« PreviousContinue »
worthy kind of servitude, is incapable of pro- own Muse; for that is a liberty which this ducing any thing good or noble. I have seen kind of poetry can hardly live without. originals, both in painting and poesy, much more beautiful than their natural objects; but I never kaw a copy better than the original : which in- Queen of all harmonious things, deed cannot be otherwise; for men resolving in no case to shoot beyond the mark, it is a thousand what god, what hero, wilt thou sing?
Dancing words, and speaking strings ! to one if they shoot not short of it. It does not at all trouble me, that the grammarians, per
What happy man to equal glories bring?
Begin, begin thy noble choice, [voice. haps, will not suffer this libertine way of rendering foreign authors to be called translation; for And let the hiils around reflect the image of thy
Pisa does to Jove belong; I am not so much eva noured of the name translator, as not to wish rather to be something bet. The fair first-fruits of war, th’ Olympic games,
Jove and Pisa claim thy song. ter, though it want yet a name. I speak not so much all this, in defence of my manner of
Alcides offer'd-up to Jove; translating, or imitating, for what other title But, oh! what man to join with these can worthy
Alcides too thy strings may move: (prove! they please) the two ensuing Odes of Pindar; for that would not deserve half these words; as
Join Theron boldly to their sacred names; by this occasion to rectify the opinion of divers
Theron the next honour claims: men upon this matter. The Psalms of David Is first in Pisa's and in Virtue's race !
Theron to no man gives place, (which I believe to have been in their original, to the llebrews of his time, though not to our
Theron there, and he alone, Hebrews of Buxtorfius's making, the inost ex
Ev'n his own swift forefathers has outgone, alted pieces of poesy) are a great example of They through rough ways, o'er many stops they what I have said; all the translators of which,
past, (even Mr. Sandys himself; for in despite of po
Till on the fatal bank at last pular errour, I will be bold not to except him) They Agrigentum built, the beauteous eye for this very reason, that they have not sought
Of fair-fac'd Sicily ; to supply the lost excellencies of another lan- Which does itself i' th' river by guage with new ones in their own, are so far from With pride and joy espy. doing honour, or at least justice, to that divine Then chearful nutes their painted years did sing, poet, that methinks they revile him worse than And Wealth was one, and Honour th' other, Shimei. And Enchanan himself (though much wing; the best of them all, and indeed a great person) Their genuine virtues did more sweet and clear, . comes in my opinion no less short of David, than In Fortune's graceful dress, appear. his country does of Judca. Upon this ground I To which, great son of Khea! say have, in these two Odes of Pindar, taken, left The firm word, woich forbids things to decay! out, and added, what I please; nor make it so if in Olympus' top, where thon much my aim to let the reader know precisely Sitt'st to behold thy sacred show; what he spoke, as what was his way and manner If in Alpheus' silver flight; of speaking; which has not been yet (that I If in my verse, thuu dost delight, know of) introduced into English, though it be My verse, O Rhea's son ! which is the noblest and highest kind of writing in verse; Lofty as that, and smooth as this. and which might, perhaps, be put into the list of Pancirolus, among the lost inventions of anti- For the past sufferings of this noble race quity. This essay is but to try how it will look (Since things once past, and fled out of thing in an English habit : for which experiment I
hand, have chosen one of his Olympic, and another of
Hearken no more to thy command) his Nemæan Odes; which are as followeth. Let present joys fill up their place,
And with Oblivion's silent stroke deface
In no illustrious line
Do these happy changes shine
So, in the crystal palaces
Of the blue-ey'd Nereides,
Ino her endless youth does please, Written in praise of Theron, prince of Agrigen- And thanks her fall into the seas.
turn, (a famous city in Sicily, built by his an- Beauteous Semele does no less cestors) who, in the seventy-seventh Olympic, ller cruel midwife, Thunder, bless; won the chariot-prize. He is commended Whilst, sporting with the gods on high, from the nobility of his race, (whose story is She enjoys secure their company; often toucht on) from his great riches, (an Plays with lightnings as they fly, ordinary common-place in Pindar) from his Nor trembles at the bright embraces of the Deity hospitality, munificence, and other virtues. The Ode (according to the constant custom But death did them from future dangers free; of the poet) consists more in digressions, than What god, alas ! will caution be in the main subject: and the reader must not For living man's security, he chuqued to hear him speak so often of his Or will ensure our vessel in this faithless sea!
