Page images

On Himera's well-water'd coast,
For sons of brave Dinomenes,

The hymn, by valour earn'd, shall boast
What fears their fallen foemen seize.

If any speak in season due,

And ravel up into a few

His many ends combin'd;

Censorious blame attends him less.
Prolix and wearisome excess
Will dull a nimble mind;

And neighbours' ears in secret pine
At blessings that in others shine.
But thou no less (for better far
Envy than pity be our share)
Each noble aim pursue.

With rudder just thy people guide;

And steel thy tongue, however tried,
On anvil firm and true.

Aught but from thee at random thrown,

As somewhat great, abroad is blown.

To many thou dividest sway;

And many mark thee, either way,
Thy faithful witnesses.

• Still hold thy bloom of bravery on ;

No cost, no labour be foregone

To feed this proud excess.

If aught, O friend, to thee be dear

The pleasant sound, that greets thine ear;

Like some bold helmsman, spreading strain
Thy wind-swept canvas; and disdain
The flatt'ring wiles of meaner gain.

At close of glory's boastful day, Sure as the mighty pass away, To point their lives, alone remain Recording tale and poet's strain. Fades not the worth of Croesus mild: But Phalaris, with blood defil'd, His brazen bull, his torturing flame, Hand o'er alike to evil fame In every clime. No tuneful string, No voice, that makes the rafters ring, Receive his name, in hall or bower, When youth and joyance wing the hour.

First prize to mortals, good success; Next portion, good renown :

Whomever both conspire to bless,

He wins the highest crown.'

We have printed some of these verses in italics, to mark our dissent from the translation. The words,

[blocks in formation]

Pindar does not transport himself in imagination either to Salamis or to Citharon. The last part of the sentence is exactly the reverse of what Mr Cary makes it. He will speak of the fight before Citharon (Platea) at Sparta; not of Sparta's fight at Citharon. And the meaning of the first part is either, I ex'tol the glory of the Athenians, won at Salamis, as their reward;' or, 'I derive from Salamis (celebrated by me) the favour of the Athenians as my reward.' Again,

does not mean

Υιῷ τ ̓ ἐπιτελλόμενος δῆμον τε γέ-
ρων τράποι σύμφωνον ἐφ ̓ ἀσυχίαν·

' And turning them to love,
Honour the people; bid his son obey.'

Even according to Heyne's reading the sense implied is, and 'may the old man, too, committing the people to his son, turn 'them to concord and tranquillity.'+ So,

* In arranging the lines quoted from Pindar, we have followed Heyne, as Mr Cary seems to have done in his translation. Böckh's elaborate treatise on the Pindaric metres contains many strong arguments in favour of the different arrangement adopted in his edition; particularly with regard to the impropriety of dividing a word between two verses. But the change he makes is, on the whole, too violent to receive the general sanction of scholars.

† Böckh's lection is,

υἱῷ γ' ἐπιτελλόμενος, δῆμον γεραίρων τράποι σύμφωνον ἐφ' ἡσυχίαν.

where he has manuscripts in favour of the chief alteration.

Τῷ πόλιν κείναν θεοδμά

τῷ σὺν ἐλευθερία Ὑλλίδος στάθμας Ιέρων Ἐν νόμοις ἔκτισσε.

is strangely perverted to

Those stately walls in freedom plann'd;
The model built by hands divine,

The rule outstretch'd by Hyllus' line.'

Mr Cary here writes like a mason. But Pindar alludes to the freedom of the Dorian constitution, and the laws of the Heraclidæ. Some lines further back, directing,' for s¿búvol, is more Greek than English; and

[ocr errors]

Her garlands bright, her conquering steeds,
Ordain'd, in frequent song, the prize,'

is, we suspect, neither English nor Greek. These lapses, however, are trivial, compared to the great blunder on the loftiest passage in the ode:

Εἴη, Ζεῦ, τὸν εἴη ανδάνειν·

Could Mr Cary not perceive that this is a grand burst of natural religion? The preceding verses display an aggregation of terrible magnificence; all the awe-inspiring wonders of divine rage. The poet has worked his mind into an agony of devout fear; and he gives a voice to the emotion, for himself and his friends:

Be it ours, O Jove, be it ours to please thee !'

We hope that Mr Cary will restore this fine conception in his next edition. The original will not bear his translation,

[ocr errors]

Thy pleasure, Jove, oh, be thy pleasure done!'

And, if it would, he has every kind of authority against him, and in favour of the meaning which we have assigned to the expressions. The Scholiast is against him; Heyne is against him; Böckh is against him; the spirit of poetry is against him-especially the spirit of Pindar's poetry.

