The Extant Odes of Pindar
by Pindar
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And at this first-born rite the Fates stood hard at hand, and he who alone proveth sure truth, even Time. He travelling onward hath told us the clear tale of how the founder set apart the choicest of the spoil for an offering from the war, and sacrificed, and how he ordained the fifth-year feast with the victories of that first Olympiad.

Who then won to their lot the new-appointed crown by hands or feet or chariot, setting before them the prize of glory in the games, and winning it by their act? In the foot-race down the straight course of the stadion was Likymnios' son Oionos first, from Nidea had he led his host: in the wrestling was Tegea glorified by Echemos: Doryklos won the prize of boxing, a dweller in the city of Tiryns, and with the four-horse chariot, Samos of Mantinea, Halirrhothios' son: with the javelin Phrastor hit the mark: in distance Enikeus beyond all others hurled the stone with a circling sweep, and all the warrior company thundered a great applause.

Then on the evening the lovely shining of the fair-faced moon beamed forth, and all the precinct sounded with songs of festal glee, after the manner which is to this day for triumph.

So following the first beginning of old time, we likewise in a song named of proud victory will celebrate the thunder and the flaming bolt of loud-pealing Zeus, the fiery lightning that goeth with all victory[7].

And soft tones to the music of the flute shall meet and mingle with my verse, which beside famous Dirke hath come to light after long time.

But even as a son by his lawful wife is welcome to a father who hath now travelled to the other side of youth, and maketh his soul warm with love—for wealth that must fall to a strange owner from without is most hateful to a dying man—so also, Agesidamos, when a man who hath done honourable deeds goeth unsung to the house of Hades, this man hath spent vain breath, and won but brief gladness for his toil.

On thee the pleasant lyre and the sweet pipe shed their grace, and the Pierian daughters of Zeus foster thy wide-spread fame.

I with them, setting myself thereunto fervently, have embraced the Lokrians' famous race, and have sprinkled my honey upon a city of goodly men: and I have told the praises of Archestratos' comely son, whom I beheld victorious by the might of his hand beside the altar at Olympia, and saw on that day how fair he was of form, how gifted with that spring-tide bloom, which erst with favour of the Cyprian queen warded from Ganymede unrelenting death.

[Footnote 1: Reading [Greek: horat on hopa].]

[Footnote 2: This Kyknos seems to have been a Lokrian freebooter, said to have fought with success against Herakles.]

[Footnote 3: His trainer.]

[Footnote 4: Probably because Zeus was especially concerned, both with the fulfilment of promises and with the Olympic games.]

[Footnote 5: For the story of these Moliones see Nestor's speech, Hom. Il. xi. 670-761.]

[Footnote 6: Perhaps this implies a tradition of a colder climate anciently prevailing in Peloponnesos: perhaps the mention of snow is merely picturesque, referring to the habitual appearance of the hill in winter, and the passage should then rather be rendered 'when Oinomaos was king its snow-sprinkled top was without name.']

[Footnote 7: The Lokrians worshipped Zeus especially as the Thunderer, as certain coins of theirs, stamped with a thunderbolt, still testify.]




* * * * *

Ergoteles was a native of Knosos in Crete, but civil dissension had compelled him to leave his country. He came to Sicily and was naturalized as a citizen of Himera. Had he stayed in Crete he would not have won this victory; nor the Pythian and Isthmian victories, referred to at the end of the ode, for the Cretans seem to have kept aloof, in an insular spirit, from the Panhellenic games.

The date of the ode is B.C. 472, the year after the Himeraeans had expelled the tyrant Thrasydaios of Akragas. The prayer to Fortune would seem to have reference specially to this event. The ode was probably sung in a temple either of Zeus or of Fortune.

* * * * *

I pray thee, daughter of Zeus the Deliverer, keep watch over wide-ruling Himera, O saviour Fortune.

By thee upon the sea swift ships are piloted, and on dry land fierce wars and meetings of councils.

Up and down the hopes of men are tossed as they cleave the waves of baffling falsity: and a sure token of what shall come to pass hath never any man on the earth received from God: the divinations of things to come are blind.

Many the chances that fall to men when they look not for them, sometimes to thwart delight, yet others after battling with the surge of sorrowful pain have suddenly received for their affliction some happiness profound.

Son of Philanor, verily even the glory of thy fleet feet would have fallen into the sere leaf unrenowned, abiding by the hearth of thy kin, as a cock that fighteth but at home, had not the strife of citizen against citizen driven thee from Knosos thy native land.

But now at Olympia hast thou won a crown, O Ergoteles, and at Pytho twice, and at Isthmos, whereby thou glorifiest the hot springs where the nymphs Sicilian bathe, dwelling in a land that is become to thee as thine own.




* * * * *

The date of this victory is B.C. 464, when Xenophon won both the Stadion, or short foot-race of about a furlong or 220 yards, and also the Pentathlon, that is, probably, he won at least three out of the five contests which composed the Pentathlon—the Jump, Throwing the Disk, Throwing the Javelin, the Foot-race, and Wrestling, ([Greek: alma podokeian diskon akonta palaen]). For details, see Dict. Antiq. and Note on Nem. vii 71-73.

This ode and the speech of Glaukos in the sixth Book of the Iliad are the most conspicuous passages in poetry which refer to the great Corinthian hero Bellerophon.

