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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 grammarians, perhaps, will not suffer this libertine way of rendering foreign authors to be called translation; for
I am not so much ena.noured of the name trans
lator, 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, Is first in Pisa's and in Virtue's race!
to the Hebrews of his time, though not to our
Hebrews of Buxtorfius's making, the most ex-
alted 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 po-
pular 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 lan-
guage 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 Judca. 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 anti-
quity. This essay is but to try how it will look
in an English habit: for which experiment 1
have chosen one of his Olympic, and another of
his Nemæan Odes; which are as followeth.
THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE OF
Written in praise of Theron, prince of Agrigen-
tum, (a famous city in Sicily, built by his an-
cestors) 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
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!
What god, what hero, wilt thou sing?
What happy man to equal glories bring?
Begin, begin thy noble choice,
let the hills around reflect the image of thy
Pisa does to Jove belong;
Jove and Pisa claim thy song.
fair first-fruits of war, th' Olympic games,
Alcides offer'd-up to Jove;
Alcides too thy strings may move: [prove!
But, oh! what man to join with these can worthy
Join Theron boldly to their sacred names;
Theron the next honour claims:
Theron to no man gives place,
Theron there, and he alone,
Ev'n his own swift forefathers has outgone,
They through rough ways, o'er many stops they
Till on the fatal bank at last
They Agrigentum built, the beauteous eye
Of fair-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,
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 thine
Hearken no more to thy command)
Let present joys fill up their place,
And with Oblivion's silent stroke deface
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,
E'er since the fatal son his father slew,
And did old oracles fulfil
Of gods that cannot lie, for they foretell but their own will.
Erynnis saw 't, and made in her own seed
The innocent parricide to bleed;
She slew his wrathful sons with mutual blows:
But better things did then succeed,
And brave Thersander, in amends for what was past, arose.
Brave Thersander was by none,
In war, or warlike sports, out-done.
Thou, Theron, his great virtues dost revive;
He in my verse and thee again does live.
Loud Olympus, happy thee,
Isthmus and Nemæa, does twice happy see;
For the well-natur'd honour there,
Which with thy brother thou didst share,
Was to thee double grown
By not being all thine own;
And those kind pious glories do deface
The old fraternal quarrel of thy race.
Greatness of mind, and fortune too,
Th' Olympic trophies shew:
Both their several parts must do
In the noble chase of fame;
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,
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 head.
Here all the heroes, and their poets, live;
Wise Rhadamanthus did the sentence give,
Who for his justice was thought fit
With sovereign Saturn on the bench to sit.
Peleus here, and Cadmus, reign;
Here great Achilles, wrathful now no more,
Since his blest mother (who before
Had try'd it on his body in vain)
Dipt now his soul in Stygian lake,
Which did from thence a divine hardness take,
That does from passion and from vice invulnera-
To Theron, Muse! bring back thy wandering
Whom those bright troops expect impatiently; And may they do so long!
How, noble archer! do thy wanton arrows fly
At all the game that does but cross thine eye:
Shoot, and spare not, for I see
Per emptied be:
Thy sounding quiver can
Let Art use method and
Art lives on Nature's al:,
Nature herself has unexhat
Wallows in wealth, and runs a furung maze,
That no vulgar eye can trace.
Art, instead of mounting, high,
is weak and poor ;
About her humble food des hoverine fly;
Like the ignoble crow, r. pine and noise does
Whilst Nature, like to sacred Now bears loud thunder; ani joy
The beauteous Plian Defeats the strong, And sometimes ba
ertal the flying prey, in the1ames of day¡ Lowds amed the clouds. use! th, rong flight; ; the w-fletcht arrow put; The tuc out, be the ware.
And sometimes the
His soaring wing
To thy loud str
And, lest rame of vese should give
Malicious manera st to misbelieve,
(A sacred atopectsdale
To ta in vain,
No more than gus do that of Styx prophane)
Swear, in no city cerefore,
A better man, or greater-soul'd, was born;
Swear, that 'Iron sure has sworn
No man near in should be poor!
Swear, that none c id such a graceful art
Fortune's free gifts as treely to impart,
With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded
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;
It 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 vast bounties are so numberless,
That them or to conceal, or else to tell,
Is equally impossible!
THE FIRST NEMEAN ODE OF
Chromius, the son of Agesidamus, a young
gentleman of Sicily, is celebrated for having
won the prize of the chariot-race in the Ne-
mæan 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 extraor-
dinary conflux of all Greece, and with incredi-
ble honour to the conquerors in all the exerci-
ses 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
Syracuse, being joined to it by a bridge)
though the title of the Ode call him Etnæan
Chromius, perhaps because he was made go-
vernor of that town by Hieron.
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
bospitality, 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 bint that meets him
in his way, passing into a digression of Her-
cules, and his slaying the two serpents in his
cradle, concludes the Ode with that history.
BEAUTEOUS Ortygia! the first breathing-place
Of great Alpheus' close and amorous race!
Fair Delos' sister, the childbed
Of bright Latona, where she bred
Who, like a gentle scion newly started out,
From Syracusa's side dost sprout!
Thee first my song does greet,
With numbers smooth and fleet
As thine own horses' airy feet,
When they young Chromius' chariot drew,
And o'er the Nemaan race triumphant flew.
Jove will approve my song and me;
Jove is concern'd in Nemea, and in thee.
With Jove my song; this happy man,
Young Chromius, too, with Jove began;
From hence came his success,
Nor ought 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.
Appear'd not half so bright,
But cast a weaker light,
Through earth, and air, and seas, and up to th
Lo! how 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,
They mov'd the vital lump in every part,
And carv'd the members out with wondrous art.