Never did the Sun as yet
There silver rivers through enamellid meadows So healthful a fair-day beget,
glide, That travelling mortals might rely on it.
And golden trees enrich their side; But Fortune's favour and her spite
Th’illustrious leaves no dropping autumn fear, Roll with alternate waves, like day and night: And jewels for their fruit they bear, Vicissitudes which thy great race pursue,
Which by the blest are gathered E'er since the fatal son bis father slew,
For bracelets to the arın, and garlands to the And did old oracles fulfil
head. Of gods that camot lie, for they foretell but Here all the heroes, and their poets, live;. their own will.
Wise Rhadamnanthus did the sentence give,
Who for his justice was thought fit Erynnis saw't, and made in her own seed
With sovereign Saturn on the bench to sit. The innocent parricide to bleed;
Peleus bere, and Cadmus, reign; She slew his wrathful sons with mutual blows:
Here great Achilles, wrathsul now no more, But better things did then succeed,
Since his blest mother (who before And brave Thersander, in amends for what was
Had try'd it on his body in vain) past, arose. Brave Thersander was by none,
Dipt now his soul in Stygian lake,
Which did from thence a divine hardness take, In war, or warlike sports, out-dune.
That does from passion and from vice invulnera. Thou, Theron, his great virtues dost revive;
ble make. He in my verse and thee again does live. Loud Olympus, happy thee,
To Theron, Muse! bring back thy wandering Isthmus and Nemea, does twice happy see;
song, For the well-natur'd honour there,
Whom those bright troops expect impatiently; Which with thy brother thou didst share,
And may they do so long ! Was to thee double grown
How, noble archer! do thy wanton arrows fly By not being all thine own;
At all the game that does but cross thine eye: And those kind pious glories do deface
Shoot, and spare not, for I see The old fraternal quarrel of thy race.
Thy sounding quiver ca. er emptied be:
Let Art use method and · % tl_i!" sandrv, Greatness of mind, and fortune too,
Art lives on Nature's al . -, is work and poor i Th’Olympic trophies shew:
Nature herself has une xirar i stue, Both their several parts must do
Wallows in wealth, ani runs a turuwmaze, In the noble chase of fame; (lame.
That no vulgar eye can trice, This without that is blind, that without this is
Art, instead of mouuer, ligh, Nor is fair Virtue's picture seen aright
About her humble for ulike s hovenn: Ay; But in Fortune's golden light.
Like the ignoble cron, r.pine sided noise does Riches alone are of uncertain date,
love; Aud on short man long cannot wait;
Whilst Nature, like t! sacred If Jove, The virtuous make of them the best,
Now bears loud th,n' r; ani! 1, n with silent And put them out to Pame for interest;
joy With a frail good they wisely buy
The beauteous ! pian The solid purchase of elernity:
Defeats the strong, vertal sie Hying prey, They, whilst life's air they breathe, consider well, And sometimes ba! in t}.' , " : tames of day i and know
And sometirkist heilus Tl' account they must hereafter give below;
His soaring wi: am?!'he 'ouds. Whereas th’unjust and covetous above,
Leave, wanton "luise! t! , roring flight; In deep unlovely vaults,
To thy loud stri ;the -ile tcht arrow put; By the just decrees of Jove,
Let Agrigenti ibe ist uuti, Unrelenting torments prove,
And Tlierina be the bat,
And, lost ?!. t'ame of Ve...e should give
Ne'er winks in clouds, or sleeps in night, (A sacred it loitollain
Totul in all,
Swear. ili Dos Culy (eri (fore,
Swear, that 'l"1.38 sure has sworn
No man 1. árlin should be poor! And in the lamp of life consumes away.
