Page:Odes of Pindar (Paley).djvu/25

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Homer briefly embodies many incidents which, are known to have been treated at length in those very "Cyclics"; (2.) The ancient poets and artists, before about B.C. 420, were perfectly familiar with the "Cyclic" stories, while they show no clear recognition of our Homeric text.

There are some peculiarities in Pindar's style, on which it may be well here to say a few words, since the right understanding of them will often prove a key to his meaning.

1. His fondness for digression, or, in other words, his habit of running off into long legends immediately after mentioning the name of some hero. Thus, Ol. i. 25, "His glory shines in the colony of Pelops, of whom Poseidon was enamoured when," etc., and so on for the next eighty lines. Pyth. ix. 5, "the crown of Cyrene (the nymph) whom Apollo carried off from Pelion," of which the story is then given in about as many verses. Ol. vi. 28, "This day we must visit Pitane, who is said to have given birth to a son to Poseidon," of which the account directly follows, with the history of the child in the next fifty verses. Pyth. iv. 3, "We must swell the gale of song for Pytho, where erst the priestess foretold that Battus should be king of Cyrene." This introduces at once the long story, in 250 lines, of the Argonauts, the ancestors of Battus. Pyth. iii. 5, "O that Chiron had been still alive, as