Rain'd almost all day. Finish'd the first Book of Homer's Iliad, which is far more
entertaining than the Cyropaedia; there is a vast deal of simplicity in the Poetry,
but at the same time great dignity, and so much Nature, that it is not without Reason,
that an English Poet has said of him,
To Study Nature is to study him.1
I began in the evening a Letter to my Sister.2
was undoubtedly thinking of the following lines from Pope:
“Nature and Homer were, he [Virgil] found, the same.
Convinc'd amaz'd, he checks the bold design:
And rules as strict his labour'd work confine,
As if the Stagirite o'erlook'd each line.
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
To copy nature is to copy them.”
(“An Essay on Criticism,” lines 135–140).