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SOUTHERN QUARTERLY REVIEW.
ART. I.-Homer's Iliad. Translated by William MUN
FORD. In 2 volumes. Boston: Charles C. Little & James Brown. 1846. Svo.
For more than twenty five centuries the poems of Homer have continued to afford delight and instruction to the whole civilized world. To them the enlightened of all ages and countries-poets, statesmen, and philosophers—have turned with admiring regard. And during that long period scarcely a single voice-none but that of a Zoilus or a Perraulthas been raised in disparagement of him, who has been recognized by universal consent as the Father of Poetry and the Prince of Poets.* Many have endeavored to display their ability and to earn renown by the attempt to render them familiar to their countrymen by clothing them with that country's language. Even distinguished poets-such as Ennius and Pope—have thought to do themselves honor by thus employing their talents. All have acquired reputation by the attempt, though very various success has attended their labors. There have already been more than half a dozen translators into the English language alone ; still the
* Plato calls Homer και αρίστος και θειότατος των ποιητών. Ιon. Hic omnes sine dubio et in omni genere eloquentiæ procul a se reliquit; epicos tamen præcipue,' says Quintilian. Inst. Or. x. 1.51, who elsewhere remarks 'propterea quod eminere inter ceteros videtur, ut Homerus poeta, urbs Roma. The same habit of calling Homer 'the poet,' is commemorated by Justinian and illustrated by the practice of Longinus. 1
VOL. X.-NO. 19.
rich field is by no means exhausted, and an abundant harvest remains to be gathered by the new reaper. It is with sincere pleasure that we introduce a new candidate for the public honors in the present posthumous publication of an eminent Virginia gentleman. In doing so, we rejoice, for the sake of Virginia and America, that the translation is of such excellence as to ensure reputation to its author, and at the same time to reflect credit on the literature of the country
William Munford," the author of the present version of the Iliad, was the son of Col. Robert Munford. His mother was a daughter of Robert Beverley of Blandford. He was born in the County of Mecklenburg, Virginia, on the 15th of August, 1775, and died at his residence in the City of Richmond, on the 21st of July, 1825, in the 50th year of his
age. His ancestors on either side were among the most respectable families of the State. Some of them had sig. nalized themselves during the War of the Revolution. Young Munford, when only eight years old, had the misfortune to lose his father, who is represented as having been a gentleman of considerable attainments, fond of letters, and noted for his warm and active patriotism. The management and education of the family devolved by this untimely event upon Mrs. Munford, who was a lady of amiable disposition and elegant manners, endowed with a vigorous and cultivated intellect, and familiar with the polite world. The charge thus imposed upon her was accompanied with much difficulty and anxiety. The death of Col. Munford had left his estate, formerly sufficient for the ample support of his family, considerably embarrassed. Mrs. Munford had occasion for all her prudence in the discharge of her arduous duties; but the honorable success which attended her efforts is evidence of the ability with which she performed her task.
At an early age, William Munford was placed at the Petersburg Academy, then ably conducted by the Rev. Mr. Cameron. Here he was remarkable for his love of reading and his aptitude in learning. From Petersburg he was transferred, when only twelve years old, to the ancient halls of William and Mary College, where he afterwards took his
* This notice of Mr. Munford has been drawn from materials furnished by two distinguished gentlemen who were intimately acquainted with him. We have frequently employed their language.