The Classical Quarterly (New series)

Research Article

Homeric Epithets in Greek Lyric Poetry

A. E. Harvey

One of the ways in which a poet may show his quality is by discrimination and originality in his choice of adjectives. Poetry likes to adorn the bare noun; a noun such as ‘the sky’ calls out for an attribute. But in practice the poet has to take care to avoid the cliche. He can seldom write ‘the blue sky’; even ‘the azure sky’ has become trite. He has to search for the epithet which will be both apt and original.