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worthy kind of servitude, is incapable of producing any thing good or noble. I have seen originals, both in painting and poesy, much more beautiful than their natural objects; but I never saw a copy better than the original: which indeed cannot be otherwise; for men resolving in no case to shoot beyond the mark, it is a thousand to one if they shoot not short of it. It does not sat all trouble me, that the grammarians, perhaps, will not suffer this libertime way of rendering foreign authors to be called translation; for I am not somuch enamoured of the name translator, as not to wish rather to be something better, though it want yet a name. I speak not so much all this, in defence of my manner of translating, or imitating, (or what other title they please) the two ensuing Odes of Pindar; for that would not deserve half these words; as by this occasion to rectify the opinion of divers Inen upon this matter. The Psalms of David (which I believe to have been in their original, to the Hebrews of his time, though not to our Hebrews of Buxtorfius's making, the most exalted pieces of poesy) are a great example of what I have said; all the translators of which, (even Mr. Sandys himself; for in despite of popular errour, I will be bold not to except him) for this very reason, that they have not sought to supply the lost excellencies of another language with new ones in their own, are so far from doing honour, or at least justice, to that divine poet, that methinks they revile him worse than Shimei. And Buchanan himself (though much the best of them all, and indeed a great person) comes in my opinion no less short of David, than his country does of Judea. Upon this ground I have, in these two Odes of Pindar, taken, left out, and added, what I please; nor make it so much my aim to let the reader know precisely what he spoke, as what was his way and manner of speaking; which has not been yet (that I know of) introduced into English, though it be the noblest and highest kind of writing in verse; and which might, perhaps, be put into the list of Pancirolus, among the lost inventions of antiquity. This essay is but to try how it will look in an English habit: for which experiment I have chosen one of his Olympic, and another of his Nemaean Odes; which are as followeth.
THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE OF PIVD.A.R.
Written in praise of Theron, prince of Agrigentum, (a famous city in Sicily, built by his ancestors) who, in the seventy-seventh Olympic, won the chariot-prize. He is commended from the nobility of his race, (whose story is often toucht on) from his great riches, (an ordinary common-place in Pindar) from his hospitality, munificence, and other virtues. The Ode (according to the constant custom of the poet) consists more in digressions, than in the main subject: and the leader must not be choqued to hear him speak so often of his
Queen of all harmonious things,
They through rough ways, o'er many stops they
past, Till on the fatal bank at last They Agrigentum built, the beauteous eye Offair-fac’d Sicily; Which does itself i' th' river by With pride and joy espy. Then chearful notes their painted years did sing, And Wealth was one, and Honour th’ other, wing; Their genuine virtues did more sweet and clear, In Fortune's graceful dress, appear. To which, great son of Rhea' say The firm word, which forbids things to decay! If in Olympus' top, where thou Sitt'st to behold thy sacred show; If in Alpheus' silver flight; If in my verse, thou dost delight, My verse, O Rhea's son which is Lofty as that, and smooth as this,
For the past sufferings of this noble race (Since things once past, and fled out of thise hand, Hearken no more to thy command) Let present joys fill up their place, And with Oblivion's silent stroke deface Of foregone ills the very trace. In no illustrious line Do these happy changes shine More brightly, Theron! than in thine, So, in the crystal palaces Of the blue-ey'd Nereides, Ino her endless youth does please, And thanks her fall into the seas. Beauteous Semele does no less Her cruel midwife, Thunder, bless; . Whilst, sporting with the gods on high, She enjoys secure their company; Plays with lightnings as they fly, Nortrembles at the bright embraces of the Deity
But death did them from future dangers free;
Never did the Sun as yet So healthful a fair-day beget, That travelling mortals might rely on it. But Fortune's favour and her spite Roll with alternate waves, like day and night: Vicissitudes which thy great race pursue, Eser since the fatal son his father slew, And did old oracles fulfil Of gods that camot lie, for they foretell but their own will.
Erynnis saw 't, and made in her own seed
Greatness of mind, and fortune too, Th’ Olympic trophies shew: Both their several parts must do In the noble chase of fame; [lame. This without that is blind, that without this is Nor is fair Virtue's picture seen aright But in Fortune's golden light. Riches alone are of uncertain date, And on short man long cannot wait; The virtuous make of them the best, And put them out to Fame for interest; With afrail good they wisely buy The solid purchase of eternity: They, whilst life's air they breathe, consider well, and know Th'account they musthereafter give below; Whereas th' unjust and covetous above, In deep unlovely vaults, By the just decrees of Jove, Unrelenting torments prove, The heavy necessary effects of voluntary faults.
Whilst in the lands of unexhausted light,
Soft-footed winds with tuneful voices there Dance through the perfum’d air.
