And it is not probable that there were any musical entertainments at Menelaus's banquet, as is manifest from the fact of the whole time of the banquet being occupied by the guests in conversation with one another; and that there is no name mentioned as that of the minstrel; nor is any lay mentioned which he sang; nor is it said that Telemachus and his party listened to him; but they rather contemplated the house in silence, as it were, and perfect quiet. And how can it be looked upon as anything but incredible, that the sons of those wisest of men, Ulysses and Nestor, should be introduced as such ignorant people as, like clowns, not to pay the least attention to carefully prepared music? At all events Ulysses himself attends to the Phæacian minstrels:—
Ulysses gazed, astonish'd to surveyalthough he had plenty of things to distract his attention, and although he could say—
The glancing splendours as their sandals play:—1
Now care surrounds me, and my force decays,[p. 298] How then can we think Telemachus any better than a mere clown, when a minstrel and a dancer are present, if he had bent silently towards Pisistratus and gazed on nothing but the plate and furniture? But Homer, like a good painter, makes Telemachus in every respect like his father; and so he has made each of them easily recognised, the one by Alcinous, and the other by Menelaus, by means of their tears.
Inured a melancholy part to bear,
In scenes of death by tempest and by war.2