But in Homer, in the banquet of Menelaus, they propose to one another questions as in ordinary conversation, and chatting with one another like fellow-citizens, they entertain one another and us too. Accordingly, Menelaus, when Telemachus and his friends come from the bath-room, and when the tables and the dishes are laid, invites them to partake of them, saying—
Accept this welcome to the Spartan court;and then he helps them to what he has before him, treating them in the most friendly manner—
The waste of nature let the feast repair,
Then your high lineage and your names declare:1—
Ceasing, benevolent he straight assignsAnd they, eating in silence, as it becomes young men to do, converse with one another, leaning forwards gently, not about [p. 301] the food, as Homer tells us, nor about the maid-servants of him who had invited them, and by whom they had been washed, but about the riches of their entertainer—
The royal portion of the choicest chines
To each accepted friend; with grateful haste
They share the honours of the rich repast.
Soft whispering thus to Nestor's son,For that, according to Seleucus, is the best reading; and Aristarchus is wrong when he writes—
His head reclined, young Ithacus begun:
View'st thou unmoved, O ever honour'd most,
These prodigies of art and wondrous cost?
Such, and not nobler, in the realms above
Are the rich treasures in the dome of Jove.2
Such is the palace of Olympian Jove.For they are not admiring the beauty of building alone; for how could there be amber, and silver, and ivory in the walls? But they spoke partly about the house, as where they used the expression “the sounding house,” for that is the character of large and lofty rooms; and they spoke also of the furniture—
Above, beneath, around the palace shinesSo that it is a natural addition to say—
The sumless treasure of exhausted mines;
The spoils of elephants the roofs inlay,
And studded amber darts a golden ray.
Such are the treasures in the dome of Jove,But the statement,
Wondrous they are, and awe my heart doth move
Such is the palace of Olympian Jove,has no connexion with—
Wondrous they are . . . .and it would be a pure solecism and a very unusual reading.