The things that each most admired in the other were selfreliance, directness, moral courage.
The plainness and directness, both of thought and of expression, which characterize Homer were doubtless qualities of his age; but the author of the Iliad (like Voltaire, to whom Arnold happily compares him) must have possessed the national gift in a surpassing degree.
He tells his fable and draws the moral with businesslike directness and simplicity; his language is terse and clear, but thoroughly prosaic, though it occasionally attains a dignity bordering on eloquence.
His satire is incisive, but in a scholarly and humanistic way; it does not appeal to popular passions with the fierce directness which enabled the master of Catholic satire, Thomas Murner, to inflict such telling blows.
The style has the simple, yet fresh and graphic, directness of all good letter-writing, and there is no lack of passages of keen observation, and even shrewd interpretation.