But Homer, who is most accurate in everything, did not overlook even this trifling point; that a man ought to show some care of his person, and to bathe himself before going to an entertainment. And so, in the case of Ulysses, before the banquet among the Phæacians, he tells us— [p. 293]
A train attendsAnd again he says of Telemachus and his companion—
Around the baths, the bath the king ascends,
(Untasted joy since that disastrous hour
He sail'd defeated from Calypso's bower,)
He bathes, the damsels with officious toil
Shed sweets, shed unguents in a shower of oil.
Then o'er his limbs a gorgeous robe he spreads,
And to the feast magnificently treads.1
From room to room their eager view they bend,For it was unseemly, says Aristotle, for a man to come to a banquet all over sweat and dust. For a well-bred man ought not to be dirty nor squalid, nor to be all over mud, as Heraclitus says. And a man when he first enters another person's house for a feast, ought not to hasten at once to the banqueting-room, as if he had no care but to fill his stomach, but he ought first to indulge his fancy in looking about him, and to examine the house. And the poet has not omitted to take notice of this also.
Thence to the bath, a beauteous pile, descend.2
Part in a portico, profusely gracedAnd Aristophanes, in his Wasps, represents the rustic and litigious old man as invited to a more civilized form of life by his son—
With rich magnificence, the chariot placed;
Then to the dome the friendly pair invite,
Who eye the dazzling roof with vast delight,
Resplendent as the blaze of summer noon,
Or the pale radiance of the midnight moon.3
Cease; sit down here and learn at length to beAnd then showing him how he ought to sit down he says—
A boon companion, and a cheerful guest.4
Then praise some of these beauteous works in brass,
Look at the roof, admire the carvèd hall.