Front Page Titles (by Subject) ADVERTISEMENT. - The English Works, vol. X (Iliad and Odyssey)
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ADVERTISEMENT. - Homer, The English Works, vol. X (Iliad and Odyssey) 
The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; Now First Collected and Edited by Sir William Molesworth, Bart., (London: Bohn, 1839-45). 11 vols. Vol. 10.
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The translation of Homer was amongst the latest of Hobbes’ works; a signal of retreat from those mathematical contests in which he had spent so much of his time:—“Silentibus tandem adversariis, annum agens octogesimum septimum, Homeri Odysseam edidit.”—See Vita Thomæ Hobbes.
In 1673 appeared, “The travels of Ulysses, as they were related by himself in Homer’s 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th books of his Odysses, to Alcinous king of Phæacia,” published by Wm. Crook, in 12mo. The date of 1674, given by Anthony Wood and others, seems to be a mistake; they may perhaps have been misled by Hobbes’ telling us, that he translated the Odyssey in his 87th year.
Whether Hobbes had at this time finished any other part of Homer, and put forth those four books of the Odyssey as a specimen of the performance, or to ascertain what reception might be expected from the public for the remainder of it, is unknown. In about a year afterwards (see Vita) they were followed by the translation of the entire Iliad and Odyssey. Copies are to be found of various dates; as 1676, 1677, 1684, 1686, and perhaps others: but there were but three editions, the second dated 1677, and the third, 1686. The biographers appear to have been mistaken in repeating one after the other, (see Biog. Britan., Brit. Biog., Gen. Dict., Aikin’s Biog.), that in the course of ten years this translation went through three large editions.
Pope, in the preface to his translation, observes, that the poetry of Hobbes’ version is “too mean for criticism.” Some, however, may possibly find the unstudied and unpretending language of Hobbes convey an idea less remote from the original, than the smooth and glittering lines of Pope and his coadjutors.
Pope’s remark upon the habitual carelessness displayed in the execution of the work, is well founded. It was possibly never meant for criticism, and may be fairly looked upon, as the translator has told us in his preface, as the amusement of his old age.
The present edition is printed from that of 1677.