Song and the merry dance, the joy of feasts.Not that I would have any one believe from these words, that Homer thought music useful only for pleasure and delight, there being a profounder meaning concealed in the verse. For he brought in music to be present at the banquets and revels of the ancients, as believing it then to be of greatest use and advantage to repel and mitigate the inflaming power of the wine. To which our Aristoxenus agrees, who alleges that music was introduced at banquets for this reason, that as wine intemperately drunk weakens both the body and mind, so music by its harmonious order and symmetry assuages and reduces them to their former constitution. And therefore it was that Homer reports that the ancients made use of music at their solemn festivals.
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1 Odyss. I. 152.
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