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homage was universal and enthusiastic. The Amphictyonic Council decreed to him a right to the public hospitality of every town of Greek name; the Pythian oracle ordered a portion of the Theoxenia-a species of sacrificial offerings—to be set apart for Pindar's use, a privilege which was continued to his descendants ; and an iron chair, or throne, was assigned to him within the Delphic temple, in which, upon solemn occasions, the poet seated himself, and recited his hymns to the people. Pausanias says * that the chair remained to his day, and that he had seen it and heard the tradition connected with it. An Epinician Ode by Pindar doubled the honours of victory in the games, and the fellow-countrymen of the winner made less account of his Olympic crown than of his mighty poet's praise. The Rhodians are said to have been so transported with admiration of the ode composed in honour of Diagoras, their giant boxer—the seventh Olympic that they caused it to be inscribed in letters of gold and set up in the temple of the Lindian Minerva. From such remarkable testimonies to the merit of a living poet-who had his rivals and enemies—we might reasonably conclude that the Greeks of the most splendid age of Greece saw nothing obscure or rambling in the works which they so fervently admired. The Rhodians would hardly have acquiesced in Cowley's criticism, although, upon the supposition of their understanding English, they might have said, or thought, something of the sort of Cowley's own Odes. If Pindar seems obscure, or rambling, to us, we must surely in all modesty suppose that a part of the fault is in ourselves. We ought to give this learned Theban the benefit of the old retort-intelligibilia non intellectum fero.
And yet that such a man as Cowley, besides so many others, should have made the same objection, and have even coupled Pindar with Lycophron, is certainly enough to make us examine, with some care, the probable grounds for such a charge. As to Lycophron, we must protest against the monstrous association. The Cassandra is obscure, in the strictest and worst sense of the term ; it is wilfully involved in verbal enigmas, which no skill in the language, no insight into the design, can possibly help us to solve without the aid of an interpretation which has come down from the times of the Grammarians. A poet who nakedly designates Hercules by the words tpikon Epos déwy, because that hero wore the Nemean lion's skin, and because, upon a certain occasion, three nights were put into one on his account, means evidently, before all other things, to propound riddles, which may be luckily guessed, but cannot possibly be construed by any scientific rules. We say this without meaning to dispute the genius of the poet of Chalcis ; there are passages in his work
* In Phoc. · VOL. LI. NO. ci.
which attest a very peculiar power; and it is extraordinary that they should be disfigured by so preposterous a style. But Pindar presents no difficulties in his words taken by themselves ; his phraseology is plain enough, and his figures, although very bold and sometimes very complicated, are always obviously significant of the poet's sense at first reading. If there were corrupt metaphors in Pindar--which we deny—we believe they would little or not at all account for any person's difficulty in understanding his Odes; even a bull is always perfectly intelligible; it is a fault in the logic of terms, but the intention of the speaker is not in the least degree rendered doubtful by it. Let us be allowed, by the way, a few words upon Pindar's figures.
Lyric poetry, although subjective in the highest degree, differs from Elegy in this that, whereas the latter is occupied in the expression of feelings connected with the past or the future, with sorrow or love-in short with reflections on that which is absentin the Ode the present is always predominant over every mood of time and space, and the poet associates himself with imagery directly presented to the eye of the reader. Hence it is that narration and description may find a place in lyric poetry; but the distinction between the imagery in Pindar and in Homer is this: in the latter it is purely objective--the poet being a voice and nothing more ; whilst in Pindar everything is associated, and forms part, by way of likeness or contrast, of the one fundamental and pervading theme of the poem. The poet himself breathes in every line. It is, moreover, essential to lyric verse that the expression should at one time be highly condensed, at others drawn out and continuous of both of which extremes Pindar presents numerous examples in almost every ode. Hence it is that the simile, in its most simple form of juxtaposition, is rarely adopted in these odes; and where it is so found, it is for the most part in cases in which a single word or phrase constitutes the object of comparison. For instance, xogares s peados às aibóuevoy que áTE SICT PÉTEL VUXTi—and a few more of the same sort. We do not remember six similes in Pindar in this simple form--the one almost exclusively employed in the Homeric and Hesiodic poems.
