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PRE È À CE.
H E following translations were first pub
lished in the year 1775; and I had then some idea of proceeding with the rest of PINDAR's Odes, that had been omitted by Mr. West. But my attention being called for some time to other objects, and a compleat translation of the PYTHIAN, Nemean, and Isthmian Odes, being published by Mr. BURNABY Greene, I gave up the design.
Translations of the ancient Poets, if faithfully executed, and the connexion and arrangement of their thoughts properly preserved, are undoubtedly of use even to the learned Reader. The Author of POLÝMETIS declares, that he never perfe&tly understood the Satires and Epistles of HORACE, till he read Mr. Pope's imitations of them. How necessary then must such an assistance be to the explanation of a Poet, of all others the most daring in his flights; and whose meaning has been so much perplexed by fanciful, and tasteless Commentators. O
Of my own attempt I shall only say, that I have studiously endeavored to give the sense of the Original as exaâly as possible; not taking too great liberty in paraphrasing on one hand, nor on the other, suffering the Spirit of the Poet to escape me, by adhering too closely to his Letter. I have added Notes on some obscure, and on some striking passages, which I have thrown together at the end of each Ode, and which Arrangement I must here defend, as it was censured by the Critical Reviewer, whose candid observations on the tranflation in general, demand my acknowledgment. If the attention of the Reader is to be called off at all, from the perusal of the text by typographical marks, I readily agree that his eye had better be drawn to the bottom of the page, than to be obliged to seek what it wants in another place. But I think it much better that the attention given to the general tenor of the Ode, should not be interrupted at all; and this end is fully effected, by the Notes only referring to the number of the verse, without encumbering the text with either mark, or figure; which, to judge by what happens to myself, will attract notice in spite of the firmelt resolution to the contrary. I cannot explain my Ideas on this subject better, than in the words of Mr. SPENCE, which I have before alluded to. "I used," he says, ' to be perpetually
consulting my notes: and before I left School, ''could have given you three or four different
meanings for most of the difficult passages in Virgil, Horace, or JUVENAL, and perhaps twenty, for some in PERSIUS. This
of studying, by drawing your eye off (at every line almost) to the side lights, instead of keeping it
steady upon the proper object you ought to • view, makes one often forget the real intention • of the Author; and almost loses the thread of • his thoughts, and the connexion of the whole piece.' POLYMETES, Dial. XVII.
As to the frequent digressions of the Poet, they are very justly accounted for by Mr. West in his Preface, and certainly arose more from necessity than choice. For as he was obliged to take notice of the particular actions of his Patrons, whose exploits he was paid for celebrating, so it was absolutely necessary for him to avoid difgusting the rest of his audience by the fameness of the subject; and to do this, he was forced to introduce such popular stories and anecdotes, as he could by any means connect with the Country or Family of the Conquerors, who most of them boasted a descent from some of the Heroes, and Demi-gods of the fabulous ages.
As the situation of a Poet Laureat is something Amilar to that of our ancient Lyric Poet, might
not our Birth Day Odes, be rendered more interesting to the Public, by interweaving some of the popular stories which may be found in our annals, with the usual compliments of the Day? I think something of this kind was attempted by Mr. WHITEHEAD. An idea of this nature in the hands of our present Laureat, might render those periodical productions not only a classical entertainment for the present time, but a permanent and valuable acquisition to posterity.
OL Y M P I C
To Psaumes of CAMARINA, on his Victory in
the Chariot Race.
ARGUM E N T.
The Poet, after an invocation to Jupiter, extols
PsAųMIS for his Victory in the Chariot Race, and for his desire to honor his country. From thence he takes occafion to praise him for his skill in managing horses, his hospitality, and his love of peace; and, mentioning the history of ERCINUS, excuses the early whiteness of his hair.
REAT Jove! supreme immortal King!
Borne on the unwearied thunder's wing; Again thy hours that roll along Responsive to the varied song,