There silver rivers through enamell'd meadows
Joy The beauteous Phrygian boy Defeats the strong, o'ertakes the flying prey, And sometimes basks in th' open flames of day; And sometimes too he shrowds His soaring wings among the clouds. Leave, wanton Muse! thy roving flight; To thy loud string the well-fletcht arrow put; Let Agrigentum be the butt, And Theron be the white. And, lest the name of verse should give | Malicious men pretext to misbelieve, By the Castalian waters swear, (A sacred oath no poets dare To take in vain, No more than gods do that of Styx prophane) Swear, in no city e'erbefore, A better man, or greater-soul’d, was born; Swear, that Theron sure has sworn No man near him should be poor! Swear, that none e'er had such a graceful art Fortune's free gifts as freely to impart, With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded heart. But in this thankless world the givers Are envied ev'n by the receivers: Tis now the cheap and frugal fashion, Rather to hide, than pay, the obligation: Nay, 'tis much worse than so; lt now an artifice does grow,
Wrongs and outrages to do, Lest men should think we owe. Such monsters, Theron' has thy virtue found: But all the malice they profess, Thy secure honour cannot wound; for thy vastbounties are so numberless, That them or to conceal, or else to tell, Is equally impossible !
THE FIRST WEMAEAN ODE OF PINDAR.
Chromius, the son of Agesidamus, a young gentleman of Sicily, is celebrated for having won the prize of the chariot-race in the Nemaean games, (a solemnity instituted first to celebrate the funeral of Opheltes, as is at large described by Statius; and afterwards continued every third year, with an extraordinary conflux of all Greece, and with incredible honour to the conquerors in all the exercises there practised) upon which occasion the poet begins with the commendation of his country, which I take to have been Ortygia, (an island belonging to Sicily, and a part of §yracuse, being joined to it by a bridge) though the title of the Ode call him AEtnasan Chromius, perhaps because he was made governor of that town by Hieron. From thence he falls into the praise of Chromius's person, which he draws from his great endowments of mind and body, and most especially from his hospitality, and the worthy use of his riches. He likens his beginning to that of Hercules; and, according to his usual manner of being transported with any good hint that meets him in his way, passing into a digression of Hercules, and his slaying the two serpents in his cradle, concludes the Ode with that history.
Braurents Ortygia! the first breathing-place
With Jove my song; this happy man, Young Chromius, too, with Jove began; From hence came his success, Norought he therefore like it less, Since the best fame is that of happiness; For whom should we esteem above The men whom gods do love? *Tis them alone the Muse too does approve, Lo! now it makes this victory shine O'er all the fruitful isle of Proserpine! The torches which the mother brought When the ravish'd maid she sought,
Appear'd not half so bright, But cast a weaker light, Through earth, and air, and seas, and up to th’ heavenly vault.
“To thee, O Proserpine ! this isle I give,”
Go to great Syracuse, my Muse, and wait
Nature herself, whilst in the womb he was,
Forth from their flaming eyes dread lightnings went ; heir gaping mouths did forked tongues, like thunderbolts, present.
Some of th’ amazed women dropt down dead
With their drawn swords In ran Amphitryo and the Theban lords; With doubting wonder, and with troubled joy, They saw the conquering boy Laugh, and point downwards to his prey, Where, in death's pangs and their own gore, they folding lay. When wise Tiresiastbis beginning knew, He told with ease the things to ensue; Frum what monsters he should free The earth, the air, and sea; What mighty tyrants he should slay, Greater monsters far than they ; How much at Phlaogra's field the distrest gods should owe To their great offspring here below; And how his club should there outdo Apollo's silver bow, and his own father's thunder too: And that the grateful gods, at last, The race of his laborious virtue past, Heaven, which he sav'd, should to him give; Where, marry'd to etermal youth, he should for cver live; Drink nectar with the gods, and all his senses please In their harmonious, golden palaces; Walk with ineffable delight Through the thick groves of never-withering light, And, as he walks, affright The Lion and the Bear, Bull, “. Scorpion, all the radiant monsters there.
THE PRAISE OF PINDAR. In thirtation of Horace's second ODE, B. IV. Pindarum quisquis studetaemulari, &c.
Pispan is imitable by none;
Pindar's unnavigable song Like a swoln flood from some steep mountain pours along; The ocean meets with such a voice, From his enlarged mouth, as drowns the ocean's noise.
So Pindar does new words and figures roll
Not winds to voyagers at sea,
Whilst the dance lasts, how long soe'er it be,
My music's voice shall bear it company;
That to the spheres themselves shall silence
And he himself shall see in one fire shine
Rich Nature's ancient Troy, though built by
Whom thunder's dismal noise, And all that prophets and apostles louder spake, And all the creatures' plain conspiring voice, Could not, whilst they liv'd, awake, This mightier sound shall make When dead to arise; And open tombs, and open eyes, To the long sluggards of five thousand years! This mightier sound shall make its hearers ears. Then shall the scatter'd atoms crowding come Back to their ancient home; Some from birds, from fishes some; Some from earth, and some from seas; Some from beasts, and some from trees; Some descend from clouds on high, Some from metals upwards fly, And, where th' attending soul naked and shivering stands, Meet, salute, and join their hands; As dispers'd soldiers, at the trumpet's call, Haste to their colours all. Unhappy most, like tortur'd men, Their joints new set, to be new-rack'd again, To mountains they for shelter pray, The mountains shake, and run about no less confus’d than they.
Stop, stop, my Muse' allay thy vigorous heat,
Go, the rich chariot instantly prepare;
Where never foot of man, or hoof of beast,
Thou fathom'st the deep gulf of ages past,
To fill up half the orb of roundetermity.