Swear, that none , id such a graceful art Thrice had these men through mortal bodies past, Fortune's free gifts as freely to impart, Did thrice the trial undergo,
With an unenvious hand, and an unbounded Till all their little dross was purg'd at last,
heart. The furnace had no more to do.
But in this thankless world the givers Then in rich Saturn's peaceful state
Are envied ev'n by the receivers: Were they for sacred treasures plac'd,
Tis now the cheap and frugal fashion, The Muse-discover'd world of Islands Fortunate. Rather to hide, than pay, the obligation: Soft-footed winds with tuneful voices there
Nay, 'tis much worse than so ; Dance through the perfum'd air;
It now an artifice does grow,
Wrongs and outrages to do,
Appear'd not half so bright, Lest men should think we owe.
But cast a weaker light, Such monsters, Theron! has thy virtue found : Through earth, and air, and seas, and up to th' But all the malice they profess,
heavenly vault. Thy secure honour cannot wound;
“ To thee, O Proserpine! this isle I give," For thy vast bounties are so numberless,
Said Jove, and, as he said, That them or to conceal, or else to tell,
Smil'd, and bent his gracious head. Is equally impossible !
" And thou, O isle!” said he, “ for ever thrire,
As Heaven with stars, so let
And, numberless as stars,
Let all the towns be then Chrom us, the son of Agesidamus, a young Replenish'd thick with men,
gentleman of Sicily, is celebrated for having Wise in peace, and bold in wars! won the prize of the chariot-race in the Ne- Of thousand glorious towns the nation, mæan games, (a solemnity instituted first to Of thousand glorious men each town a con. celebrate the funeral of Opheltes, as is at
stellation ! large described by Statius; and afterwards Nor let their warlike laurel scorn continued every third year, with an extraor- With the Olympic olive to be worn, dinary conflux of all Greece, and with incredi- | Whose gentler honours do so well the brows of ble honour to the conquerors in all the exerci
Peace adorn!” ses there practised) upon which occasion the Go to great Syracuse, my Muse, and wait poet begins with the commendation of his
At Chromius' hospitable gate ; country, which I take to have been Ortygia,
"Twill open wide to let thee in, (an island belonging to Sicily, and a part of
When thy lyre's voice shall but begin; Syracuse, being joined to it by a bridge) Joy, plenty, and free welcome, dwells within though the title of the Ode call him Ætnæan The Tyrian beds thou shalt find rcady drest, Chromius, perhaps because he was made go- The ivory table crowded with a feast : veroor of that town by Hieron. From thence The table which is free for every guest, he falls into the praise of Chromius's person, No doubt will thee adinit, which he draws from his great endowments of And feast more upon thee, than thou on it. mind and body, and most especially from his
Chromius and thou art met aright, bospitality, and he worthy use of his riches.
For, as by Nature thou dost write, He likens bis beginning to that of Hercules ;
So he by Nature loves, and does by Nature fight. and, according to his usual manner of being transported with any good bint that meets him
Nature herself, whilst in the womb he was, in his way, passing into a digression of Her- Sow'd strength and beauty through the forming cules, and his slaying the two serpents in his
mass; cradle, concludes the Ode with that history.
They mov'd the vital lump in erery part,
And carv'd the members out with wondrous art. BEAUTEOUS Ortygia! the first breathing-place She fill'd his mind with courage, and with wit,
Of great Alpheus' close and amorous race! And a vast bounty, apt and fit Fair Delus' sister, the childbed
For the great dower which Fortune įnade to it. Of bright Latona, where she bred
'Tis madness, sure, treasures to hoard, Th’ original new Moon !
And make them useless, as in inines, remain, Who saw'st her tender forehead cre the horns To lose th’ ocưasion Fortune does afford were grown!
Fame and public love to gain : Who, like a gentle scion newly started out,
Ev’n for self-concerning ends, From Syracusa's side dost sprout !
'Tis wiser much to hoard-up friends. Thee first my song does greet,
Though happy men the present goods possess, With numbers smooth and Acet
Th' unhappy have their share in future hopes 18 As thine own horses'airy feet,
less. When they young Chromius'chariot drew,
How early bas young Chromius begun And o'er the Nemæan race triumphant few.
