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angray 3.9-42 45079
A VINDICATION OF HOMER, &c.
is a misfortune attending on all old and established truths, Introduction. that whilst they are received in the world as matters of general notoriety, or undoubted authority, we are contented to take them upon trust, and, not irrationally, give credit to the opinions of thofe, who had better opportunities than ourselves to judge of their truth or falfehood. Yet this very circumstance, by which truth extends the frontiers of her empire, greatly weakens her internal powers of defence, and lulled into fecurity by the number of her adherents she is too often unprepared to ward off the attacks against her person at home. In the prefent instance, Mr. BRYANT has afforded us a striking proof of this affertion. The ftory of the TROJAN WAR rendered immortal by the greatest Poet of Antiquity, was received in early Greece as an historical fact, from thence it has travelled down to us; but it had already been the means of conferring fo much celebrity upon the pen of HOMER, that whilst the historians of all ages recorded the event, the Poets embellished and obfcured a plain tale with every charm of fiction. Relying on this general, if not universal affent, we add our own tacit acquiefcence to an opinion prevalent through a long fucceffion of ages. Sceptics, it is true, have appeared upon this fubject before Mr. Bryant,
"Sed omnes illacrymabiles
Urguentur ignotique longâ "Nocte