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One should indeed read Pope with his notes available, in the Twickenham edition possibly, to see what a vast amount he did understand about Homer.
Of course the other and more serious way in which it all happens is that one finds in poems and language some quality one appropriates for oneself and wishes to reproduce.
Now, the language that had grown up and formed itself on those principles is what one is dealing with, and the problem is to bring a work of art in that medium into another medium formed on different principles and heard and understood in a different way.
Is encouragement what the poet needs? Open question. Maybe he needs discouragement. In fact, quite a few of them need more discouragement, the most discouragement possible.
In fact, eloquence in English will inevitably make use of the Latin element in our vocabulary.
In a way you can feel that the poet actually is looking over your shoulder, and you say to yourself, now, how would this go for him? Would this do or not?
I would then go on to say that Homer, as we now know, was working in what they call an oral tradition.
I think there are perhaps two ways in which one can begin.
I think that everyone who took part has always been grateful for it.
I think it was lucky that during most of the work on the Odyssey I lived on Homer's sea in houses that were, in one case, shaken by the impact of the Mediterranean winter storms on the rocks below.
Homer's whole language, the language in which he lived, the language that he breathed, because he never saw it, or certainly those who formed his tradition never saw it, in characters on the pages. It was all on the tongue and in the ear.
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