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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 at all trouble me, that the grainmarians, perhaps, will not suffer this libertine way of rendering foreign authors to be called translation; for
own Muse; for that is a liberty which this kind of poetry can hardly live without.
QUEEN of all harmonious things,
Dancing words, and speaking strings!
But, oh! what man to join with these can worthy
Theron the next honour claims:
Ev'n his own swift forefathers has outgone,
Till on the fatal bank at last
With pride and joy espy.
I am not so much enamoured of the name translator, as not to wish rather to be something bet-The ter, 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 men 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 Nemean Odes; which are as followeth.
THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE OF
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 reader must not be choqued to hear him speak so often of his
Then chearful notes their painted years did sing,
Their genuine virtues did more sweet and clear,
To which, great son of Rhea! say
For the past sufferings of this noble race
Hearken no more to thy command)
In no illustrious line
Of the blue-ey'd Nereides,
But death did them from future dangers free;
For living man's security,
Erynnis saw 't, and made in her own seed
She slew his wrathful sons with mutual blows:
Brave Thersander was by none,
In war, or warlike sports, out-done.
Loud Olympus, happy thee,
Isthmus and Nemæa, does twice happy see;
There silver rivers through enamell'd meadows glide,
And golden trees enrich their side; Th'illustrious leaves no dropping autumn fear, And jewels for their fruit they bear, Which by the blest are gathered
For bracelets to the arm, and garlands to the
Soft-footed winds with tuneful voices there Dance through the perfum'd air:
Here all the heroes, and their poets, live;
To Theron, Muse! bring back thy wandering song,
Whom those bright troops expect impatiently;
How, noble archer! do thy wanton arrows fly
Leave, wanton Muse! thy roving flight;
And Theron be the white.
And, lest the name of verse should give Malicious men pretext to misbelieve,
By the Castalian waters swear,
No more than gods do that of Styx prophane)
A better man, or greater-soul'd, was born;
But in this thankless world the givers
Tis now the cheap and frugal fashion,
Wrongs and outrages to do,
Lest men should think we owe.
Appear'd not half so bright,
Such monsters, Theron! has thy virtue found: Through earth, and air, and seas, and up to th
But all the malice they profess,
Thy secure honour cannot wound;
For thy vast bounties are so numberless,
THE FIRST NEMEAN ODE OF
Chromius, the son of Agesidamus, a young
Of bright Latona, where she bred
Th' original new Moon!
"To thee, O Proserpine! this isle I give,"
Said Jove, and, as he said,
Smil'd, and bent his gracious head.
"And thou, O isle!" said he, "for ever thrive, And keep the value of our gift alive!
As Heaven with stars, so let
The country thick with towns be set,
Let all the towns be then
Nor let their warlike laurel scorn
to great Syracuse, my Muse, and wait
Joy, plenty, and free welcome, dwells within.
And feast more upon thee, than thou on it.
So he by Nature loves, and does by Nature fight,
Nature herself, whilst in the womb he was,
They mov'd the vital lump in every part,
For the great dower which Fortune made to it,
Who saw'st her tender forehead ere the horns To lose th' occasion Fortune does afford
Who, like a gentle scion newly started out,
From Syracusa's side dost sprout!
Young Chromius, too, with Jove began ;
Tis them alone the Muse too does approve,
The torches which the mother brought
Fame and public love to gain:
Ev'n for self-concerning ends,
How early has young Chromius begun
And borne the noble prize away,
Whilst other youths yet at the barriers stay!
'Twas ripe at first, and did disdain
The big-limb'd babe in his huge cradle lay,
When, lo! by jealous Juno's fierce commands,
Rolling and hissing loud, into the room;
To save or perish with her child;
She trembled, and she cry'd; the mighty infant smil'd:
The mighty infant seem'd well pleas'd
At his gay gilded foes;
And, as their spotted necks up to the cradle rose,
With their drawn swords
In ran Amphitryo and the Theban lords;
Laugh, and point downwards to his prey, Where, in death's pangs and their own gore, they folding lay.
When wise Tiresias this beginning knew,
In their harmonious, golden palaces;
Walk with ineffable delight
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
Which in no channel deigns t'abide,
Which their triumphant brows around,
Whether the swift, the skilful, or the strong,
Such mournful, and such pleasing words, As joy to his mother's and his mistress' grief af. fords
He bids him live and grow in fame; Among the stars he sticks his name; The grave can but the dross of him devour, So small is Death's, so great the poet's power! Lo, how th' obsequious wind and swelling air The Theban swan does upwards bear Into the walks of clouds, where he does play, And with extended wings opens his liquid way! Whilst, alas! my timorous Muse Unambitious tracts pursues; Does with weak, unballast wings, About the mossy brooks and springs, About the trees' new-blossom'd heads, About the gardens' painted beds, About the fields and flowery meads, And all inferior beauteous things,
Like the laborious bee,
And there with bumble sweets contents her in. For little drops of honey flee, dustry.
Nor winds to voyagers at sea,
Through the thick groves of never-withering light, Nor showers to earth, more necessary be,
And, as he walks, affright
The Lion and the Bear,
Bull, Centaur, Scorpion, all the radiant monsters
THE PRAISE OF PINDAR.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE'S SECOND ODE, B. IV.
Pindarum quisquis studet æmulari, &c. PINDAR is imitable by none;
The phenix Pindar is a vast species alone.
(Heaven's vital seed cast on the womb of Earth
That never will decay
Till Heaven itself shall melt away, And nought behind it stay.
Begin the song, and strike the living lyre;
Who c'er but Daedalus with waxen wings could fly, Lo! how the Years to come, a numerous and
And neither sink too low nor soar too high?
What could he who follow'd claim,
But of vain boldness the unhappy fame, And by his fall a sea to name?
Then all the wide-extended sky,
And he himself shall see in one fire shine
Figures, Conceits, Raptures, and Sentences,
And innocent Loves, and pleasant Truths, and useful Lies,
In all their gaudy liveries.
Mount, glorious queen! thy travelling throne, And bid it to put on;
For long, though cheerful, is the way, And life, alas! allows but one ill winter's day.
Rich Nature's ancient Troy, though built by Where never foot of man, or hoof of beast,
Meet, salute, and join their hands;
The mountains shake, and run about no less confus'd than they.
Stop, stop, my Muse! allay thy vigorous heat, Kindled at a hint so great;
Hold thy Pindaric Pegasus closely in,
Which does to rage begin,
And this steep hill would gallop up with violent
'Tis an unruly and a hard-mouth'd horse, Fierce and unbroken yet,
Impatient of the spur or bit;
Now prances stately, and anou flies o'er the place;
But flings writer and reader too, that sits not
Go, the rich chariot instantly prepare ;
Let the postillion Nature mount, and let
And let the airy footmen, running all beside,
The passage press'd;
Where never fish did fly,
And with short silver wings cut the low liquid sky;
Row through the trackless ocean of the air;
The busy Morning's curious eye;
The wheels of thy bold coach pass quick and free, And all's an open road to thee;
Whatever God did say,
Is all thy plain and smooth uninterrupted way! Nay, ev'n beyond his works thy voyages are
With an unwearied wing the other way on high,
Through the firm shell and the thick white, dost spy
Years to come a-forming lie,
Close in their sacred fecundine asleep,
Till hatch'd by the Sun's vital heat,
And, ripe at last, with vigorous might
Break through the shell, and take their everlast ing flight!
And sure we may
The same too of the present say,
If past and future times do thee obey.
Thou stop'st this current, and dost make
Thy certain hand holds fast this slippery snake:
Thy verse does solidate and crystallize,
Nay, thy immortal rhyme