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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-02


Our Tutor, gave us this morning, a most extraordinary, construction of a passage in Homer. Abbot 1st. was beginning to construe, the 181st. line of the 6th Book.

πρόσθε λέων, ο̈πισθεν δὲ δράκων, μέσση δέ χίμαιρα 1

He said, a Lion, before, but the Dr. corrected him, by saying it meant superior to a Lion; Abbot immediately took the hint, and made it, superior to a Lion, inferior to a Dragon, and equal to a wild boar. I confess I should never have had an Idea, of giving such a Translation of this passage, though it always appeared to me a plain, easy one. I was pretty confident too, that comparative adjectives, governed a genitive; but now it is plain that it is no matter what case, a word is in and with this manner, it is much easier to read the ancient authors; because, you may render, any Latin or Greek word, by any English one you chuse.
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1. “In front a lion, and behind a serpent, and in the midst [middle] a [she-]goat,” a description of a Chimaera, a triple-bodied monster (The Iliad of Homer, Done into English Prose, transl. Andrew Lang and others, London, 1925, p. 116).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.