She fill'd his mind with courage, and with wit,
And a vast bounty, apt and fit
For the great dower which Fortune made to it.
'Tis madness, sure, treasures to hoard,
And make them useless, as in nines, remain,
Th' original new Moon!
Who saw'st her tender forehead ere the horns To lose th' occasion Fortune does afford
Go to great Syracuse, my Muse, and wait
At Chromius' hospitable gate;
'Twill open wide to let thee in,
Joy, plenty, and free welcome, dwells within
When thy lyre's voice shall but begin;
The Tyrian beds thou shalt find ready drest,
The ivory table crowded with a feast:
The table which is free for every guest,
No doubt will thee adinit,
And feast more upon thee, than thou on it.
Chromius and thou art met aright,
For, as by Nature thou dost write,
So he by Nature loves, and does by Nature fight.
Nature herself, whilst in the womb he was,
Sow'd strength and beauty through the forming
Fame and public love to gain:
Ev'n for self-concerning ends,
"Tis wiser much to hoard-up friends.
Though happy men the present goods possess, Th' unhappy have their share in future hopes no less.
Pindar's unnavigable song
Like a swolu flool from some steep mountain pours along;
The ocean meets with such a voice, From his enlarged mouth, as drowns the ocean's noise.
Forth from their flaming eyes dread lightnings
heir gaping mouths did forked tongues, like thunderbolts, present.
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 eternal youth, he should for ever live;
Drink nectar with the gods, and all his senses
So Pindar does new words and figures roll
Down his impetuous dithyrambic tide,
Which in no channel deigns t'abide,
Which neither banks nor dykes control:
Whether th' immortal gods he sings,
In a no less immortal strain,
Or the great acts of god-descended kings,
Who in his numbers still survive and reign;
Each rich-embroider'd line,
Which their triumphant brows around,
By his sacred hand is bound,
Does all their starry diadems outshine.
Whether at Pisa's race he please
Whether the swift, the skilful, or the strong,
To carve in polish'd verse the conqueror's images;
Be crowned in his nimble, artful, vigorous song;
Whether some brave young man's untimely fate,
In words worth dying for, he celebrate-
Such mournful, and such pleasing words, As joy to his mother's and his mistress' grief affords
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 waiks 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,
For little drops of honey flee,
And there with humble sweets contents her in
In their harmonious, golden palaces;
Walk with ineffable delight
Through the thick groves of never-withering light, Nor showers to earth, more necessary be,
Nor winds to voyagers at sea,
And, as he walks, affright
The Lion and the Bear,
(Heaven's vital seed cast on the womb of Earth
To give the fruitful Year a birth)
Bull, Centaur, Scorpion, all the radiant monsters
Than Verse to Virtue; which can do
The midwife's office and the nurse's too;
It feeds it strongly, and it clothes it gay,
And, when it dies, with comely pride
Embalms it, and erects a pyramid
That never will decay
Till Heaven itself shall melt away,
And nought behind it stay.
THE PRAISE OF PINDAR.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE'S SECOND ODE, B. IV.
Pindarum quisquis studet æmulari, &c.
PINDAR is imitable by none;
Begin the song, and strike the living lyre;
The phenix Pindar is a vast species alone.
Who e'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?
All hand in hand do decently advance,
And to my song with smooth and equal measures dance!
Whilst the dance lasts, how long soe'er it be,
My music's voice shall bear it company;
Till all gentle notes be drown'd
In the last trumpet's dreadful sound:
That to the spheres themselves shall silence
Untune the universal string:
Then all the wide-extended sky,
And all th' harmonious worlds on high,
And Virgil's sacred work shall die ;
And he himself shall see in one fire shine
Rich Nature's ancient Troy, though built by Where never foot of man, or hoof of beast,
Stop, stop, my Muse! allay thy vigorous heat,
Kindled at a bint so great;
Hold thy Pindaric Pegasus closely in,
Which does to rage begin,
And this steep hill would gallop up with violent course;
'Tis an unruly and a hard-mouth'd horse,
Fierce and unbroken yet,
Impatient of the spur or bit;
Now prances stately, and anon flies o'er the place;
Disdains the servile law of any settled pace,
Conscious and proud of his own natural force:
"Twill no unskilful touch endure,
But flings writer and reader too, that sits not
Figures, Conceits, Raptures, and Sentences, lu a well-worded dress;
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.
Go, the rich chariot instantly prepare ;
The queen, my Muse, will take the air:
Unruly Fancy with strong Judgment trace;
Put in mimble-footed Wit,
Smooth-pac'd Eloquence join with it;
Sound Memory with young Invention place;
Harness all the winged race:
Let the postillion Nature mount, and let
The coachman Art be set;
And let the airy footmen, running all beside,
Make a long row of goodly pride,
The passage press'd; Where never fish did fly,
And with short silver wings cut the low liquid sky;
Where bird with painted oars did ne'er
Row through the trackless ocean of the air;
Where never yet did pry
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
Thou hast thousand worlds too of thine own. Thou speak'st, great queen! in the same style as he; And a new world leaps forth when thou say'st, "Let it be."
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
This running river settle like a lake;
Thy certain hand holds fast this slippery snake:
The fruit which does so quickly waste,
Men scarce can see it, much less taste,
Thou comfitest in sweets to make it last.
This shining piece of ice,
Which melts so soon away
With the Sun's ray,
Thy verse does solidate and crystallize,
Till it a lasting mirror be!
Nay, thy immortal rhyme
Makes this one short point of time
To fill up half the orb of round eternity.