網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

makes Pindar ask the Hymns who shall inspire the Song. Are not the hymns and the song the same ?--and is not this as tasteful as to say " O Violin, what shall we play on the fiddle ?-meaning the same kit all the while ? Besides, what has the word ' inspire'-and, especially, what has the word warbled'to do in such a passage? The first we impute to the rhyme; the second, we set down to a momentary deliquium of taste and Pindaric feeling. Pindar never warbles, that we remember :- did David warble ?-he sings, if you will, and strikes the lyre; and if there must be epithets in English, where there are none in the Greek, let them twang, or chime, or ring, or sound, in any way, as from the strings of the lyre- the instrument of gods and heroes ; but let us have no memorial of sol fa, or the prima donna. 'Avaža Cóquinges should be the pitch-pipe to the translator of Pindar.

We have mentioned this short passage as an obvious instance of that sort of slipslop translation, which is more unbearable when applied to Pindar, than to almost any other poet we know. But this is not Mr. Cary's general manner; if it had been, our respect for his Dante would have made it necessary for us to be silent on his Pindar. No, the general character of this translation is manly, and some of the most difficult things in Pindar, and the most opposed in tone, are executed with equal excellence. The moral sentences and personal reflections of the poet are rendered with great spirit; for example, can anything be better than this ?

Dodać pon er' exão
νος ωκία βέλη
ένδον εντί φαρέτρας

OuvãoTA OUVETOTOIVO X. . .-II. Olymp. v. 149.
• Beneath mine elbow a full quiver lies
Of fleetest arrows, sounding to the wise ;
But for the crowd they need interpreters.
His skill is most who learns in Nature's school;
All else, expert by rule,
Are none of hers;
Mere tongues in vehement gabble idly heard,

Clamoring, like daws, at Jove's celestial bird.'
Or this

'H ocópcra torná.
και πού τι και βροτών Φρένας
υπέρ τον αλαθη λόγον
δεδαιδαλμένοι ψεύδεσι ποικίλους

ŽanatūvTI Mõbos x. 7.2.-1. Olymp. 43,
• Many a wonder is, in sooth.

But sometimes more than truth,
On man's beguiled thought
Invention will prevail
With a well-woven tale,
In varied colours quaintly wrought:

And

And grace, that can a magic throw
On all that charms the sense below,
By lustre not his own relieved,
Hath made th' incredible believed.
But after-days the best convincers are:
And man should only fair
Speak of the gods, and good :

For so is blame eschew'd.' All the passages in Pindar of this grave, sententious kind-and most of our readers know how numerous and characteristic they are-appear to us to be translated by Mr. Cary with peculiar success. But his success is not limited to this department of the original; in those passages in which an exquisite elegance of style, and, a certain subtle lightness of thought predominate, he has more than once been very felicitous. We know nothing in all Pindar so graceful—so exclusively graceful-in manner, as his address to the Graces : the inspiration seems more than a figure, and, indeed, we cannot doubt that the poet, upon this occasion, studied in a peculiar degree to achieve a tone germane to the character of his ladies-patronesses. We venture to quote the whole ode, which is short, and will serve as an instance of the poet's and the translator's manner, in an entire composition.

Kamioiwy údátwy na gcoidas%. 7.2.-XIV. Olymp.
O ye, ordain'd by lot to dwell
Where Cephisian waters well;
And hold your fair retreat
Mid herd (s) of coursers beautiful and fleet;
Renowned queens, that take your rest
In Orchomenus the blest,
Guarding with ever-wakeful eye
The Minyans' high-born progeny ;-
To you my votive strains belong :
List, Graces, to your suppliant's song!
For all delightful things below,
All sweet, to you their being owe;
And at your hand their blessings share
The wise, the splendid, and the fair.

• Nor without the holy Graces,
The gods, in those supernal places,
Their dances or their banquets rule;
Dispensers they of all above
Throughout the glorious court of Jove ;
Where each has plac'd her sacred stool
By the golden bow'd Apollo,
Whom in his harpings clear they follow;
And the high majestic state
Of their Eternal Father venerate.

• Daughters

• Daughters of heaven ;--Aglaia, thou
Darting splendours from thy brow;
With musical Euphrosyne,-.
Be present. Nor less call I thee,
Tuneful Thalia, to look down
On this joyous rout, and own
Me their bard, who lead along,
For Asopichus, the throng
Tripping light to Lydian song ;
And Minya for thy sake proclaim
Conqueress in the Olympic game.

Waft, Echo, now thy wing divine
To the black dome of Proserpine;
And marking Cleodamus there,
Tell the glad tidings;-how his son,
For him, hath crown'd his youthful hair