We urge no more objections. The rest of the version is worthy of the highest praise; and we leave the first Pythian, in all its strength-and its weakness-as a fair specimen both of Pindar and of Mr Cary.

ART. VII.-The Round Towers of Ireland; or the Mysteries of Freemasonry, of Sabaism, and of Budhism, for the first time unveiled. Prize Essay' of the Royal Irish Academy, enlarged, and embellished with numerous illustrations. By HENRY O'BRIEN, Esq. A.B. 8vo. London: 1834.


E were beginning to fear that the good old race of etymologists and antiquarians were all extinct; and most sincerely should we have lamented their loss. For, next to the fairy tales of our childhood, in nothing have we ever half so much delighted as in the lucubrations of these grave twisters of words,these searchers after syllables through the vast night of time. When, sometimes, with the industrious and truly learned historian of Manchester, we have gone roaming in quest of Celtic roots (which seem to have the fecundating effect of those of the mandrake upon a certain class of brains), and, by their aid, lighted upon the agreeable, though rather startling intelligence, that there existed sheriffs of the county of Wilts in the time of Julius Cæsar; when, by the same means, we have discovered that the Briton who invited Cæsar to this island was the unworthy son of no less honest a citizen than the Chancellor of Albury College, in, or near London, † our delight, on finding ourselves so much at home with the Roman conqueror and his cotemporaries, was far too lively to let us pause upon any sceptical doubts, or think on how small a modicum of monosyllables the whole vision rested.

But, of all the grave freaks of erudition, the sober antics of archæology that have, at times, diverted us, those of the gallant and venerable champion of Irish Antiquity, General Vallancey, assert the strongest claims to our recollection and gratitude. The exceeding complacency with which he detects an ancient Punic gentleman speaking good Irish, in one of Plautus's plays; his modest suggestion, whether a gold collar, which had been picked up out of a turf-bog, in the county of Limerick, might not be the actual Breastplate of Judgment, the Urim and Thummim of the Jews; the conclusion he comes to, that the Iroquois Indians of North America must be the very same people as the Irish, because the former call the sun Grounhia, and the latter call him

* Specimen of an Etymological Vocabulary, &c. p. 89.
+ Collectanea, No. 13.

+ P. 177.

Grian; and, not to enumerate too many such dazzling speculations at once, his discovery, that Ossian was the Messiah, and St Patrick the Devil; †-these, and a number of other such erudite fancies, which are to be found in the same antiquarian's writings, we should have cited as unrivalled flights in this peculiar walk of research, had we not met with the ingenious and precious volume which forms the subject of this article.

So long had Vallancey been accustomed to look at his beloyed Ireland through an orientalizing medium, that she grew, at last, to be as completely an Eastern island, in his eyes, as if, (like the Casa Santa which angels wafted, we are told, from Galilee to Loretto,) the Green Isle had, in times past, been transported from the Sea of Oman, or some other such summer quarters, and dropped, much to its discomposure, in the cold comfortless Atlantic. That there exist strong traces of an Oriental origin in the language, character, and monuments of the Irish people, no fair enquirer into the subject will be inclined to deny. Vallancey himself, indeed, began with this moderate view of the matter; and his first works, relating to Ireland, abound with materials of knowledge, which must always render them valuable to her historians and antiquaries. But, by dint of reading and writing for ever on the same theme, by labouring constantly at his favourite parallel between the Easterns and the Irish, heat last worked himself into a state little short of monomania on the subject. Not content with merely deriving the Irish nation from the ancient Chaldæans, Persians, Scytho-Iberians, or whatever other name he chose to give to their progenitors, he seems, at last, to have almost persuaded himself that the offspring has changed but little on the way, and that the Irish continue to be good Chaldæans, Persians, Scytho-Iberians, &c., to this very day.

Not only does he often quote vernacular Irish writers as good authorities respecting Eastern affairs, but even intimates that they know much more of the matter than the Easterns themselves; and the reason alleged by him for questioning the authenticity of the Phoenician history attributed to Sanchoniathon is, that it differs in some particulars, respecting the Cabiric mysteries, from what Irish History has, it seems, recorded, on the

[ocr errors]

Vindication of the Ancient History of Ireland, p. 395.

+ His (St Patrick's) name was Succat. He said he was come to preach the doctrine of the great prophet Oishan (the Messiah); but the Magi, wishing to keep up their authority and religion, then declared, if Nian, i. e. Oishin, was come, then he, Succat, must be Paterah, that is the Devil, and from hence his name Patric.'- Vind. 251.

« PreviousContinue »