While browsing through some of our earlier posts, two passages jumped out at me:
“The string does not always return the sound that the hand and mind desire”.
This would normally make me think of one of the greatest Homeric similes, and that simile was posted on the next day!
Just as a man who knows both lyre and song
easily stretches a string on a new peg
as he attaches the twisted sheep-gut to both sides
just so, without haste, Odysseus strung the great bow
ὡς ὅτ’ ἀνὴρ φόρμιγγος ἐπιστάμενος καὶ ἀοιδῆς
ῥηϊδίως ἐτάνυσσε νέῳ περὶ κόλλοπι χορδήν,
ἅψας ἀμφοτέρωθεν ἐϋστρεφὲς ἔντερον οἰός,
ὣς ἄρ’ ἄτερ σπουδῆς τάνυσεν μέγα τόξον ᾿Οδυσσεύς.
A great passage that combines two strains of the Odyssey, the hero as killer and the hero as singer, that have already overlapped at so many turns right before the killer supersedes all else.
Obviously, the Horatian passage made me think of the Homeric one. But was that Horace’s inspiration? Perhaps more scholarly minds than mine (or hands close to commentaries!) will have an answer…