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F a man fhould undertake to translate 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 distracted 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 least 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 (efpecially in fongs and odes) almost without any thing elfe, 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 poefy 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 loffes 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 cause 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