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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
WILLIAM PIT T, Esq. Paymafter-General of his Majefty's Forces, One of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council;
And to the HONOURABLE
SIR GEORGE LYTTELTON, BART. One of the Lords Commiffioners of the Treasury;
Are infcribed by the Author;
Who is defirous that the Friendship,
With which they have for many Years honoured him, And the fincere Affection and high Efteem, Which he hath conceived for them,
From a long and intimate Knowledge
of their Worth and Virtue,
May be known
Wherever the Publication of the enfuing Pieces
Shall make known the Name of
F all the great Writers of Antiquity, no one was ever more honoured and admired while living, as few have obtained a larger and fairer portion of fame after death, than Pindar. Paufanias tells us, that the character of Poet was really and truly confecrated in his perfon, by the God of Poets himself *, who was pleafed by an exprefs oracle to order the inhabitants of Delphi to fet apart for Pindar one half of the first-fruit offerings brought by the religious to his fhrine; and to allow him a place in his temple; where in an iron chair he was used to fit and fing his hymns, in honour of that God. This chair was remaining in the time of † Paufanias (feveral hundred years after) to whom it was fhewn as a relick not unworthy the fanctity and magnificence of that holy place. Fan † likewife, another Mufical Divinity, is reported to have skipped and jumped for joy, while the Nymphs were dancing in honour of the birth of this Prince of Lyrick Poetry; and to have been afterwards fo much delighted with his compofitions, as to have fung his Odes in the hearing even of the Poet himself §. Unhappily for us, and indeed for Pindar, thofe parts of his works, which procured him thefe extraordinary teftimonies from the Gods (or from Mortals rather, who by the invention
Pauf. in Boot.
† Pauf. in Phoc.
of thefe fables meant only to exprefs the high opinion they entertained of this great Poet) are all loft: I mean his Hymns to the feveral Deities of the Heathen World. And even of those writings, to which his lefs extravagant, but more ferious and more lafting glory is owing, only the leaft, and, according to fome people, the worst part is now remaining. Thefe are his Odes infcribed to the Conquerors in the Four facred Games of Greece. By these Odes therefore are we now left to judge of the merit of Pindar, as they are the only living evidences of his character.
Among the moderns * those men of learning of the trueft taste and judgment, who have read and confidered the writings of this Author in their original language, have all agreed to confirm the great character given of him by the Ancients. And to fuch who are still able to examine Pindar himself, I fhall leave him to ftand or fall by his own merit; only bespeaking their candour in my own behalf, if they fhould think it worth their while to perufe the following tranflations of fome of his Odes: which I here offer chiefly to the English reader, to whom alone I defire to address a few confiderations, in order to prepare him to form a right judgment, and indeed to have any relish of the Compofitions of this great Lyrick Poet, who notwithstand
* See Abbé Fraguier's Character of Pindar, printed in the 3d Vol. of Memoires de l' Academie Royale, &c. and Kennet's Life of Pindar, in the Lives of the Greek Poets.