The race of virtue, and how swiftly run, Jove will approve my song and me;
And borne the noble prize away, Jove is concern'd in Nemea, and in thee,
Whilst other youths yet at the barriers stay! With Jove my song; this happy man,
None but Alcides e'er set earlier forth than he: Young Chromius, too, with Jove began; The god, his father's blood, nought could From hence came his success,
restrain, Nor ought he therefore like it less,
'Twas ripe at first, and did disdain Since the best fame is that of happiness;
The slow advance of dull hunanity. For whom should we esteem above
The big-limb'd babe in bis huge cradle lav, The inen whom gods do love?
Tuo weighty to be rock'd by murses' bands, 'Tis them alone the Muse too does approve.
Wrapt in purple swadilling-banıls; Lo! now it makes this victory shine
When, lo! by jealous Juno's fierce commands, O'er all the fruitful isle of Proserpine !
Two dreadful serpents come,
To the buld babe they trace their bidden way;
Forth from their faming eyes dread lightnings
Pindar's unnavigable song went ;
Like a swolu tool from some steep mountain heir gaping mouths did forked tongues, like
pours along; thunderbolts, present.
The ocean meets with such a voice, Some of th' amazed women dropt down dead
From his enlarged mouth, as drowns the ocean's With fear, some wildly fled
noise. About the room, some into corners crept,
So Pindar does new words and figures roll Where silently they shook and wept:
Dowu his impetuous dithyrambic tide, All naked from her bed the passionate mother
Which in no channel deigns t'abide, leap'd,
Which neither banks nor dykes control : To save or perish with her child;
Whether th’immortal gods he sings, She trembled, and she cry'd; the mighty infant In a no less immortal strain, smild:
Or the great acts of god-descended kings, The mighty infant seem'd well pleas'd Who in his numbers still survive and reign; At his gay gilded foes;
Each rich-embroider'd line,
In vain they rag'd, in vain they biss'd, Does all their starry diadems outshine.
Whether at Pisa's race he please
Tocarve in polish’dverse the conqueror's images; Black bloud, and fiery breath, and poisonous Whether the swift, the skilful, or the strong, soul, he squeezes out!
Be crowned in his nimble, artful, vigorous song; With their drawn swords
Whether some brave young man's untiinely fate, In ran Amphitryo and the Thehan lords;
In words worth dying for, he celebrate With doubting wonder, and with troubled joy,
Such mournsul, and such pleasing words, They saw the conquering boy
As joy to his mother's and his mistress' grief af. Laugh, and point downwards to his prey,
fordsWhere, in death's pangs and their own gore, they
He bids him live and grow in fame; folding lay.
Among the stars he sticks his name; When wise Tiresias this beginning knew,
The grave can but the dross of him devour, He told with ease the things t'ensne ;
So small is Death's, so great the poet's power! From what monsters he should free
Lo, how th’ obsequious wind and swelling air The earth, the air, and sea;
The Theban swan does upwards bear What mighty tyrants he should slay, Into the walks of clouds, where he does play, Greater monsters far than they ;
And with extended wings opens his liquid way! How much at Phlægra's field the distrest gods Whilst, alas! my timorous Muse should owe
Unambitious tracts pursues ; To their great offspring here below;
Does with weak, unballast wings, And how his club should there outdo
About the mossy brooks and springs, Apollo's silver bow, and his own father's thunder About the trees' new-blossom'd heads, too:
About the gardens' painte : beds, And that the grateful gods, at last,
About the fields and flowery meads,
And all inferior beauteous things, The race of his laborious virtue past,
Like the laborious bee, Heaven, which he sav'd, should to him give;
For little drops of honey flee, Where, marry'd to eternal youth, he should for And there with bumble sweets contents her in.
ever live; Drink nectar with the gods, and all his senses
Nor winds to voyagers
sea, And, as he walks, affright The Lion and the Bear,
(Heaven's vital seed cast on the womb of Earth Bull, Centaur, Scorpion, all the radiant monsters
To give the fruitful Year a birth)
Than Verse to Virtue; which can do
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
And nought behind it stay.
