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‘And Homer's frequent employment of the figure which invests inanimate objects with life and motion by the medium of the metaphor. But in all of them it is by representing (objects) as animated—setting them as it were in action—that he distinguishes himself (acquires his popularity, secures our approbation): in the following for instance: “again (this belongs to the preceding sentence: αὖθις: ἔπειτα πέδονδε κυλίνδετο λᾶας ἀναιδὴς is the reading of Homer, Od. XI 598): then to the plain rolled the ruthless (remorseless) stone”’ [“Downward anon to the valley the boulder remorselessly bounded”]. The animating metaphor is of course in ἀναιδής, which attributes not only life, but also shamelessness, recklessness, remorselessness, want of mercy and proper feeling, to the stone. Whately, u.s., ingeniously, but not correctly: ‘provoking’, mocking Sisyphus' efforts, ἀναιδῆ, in the same sense, ruthless, pitiless, Soph. Oed. Col. 516. αἰδώς, clementia, misericordia, opposed to θρασύς, crudelis, Elmsl. ad Med. 461. This line has always been quoted as an example of “the sound an echo to the sense.”

‘And, “the arrow flew”—like a bird’—Hom. Il. N [XIII] 587.

‘And, “raging or yearning to fly to its mark”’. Il. Δ [IV] 126. This attributes human feelings and passions to the arrow, ὀϊστός. He might have added ἅλτο in line 125.

‘And, (sc. τὰ δοῦρα θρασειάων ἀπὸ χειρῶν) “longing to taste blood” (more lit. ‘to take their fill of flesh’)’. Il. Λ [XI] 574, Paley ad loc.

‘And “the spear-point panting, quivering in its eagerness, rushed through his breast”’.

On these extracts, Whately, Rhet. u. s., note, well observes, “that there is a peculiar aptitude in some of these expressions: an arrow or dart from it flying with a spinning motion quivers violently when it is fixed; thus suggesting the idea of one quivering with eagerness”. This is particularly applicable to the two last extracts. In the third, ἵσταντο may help to convey this. The darts which fell short of their aim, struck, were fixed, in the ground, and there stood quivering. “And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart”. Byron (of Kirke White), in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. Gaisford, in Variorum not. p. 426, adds Od. έ 175, νῆες, ἀγαλλόμεναι (exulting) Διὸς οὔρῳ. Eustath. ad loc. καὶ ὁρᾷ τὸ ἀγαλλόμεναι, ὡς ἐπὶ ἐμψύχων τῶν νεῶν λεχθέν. Soph. Aj. 581, πρὸς τομῶντι πήματι, and this Schol., τομῆς ἐπιθυμεῖν, ὥσπερ εἰ αἴσθησιν εἶχεν. Plut. on Pyth. 398 A. See also in Heitz, Verl. Schrift. Arist. pp. 278, 9, some passages from the Schol. to Homer, and that of Plutarch, on this peculiarity of Homer.

‘For in all these by reason of the living character (with which they are invested) they appear to be in action: for “shameless conduct”, and “quivering with eagerness” and the rest, all express forms of activity (implying life). But these he has applied to them through the medium of the proportional metaphor, for as the stone is to Sisyphus, so is the shameless actor to him who is shamelessly treated’.

I am sorry to be obliged to differ from our author in the view he here takes of the meaning of ἀναιδής. The notion of “reckless impudence”, conveyed by his equivalent ἀναίσχυντος, seems to me altogether alien from the Homeric conception of it. I can't think that “reckless impudence”, ἀναισχυντία, is what Homer meant to attribute to the stone when he called it ἀναιδής, but ‘unmerciful treatment’. At all events it is better than Pope's “huge round stone.”

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