The Glory That Was Greece

should have sprung out of nothing in times of violent unrest, of invasions, migrations, and ceaseless strife. A priori any one would say that lyric poetry must precede epic, as it has done in England. Greek tradition places Orpheus, the father of lyric song, before Homer. There would be nothing surprising in placing the early elegiac poetry on the same chronological level as the earliest hexameters. That the ordinary forms of lyric verse already existed in Homeric times we can see, if we read the poems attentively. The boy sings his vintage song of the death of Linus. At the burial of Hector there are bards to sing dirges. There is reference to the Hymenæus, or wedding-song. There were banquet songs too: in the First Iliad they sing all day long over their cups. Bards like Demodocus sing of the loves of the gods. Thus there is ample evidence that all the common forms of Greek lyric poetry preceded the epic, and that Homer did not spring into existence

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