Begin the song, and strike the living lyre; Who c'er but Dædalus with waxen wings could fly, Lo! how the Years to come, a numerous and And neither sink too low nor soar too high?
well-fitted quire, What could he who follow'd claim,
All hand in hand do decently advance, But of vain boldness the unhappy fame, And to my song with smooth and equal mea. And by his fall a sea to name?
sures dance !
Whilst the dance lasts, how long soe'er it be, Figures, Conceits, Raptures, and Sentences, My music's voice shall bear it company;
lu a well-worded dress; Till all gentle notes be drown'd
And innocent Loves, and pleasant Truths, and In the last trumpet's dreadful sound :
useful Lies, That to the spheres themselves shall silence In all their gaudy liveries.
Untune the universal string : [bring, Mount, glorious queen! thy travelling throne,
And bid it to put on;
And life, alas! allows but one ill winter's day.
The passage press'd; hands divine.
Where never fish did fly, Whom thunder's dismal noise,
And with short silver wings cut the low liquid sky; And all that prophets and apostles louder spake, Row through the trackless
ocean of the air;
Where bird with painted oars did ne'er
Where never yet did pry
The busy Morning's curious eye;
l'he wheels of thy bold coach pass quick and free, And open tombs, and open eyes,
And all's an open road to thee; To the long sluggards of five thousand years !
Whatever God did say, This mightier sound shall make its hearers ears,
Is all thy plain and smooth uninterrupted way! Then shall the scatter'd atoms crowding come
Nay, ev'n beyond his works thy voyages are Back to their ancient home;
known, Some from birds, from fishes some;
Thou hast thousand worlds too of thine own. Some from earth, and some from seas;
Thou speak'st, great queen! in the same style Some from beasts, and some from trees ;
as he; Some descend from clouds on high,
And a new world leaps forth when thou say'st, Some from metals upwards fly,
“Let it be." And, where th’ attending soul naked and shiver. Thou fathom'st the deep gulf of ages past, ing stands,
And canst pluck up with ease Meet, salute, and join their hands;
The years which thou dost please; As dispers'd soldiers, at the trumpet's call,
Like shipwreck'd treasures, by rude tempesta Haste to their colours all.
cast Unhappy most, like tortur'd men,
Long since into the sea,
Brought up again to light and public use by thee,
Nor dost thou only dive so low, The mountains shake, and run about no less con
But fly fus'd than they.
With an unwearied wing the other way on high,
Where Fates among the stars do grow ;
There into the close nests of Time dost peep, Hold thy Pindaric Pegasus closely in,
And there, with piercing eye, Which does to rage begin,
Through the firm shell and the thick white, dost And this steep hill would gallop up with violent
Years to come a-forming lie, course ; "Tis an unruly and a hard-mouth'd horse,
Close in their sacred fecundine asleep, Fierce and unbroken yet,
Till hatch'd by the Sun's vital heat, Impatient of the spur or bit;
Which o'er them yet does brooding set, Now prances stately,and anon flies o'er the place;
They life and motion get, Disdains the servile law of any settled pace,
And, ripe at last, with vigurous might Conscious and proud of his own natural force:
Break through the shell, and take their everlaste 'Twill no unskilful touch endure,
ing flight! But flings writer and reader too, that sits not And sure we may
The same too of the present say,
Thou stop'st this current, and dost make
This running river settle like a lake;
Thy certain hand holds fast this slippery snake 3 Go, the rich chariot instantly prepare ;
The fruit which does so quickly waste, The queen, my Muse, will take the air :
Men scarce can see it, much less taste, Unruly Fancy with strong Judgment trace; Thou comfitest in sweets to make it last. Put in mmble-footed Wit,
This shining piece of ice, Sinooth-pac'd Eloquence join with it;
Which melts so soon away Sound Memory with young Invention place;
With the Sun's ray, Hamness all the winged race:
Tby verse does solidate and crystallize, Let the postillion Nature mount, and let
Till it a lasting mirror be!
Nay, thy immortal rhyme
To fill up half the orb of round eternity.