By Nigel G. Wilson
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But here Denham steps away from Homer altogether, as clarity is abandoned to style. To what does "this fate" refer'? might it decline'? To where would he "advance"'? "Glorious Folly"'? It seems likely that in the oral How What is the presentations of Homer's own time, the audience would have had to perceive immediately or not at all. This Restoration version can be puzzled out, and with certainty, but not without a pause for contemplation. At this point we are where Pope was soon to be; it is still a tremendously good poem, but it is no longer homeric in that one respect.
Same. He expects a translation to produce the Chapman gets it right; he says: Like the night he ranged the host. Pope, on the other hand, misses completely: Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread, And loomy darkness roll'd around his head. Tickel misses "idiotically": In clouds he flew, conceal'd from mortal sight. while Cowper, in this case, is "best of all": Like night he came; and Sotheby is "not as good as Cowper, only because not literally Homer": As the God descended, dark as night. 9 Dryden's version, at this point, says Wilson, is "vigorous" (17).
So why rhyme a translation of the Iliad? may be serendipity. The best reason Because in poetry, restrictions (such as rhyme) require invention, which in good hands leads to inspiration. The man who walks straight from point A to point B is efficient, perhaps, but he sees less, encounters less, and discovers less than one who takes the wandering and difficult course. Yes, rhyming will inevitably pull a translation away from the literal word of the original, and yes, there are no rhymes in the Iliad.