With plumes in Pisa's valley won.' Pindar lived to be eighty years old, and, like all the great poets of his age, and indeed, country, was a voluminous writer. The books of odes which we possess did not constitute a fourth part of the works which were collected and edited by Aristophanes and Aristarchus. Those great grammarians classed the remains of Pindar, which seem to have been entirely lyric, under the names of Pæans, Dithyrambics, Prosodia, Parthenia, Hyporchemata, Encomia, Scolia, Threni, and others. They distinguished the Epinicia, the largest part of which we still have, from the Hymns, more strictly so called. It has been said that the most brilliant specimens of the Pindaric muse have not come down to us. We cannot quite believe this : not doubting, assuredly, that time has robbed us of much, little inferior in merit to that which it has preserved; but conceiving it more probable, in the absence of explicit testimony, that, upon the whole, the best was the most celebrated, and the more celebrated the most likely to live. The few fragments which still remain, amply prove that Pindar was Pindar always, and we should be glad to see another edition of Mr. Cary's book enriched by versions of two or three of the most connected of them. The Scolium xeñv uè nata naipon èpÚTW—%. T. 2.—and the Threnic fragments—Tool heutel uży Mévos de lou_2.7.2.in particular, are exquisitely beautiful, and ought not to be lost to the English reader of this great poet. The Dithyrambic linesDEūt' ¿v xogov, 'Ohýntion-putting us in mind of Schiller's, or, more truly, Coleridge's · Visit of the Gods,' - will also bear translation.* As far as it is possible to judge from these scanty relics,

odia, sy lyriassed th

cannot ens of calle part of and

we

* We jot down the following rough lines merely to show the different tone of the Dithyrambus from the majestic Epinician :

• Down

we should think that Pindar's boldness of imagery and luxuriance of language never deserted him; but that in the Epinician Odes he had exercised a severer taste and a more exalted tone, than in his other compositions.

This might well be expected, when we come to consider the surpassing dignity of the occasions upon which these odes were composed, and the remoteness and variety of the countries to which they were sent. The Games which attracted the costly and laborious competition of princes and magistrates, must have been associated with feelings and solemnities of a very peculiar interest ;-and the poet, whose odes were chanted in Rhodes, and in Sicily, in Cyrene, Lacedæmon, Corinth, Athens, and Lesbos, must have possessed a truly national fame, and almost all that was civilized in the world as his theatre. It should be remembered that the Olympic and other public Games were in their institution and accompaniments strictly religious solemnities, and the hymn which was composed upon the occasion of a victory was designed as much for the honour of the God as for the praise of the man. We ought to say that the Divinity was more regarded than the winner of the prize ; for it would have revolted the religious and the prudential feelings of a Greek of Pindar's age to have made the successful individual the principal figure in the hymn. The honour was in itself transcendant, and for that very

Down to our dance, gods!
Come down from Olympus-

Hither descend !
Glory o'er Athens and joyance bestowing,
O light, as ye wont, in the forum o’erflowing,
Where the crowds, and the chorus, and sacrifice blend !
Lo! they come! Now the violet-coronals bring,
And pure honey dew-drops

Fresh gather'd in Spring!

See me advancing
Under Jove's guidance

Singing divine!-
'Tis the ivy-clad Boy :-God Bromius we name him ;
With a cry and a shout Eriboas we claim him!
O! begotten of mother of old Cadmus' line
In the mighty embrace of omnipotent sire-
I come from afar off

To lead thy bright quire !

For the new palm-bud
Caught glance from the prophet

Of Nemea's strand;
When the nectarous plants felt the spring-tide sweet-smelling,
What time the young Hours oped the ports of their dwelling!
Now the violet blooms are chance-flung on the land,
And the rose and the rose-leaf are wreath'd in the hair,
And voices and pipings
Ring loud in the air !'

reason

* reason the praise was spread over as wide a surface as possible.

A Nemesis attended on too great felicity : there was a certain
jealousy in the gods which might be provoked by triumph and
soothed by moderation; it was thought possible to propitiate this
avenging principle by voluntary abandonment of part of what was
strictly due. Polycrates threw his diamond signet into the sea.
The Athenians raised a marble statue to the goddess immediately
after the battle of Marathon. Pindar directly attributes the suc-
cess of the victor to a divinity, and is careful to pour his ' foaming
cup of praise over the city, the tribe, the ancestors, and even the
servants of the winner. He rarely writes for a wrestler or pugi-
list without distinctly naming and commending his trainer, nor is
the groom, or the charioteer, or the horse forgotten. Sometimes
the poet praises the master of the choric band, and sometimes
he praises himself. Every thing is praised, that Hiero or Diagoras
may not have to bear the whole odium-the Qlóvos--of the splendid
triumph; severe admonitions to humility are not spared, and
Pindar seldom fails to offer up a deprecating prayer-so to call
it-in the character and with the solemnity of a priest.
· Let any one peruse the Epinician Odes of Pindar with this clue,
and he will clearly perceive that the Greek poet did not celebrate
his patrons after the manner of the laureates of Louis's court; he
studiously avoids a concentration of eulogy upon one head; the
victory is in stronger relief than the victor, and the splendour of
the victory is almost merged in the general and enduring glory
of the Games themselves. Moreover Pindar addresses even Hiero
and Arcesilaus as their guest and friend; his tone towards men of
lower rank is that of a man conferring a gift. He ends his first
great Ode to Hiero thus :

Είη σε σε τούτον
υψού χρόνος πατεϊν, έμε
σε τοσσάδε νικαφόροις
ópidsīv, agóQartov copie xeb"E2-

λανας εόντα παντα.
· Thine be the lot this time

To tread the path sublime ;
For me, meanwhile, with conquerors my friends

To live, conspicuous still,

For the wise poet's skill,

Wherever Greece extends.'-Cary.. He puts on their wreath of victory, and sticks amaranth in the midst of it-to flourish when the olive or the parsley should be withered. He is conscious that he gives more than he receives, and is at no pains to conceal it. The dignity of the poet was surely never pitched so high, or so majestically maintained. The respect which Pindar demanded was willingly paid. The

homage

« 上一頁繼續 »