Both the principles which we just now noticed call for the closer and more impersonated form of the metaphor in lyric poetry, and Pindar has availed himself of it with unequalled boldness and variety. His favourite mode is to merge the subject in the object of the comparison—the thing to be illustrated in the thing which is to illustrate—and then to apply to the substituted image the train of thought, in fact, belonging to the primary subject; and not only so, but also frequently to revert to language which can only be attributed in strictness of terms to that primary subject, and which is incongruous with the object of comparison. Let us
τυπτόμενοι. φάει δε πρόσωπον εν καθαρά
Kprovialow is truxaīs áreyyensã—VI. Pyth. v. 1.
To bright-eyed Venus or the Graces dear,
In Crissa's winding vales.'-Cary.* . We plough the field of Venus or the Graces-(=we prepare an ode) —as we approach the navel of the earth (=Delphi, it being a Pythian victory), where a treasure of song in honour of the Pythian victors is erected and preserved—which treasure (= the ideal treasure of fame and song, as opposed to the gold and silver offerings in the Delphic treasury) neither wind nor rain shall affect; but on the contrary, it (the song) shining clearly ( as if it were gold), shall declare your glories, &c.'
We end these instances with a short passage, remarkable for the supervention of the direct simile upon the metaphor :
χρυσίας υποστάσαντες εί-
Tážousv.–VI. Olymp. v. 1. • Placing golden columns under the well-built porch of our chamber (=commencing with a splendid exordium to the ode) we will erect it (=the chamber or ode), as if we were building a beautiful palace.'
We fear Dr. Johnson would have called these and the like
* We cannot compliment Mr. Cary upon the whole of this version. What is the meaning of a “furrow turning a field ?: The seventh line is exceedingly tame and prolix for the single epithet ποταμία, and surely παμφόρω χεράδι does not mean • with surf all-swilling,' but sand, stones, and mud, driven or collected together, in a passive sense? We recommend, by the way, to Mr. Cary, in case of a second edition being called for, the use of Boeckh's text, instead of Heyne's, from which it is evident his translation has been made.
false metaphors; and certainly, if it be universally true that no circumstances can justify a departure from what may be termed the literal unity of a metaphor, then Pindar must be allowed to be remarkably open to the censure of criticism upon this account. But we venture to think that this matter has been settled a little too hastily, and upon too narrow principles of logic. It is exceedingly difficult to trace with precision the process by which a word, primarily denoting a visual image, or a determinate act of the senses, becomes invested with moral associations ; but we all know, or may know upon a little reflection, that a very large portion of the language spoken at any given period by every civilized people, is made up of words and phrases metaphorically applied, The usage of such words as light and darkness-or to see, hear, feel, taste, and the like, will demonstrate the extent in which the language of common life is composed of terms employed in a secondary or translated meaning. No man ordinarily speaks three sentences together without two metaphors in them, and the diction of the peasant is as figurative as that of the gentleman. But it is obvious that, by familar use, all sense of the figurative application is lost, and the words are spoken as in their primary signification alone. Hence we conceive the true rule to be, that no use of words ought to be considered really metaphorical, where a simply moral sense has been conventionally stamped upon the phrase, so as to merge to the mind's eye the visual image originally expressed by it.
For example, great fault has been found by some critics with Hamlet, for deliberating whether
to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them.' Spear and shield, it is said, are inapplicable to such an adversary. Very true; but' to take arms' against a thing is a wornout metaphor, and, therefore, no effective metaphor at all. It suggests no incongruous image. Even the sea of troubles'Tehayos narwy—when taken by itself, scarcely raises any distinct image ; but if you add any appropriate action, as to Hoat on,' ' to be drowned in,' a sea of troubles, then the figure emerges and the phrase becomes apparently metaphorical. · Prospero says—
•The charm dissolves apace;
Their clearer reason.' Some of the words used in this passage, if reduced to their original physical meanings, would be inconsistent with each