Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Pindar's Vocabulary

Basil L. Gildersleeve (1831-1924), ed., Pindar, The Olympian and Pythian Odes, with an Introductory Essay, Notes, and Indexes (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1892), p. xli:
Even the most familiar words are roused to new life by the revival of the pristine meaning. It is a canon of Pindaric interpretation that the sharp, local sense of the preposition is everywhere to be preferred, and every substantive may be made to carry its full measure of concreteness. This is distinctly not survival, but revival....In fact it is hardly possible to go wrong in pressing Pindar's vocabulary until the blood comes.
Id., p. xxv:
And yet the poetry of Pindar does not lose itself in generalities. He compares his song to a bee that hastes from flower to flower, but the bee has a hive. He compares his song to a ship, but the ship has a freight and a port. His song does not fly on and on like a bird of passage. Its flight is the flight of an eagle, to which it has so often been likened, circling the heavens, it is true, stirring the ether, but there is a point on which the eye is bent, a mark, as he says, at which the arrow is aimed.

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