Page:Odes of Pindar (Paley).djvu/13

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vii
PREFACE.

the average prose-writings of our own times and country. If we try to translate a dozen lines of Pindar very literally, and word for word, we shall too often obtain a result that reads very like downright nonsense. If we aim at a style and diction somewhat antiquated, and borrow the vocabulary of Spenser or the old English ballads, we fall into a forced artificial mannerism which, simply because it is unreal, savours strongly of quaintness, pedantry, and affectation. If we endeavour to represent the author's mind and meaning in the plain and clear terms which are the vehicle of modern thought, we run the serious risk of violating the very genius and essence of lyric poetry, and bringing it down almost to the level of ordinary dinner-table talk. Though well aware of the stupendous descent that must in this case be made, I have nevertheless preferred to make the attempt, and have endeavoured to represent Pindar's mind and meaning, and the connexion of thought, in plain unvarnished Saxon English. In doing this, I have tried to give a tolerably literal, but not servile version, i.e., a version only so far free as to allow of Greek being exchanged for English idioms. For a translation which reproduces all the idioms of the original is but a travestie; it has no right to be called a translation (or transference) at all.[1]

  1. If the necessities of the case have caused me apparently to pass