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Thefe Odes were all compofed to be fung by a Chorus, either at the entertainments given by the Conquerors (to whom they were infcribed) or their friends, on account of their victories, or at the folemn facrifices made to the Gods upon thofe occafions. They confift generally of three ftanzas, of which the following account was communicated to me by a learned and ingenious Friend.
"Befides what is faid of the Greek Ode in the Scholiaft upon Pindar, I find (fays he) the follow"ing paffage in the Scholia on Hephæftion; it is the very laft paragraph of those Scholia."
The paffage cited by him is in Greek, instead of which I shall infert the Translation of it in English. You must know that the Ancients (in their Odes) framed two larger stanzas, and one lefs; the first of the larger ftanzas they called Strophé, finging it on their feftivals at the altars of the Gods, and dancing at the fame time. The fecond they called Antiftrophé, in which they inverted the dance. The lefter fianza was named the Epode, which they fung fanding fill. The Strophe, as they fay, denoted the motion of the higher Sphere, the Antiftrophé that of the Planets, the Epode the fixed station and repofe of the Earth.
"From this paffage it appears evident that thefe "Odes were accompanied with dancing; and that "they danced one way while the Strophe was finging, " and then danced back again while the Antiftrophé "was fung: Which fhews why thofe two Parts con"fifted of the fame length and meafure; then, when
"the Dancers were returned to the place whence they "fet out, before they renewed the dance they stood till while the Epode was fung.
"If the fame perfons both danced and fung, when "we confider how much breath is required for a full Song, perhaps one may incline to think, that the Strophé and Antiftrophé partook fomething of the "Recitative manner, and that the Epode was the 66 more compleat Air.
There is a paffage in the ancient Grammarian, "Marius Victorinus, which is much to the fame purpofe as this above, though he does not diftinctly fpeak of dancing. The paffage is this:
Pleraque Lyricorum carminum, quæ verfu, coifque & commatibus componuntur, ex Strophe, Antiftrophé, & Epodo, ut Græci appellant, ordinata "fubfiftunt. Quorum ratio talis eft. Antiqui Deorum laudes carminibus comprehenfas, circum aras corum euntes canebant. Cujus primum ambitum,
quem ingrediebantur ex parte dextrâ, Strophen "vocabant; reverfionem autem finiftrofum faciam, "completo priore orbe, Antiftrophen appellabant. "Deinde in confpectu Deorum foliti confiftere cantici, reliqua confequebantur, appellantes id Epodon.
"The Writers I have quoted fpeak only of Odes, "fung in the temples: but Demetrius Triclinius, upon the meafures of Sophocles, fays the fame 86 thing upon the Odes of the Tragick Chorus.
"What the Scholiaft upon Hephæftion, cited above, "adds about the Heavenly Motions, &c. is alfo faid
by Victorinus, and by Demetrius Triclinius, and likewife by the Scholiaft on Pindar. Yet I confider "this in no other light, than I do the fantastical con
ceits with which the Writers on Mufic abound. "Ptolemy, out of his three Books of Harmonics,
employs one almost entirely upon comparing the "principles of Music with the motions of the Planets, "the faculties of the mind, and other fuch ridiculous "imaginations. And Ariftides Quintilianus, fup
pofed an older Author, is full of the fame fooleries. "Marius Victorinus has another fcheme alfo, viz. "that the dancing forwards and backwards was in"vented by Thefeus, in memory of the labyrinth "out of which he escaped. t all this is taking "much unneceffary pains to account why, when "Dancers have gone as far as they can one way, "they fhould return back again; or at least not dance "in the fame circle till they are giddy."
Such was the ftructure of the Greek Ode, in which the Strophe and the Antistrophé, i. e. the first and fecond stanzas, contained always the fame number and the fame kind of verfes. The Epode was of a different length and measure; and if the Ode ran out into any length, it was always divided into Triplets of stanzas, the two first being conftantly of the fame length and measure, and all the Epodes in like manner correfponding exactly with each other: from all which the regularity of this kind of compofitions is fufficiently evident. There are indeed fome Odes, which confift of Strophes, and Antiftrophés without any Epode; and
and others which are made up of Strophes only, af different lengths and meafures. But the greatest number of Pindar's Odes are of the firft kind.
I have in the tranflation retained the names of Strophé and Antistrophé, on purpose to imprint the more ftrongly on the Mind of the English reader, the exact regularity obferved by Pindar in the ftructure of his Odes; and have even followed his example in one, which in the original confifts only of two Strophés.
Another charge against Pindar relates to the fuppofed wildness of his imagination, his extravagant digreffions, and fudden transitions, which leads me to confider the fecond point, viz. the connection of his thoughts. Upon which I fhall fa but little in this place, having endeavoured to point out the connexion, and account for many of the digreffions, in my Arguments and Notes * to the feveral Odes which I have tranflated. Here therefore I shall only obferve in general, that whoever imagines the victories and praises of the Conquerors are the proper fubjects of the Odes infcribed to them, will find himself mistaken. These victories indeed gave occafion to thefe fongs of triumph, and are therefore conftantly taken notice of by the Poet, as are alfo any particular and remarkable circumftances relating to them, or to the lives and characters of the Conquerors themselves: but, as fuch circumftances could rarely furnish out matter fufficient for an Ode of any length, fo would it have been an indecency unknown to the civil
* See p. 122.
civil equality and freedom, as well as to the fimplicity of the age in which Pindar lived, to have filled a poem intended to be fung in public, and even at the altars of the gods, with the praises of one man only; who, befides, was often no otherwife confiderable, but as the victory which gave occafion to the Ode had made him. For thefe reafons, the Poet, in order to give his poem its due extent, was obliged to have recourfe to other circumstances, arifing either from the family or country of the Conqueror, from the Games in which he had come off victorious, or from the particular deities who had any relation to the occafion, or in whofe temples the Ode was intended to be fung. All thefe, and many other particulars, which the reading the Odes of Pindar may fuggeft to an attentive obferver, gave hints to the Poet, and led him into thofe frequent digreffions, and quick tranfitions; which it is no wonder should appear to us at this distance of time and place both extravagant and unaccountable.
Upon the whole, I am perfuaded that whoever will confider the Odes of Pindar with regard to the manners and customs of the age in which they were written, the occafions which gave birth to them, and the places in which they were intended to be recited, will find little reason to cenfure Pindar for want of order and regularity in the plans of his compofitions. On the contrary, perhaps, he will be inclined to admire him, for raifing fo many beauties from fuch trivial hints, and for kindling, as he sometimes does, so great a flame from a fingle spark, and with fo little fuel.