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F a man fhould undertake to tranflate Pindar word
for word, it would be thought that one mad-man had tranflated another; as may appear, when he that understands not the original, reads the verbal traduction of him into Latin profe, than which nothing feems more raving. And fure, rhyme, without the addition of wit, and the spirit of poetry (quod nequeo monftrare
fentio tantum) would but make it ten times more diftracted than it is in profe. We must confider in Pindar the great difference of time betwixt his age and ours, which changes, as in pictures, at leaft the colours
of poetry; the no lefs difference betwixt the religions and customs of our countries; and a thousand particularities of places, perfons, and manners, which do but confufedly appear to our eyes at fo great a distance. And laftly (which were enough alone for my purpose) we must confider that our ears are strangers to the mufick of his numbers, which fometimes (especially in fongs and odes) almost without any thing else, makes an excellent poet; for though the grammarians and criticks have laboured to reduce his verfes into regular feet and measures (as they have alfo thofe of the Greek and Latin comedies) yet in effect they are little better than profe to our ears. And I would gladly know what applause our best pieces of English poesy could expect from a Frenchman or Italian, if converted faithfully, and word for word, into French or Italian profe. And when we have confidered all this, we must needs confefs, that after all these losses fuftained by Pindar, all we can add to him by our wit or invention (not deferting ftill his fubject) is not like to make him a richer man than he was in his own country. This is in fome measure to be applied to all tranflations; and the not observing of it, is the caufe that all which ever I yet faw, are fo much inferior to their originals. The like happens too in pictures, from the fame root of exact imitation; which, being a vile and unworthy kind of fervitude, is incapable of producing any thing good or noble. I have feen originals, both in painting and poefy, much more beautiful than their natural ob
jects; but I never faw a copy better than the original: which indeed cannot be otherwife; for, men refolving in no cafe to shoot beyond the mark, it is a thousand to one if they foot not fhort of it. It does not at all trouble me that the grammarians perhaps will not fuffer this libertine way of rendering foreign authors to be called Translation; for I am not so much enamoured of the name Tranflator, as not to wish rather to be fomething better, though it want yet a name. fpeak not fo much all this, in defence of my manner of tranflating, or imitating (or what other title they please) the two enfuing Odes of Pindar; for that would not deserve half these words; as by this occafion to rectify the opinion of divers men upon this matter. The Pfalms 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 poefy) are a great example of what I have said; all the translators of which (even Mr. Sands himself; for in defpite of popular error, I will be bold not to except him) for this very reason, that they have not fought to fupply the loft excellencies of another language with new ones in their own, are so far from doing honour, or at least juftice, to that divine poet, that methinks they revile him worfe than Shimei. And Buchanan himself (though much the best of them all, and indeed a great perfon) comes in my opinion no lefs fhort 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
fo 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 lift of Pancirolus, among the loft inventions of antiquity. This effay is but to try how it will look in an English habit : for which experiment, I have chofen one of his Olympic, and another of his Nemæan Odes; which are as followeth.