. But I felt that nobody had any right to load me with favours that I had never asked for, and without leave even asked from me; and the more real were the favours, the deeper the wrong done to me. I sought, therefore, for some means of retaliation. And it is odd that it was not till thirty years after that I perceived one. It then struck me that the eternal intercession might have been equally odious to her. To find herself prostrate for ever, weeping like Niobe, and, if the Gazette was to be believed, refusing to raise herself from the mud or the flinty pavement till I had been forgiven, and reinstated in my rank–ah, how loathsome that must have been to her! Ah, how loathsome the whole cycle of favours were to me, considering from whom they came! Then we had effectually plagued each other. And it was not without loud laughter, as of malice unexpectedly triumphant, that I found one night thirty years after, on regretting my powerlessness of vengeance, that, in fact, I had amply triumphed thirty years before. So, undaunted Mrs. Evans, if you live anywhere within call, listen to the assurance that all accounts are squared between us, and that we balanced our mutual debts by mutual disgust; and that, if you plagued me perversely, I plagued you unconsciously.