It is thought that this ode was sung on the winner's public entrance into Corinth.

* * * * *

Thrice winner in Olympic games, of citizens beloved, to strangers hospitable, the house in whose praise will I now celebrate happy Corinth, portal of Isthmian Poseidon and nursery of splendid youth. For therein dwell Order, and her sisters, sure foundation of states, Justice and likeminded Peace, dispensers of wealth to men, wise Themis' golden daughters. And they are minded to keep far from them Insolence the braggart mother of Loathing.

I have fair witness to bear of them, and a just boldness stirreth my tongue to speak. Nature inborn none shall prevail to hide. Unto you, sons[1] of Aletes, ofttimes have the flowery Hours given splendour of victory, as to men excelling in valour, pre-eminent at the sacred games, and ofttimes of old have they put subtleties into your men's hearts to devise; and of an inventor cometh every work.

Whence were revealed the new graces of Dionysos with the dithyramb that winneth the ox[2]? Who made new means of guidance to the harness of horses, or on the shrines of gods set the twin images of the king of birds [3]? Among them thriveth the Muse of dulcet breath, and Ares in the young men's terrible spears. Sovran lord of Olympia, be not thou jealous of my words henceforth for ever, O father Zeus; rule thou this folk unharmed, and keep unchanged the favourable gale of Xenophon's good hap. Welcome from him this customary escort of his crown, which from the plains of Pisa he is bringing, having won with the five contests the stadion-race beside; the like whereof never yet did mortal man.

Also two parsley-wreaths shadowed his head before the people at the games of Isthmos, nor doth Nemea tell a different tale. And of his father Thessalos' lightning feet is record by the streams of Alpheos, and at Pytho he hath renown for the single and for the double stadion gained both in a single day, and in the same month at rocky Athens a day of swiftness crowned his hair for three illustrious deeds, and the Hellotia[4] seven times, and at the games of Poseidon between seas longer hymns followed his father Ptoiodoros with Terpsias and Eritimos. And how often ye were first at Delphi or in the Pastures of the Lion[5], though with full many do I match your crowd of honours, yet can I no more surely tell than the tale of pebbles on the sea-shore. But in everything is there due measure, and most excellent is it to have respect unto fitness of times.

I with your fleet sailing a privateer will speak no lie concerning the valour of Corinth's heroes, whether I proclaim the craft of her men of old or their might in war, whether of Sisyphos of subtlest cunning even as a god, and Medea who made for herself a marriage in her sire's despite, saviour of the ship Argo and her crew: or whether how of old in the struggle before the walls of Dardanos the sons of Corinth were deemed to turn the issue of battle either way, these with Atreus' son striving to win Helen back, those to thrust them utterly away[6].

Now when Glaukos was come thither out of Lydia the Danaoi feared him. To them he proclaimed that in the city of Peirene his sire bare rule and had rich heritage of land and palace, even he who once, when he longed to bridle the snaky Gorgon's son, Pegasos, at Peirene's spring, suffered many things, until the time when maiden Pallas brought to him a bit with head-band of gold, and from a dream behold it was very deed.

For she said unto him 'Sleepest thou O Aiolid king? Come, take this charmer of steeds, and show it to thy father[7] the tamer of horses, with the sacrifice of a white bull.'

Thus in the darkness as he slumbered spake the maiden wielder of the shadowy aegis—so it seemed unto him—and he leapt up and stood upright upon his feet. And he seized the wondrous bit that lay by his side, and found with joy the prophet of the land, and showed to him, the son of Koiranos, the whole issue of the matter, how on the altar of the goddess he lay all night according to the word of his prophecy, and how with her own hands the child of Zeus whose spear is the lightning brought unto him the soul-subduing gold.

Then the seer bade him with all speed obey the vision, and that when he should have sacrificed to the wide-ruling Earth-enfolder the strong-foot beast[8], he should build an altar straightway to Athene, queen of steeds.

Now the power of Gods bringeth easily to pass such things as make forecast forsworn. Surely with zealous haste did bold Bellerophon bind round the winged steed's jaw the softening charm, and make him his: then straightway he flew up and disported him in his brazen arms.

In company with that horse also on a time, from out of the bosom of the chill and desert air, he smote the archer host of Amazons, and slew the Solymoi, and Chimaira breathing fire. I will keep silence touching the fate of him: howbeit Pegasos hath in Olympus found a home in the ancient stalls of Zeus.

But for me who am to hurl straight the whirling javelin it is not meet to spend beside the mark my store of darts with utmost force of hand: for to the Muses throned in splendour and to the Oligaithidai a willing ally came I, at the Isthmos and again at Nemea. In a brief word will I proclaim the host of them, and a witness sworn and true shall be to me in the sweet-tongued voice of the good herald[9], heard at both places sixty times.

Now have their acts at Olympia, methinks, been told already: of those that shall be hereafter I will hereafter clearly speak. Now I live in hope, but the end is in the hands of gods. But if the fortune of the house fail not, we will commit to Zeus and Enyalios the accomplishment thereof.

Yet other glories won they, by Parnassos' brow, and at Argos how many and at Thebes, and such as nigh the Arcadians[10] the lordly altar of Zeus Lykaios shall attest, and Pallene, and Sikyon, and Megara, and the well-fenced grove of the Aiakidai, and Eleusis, and lusty Marathon, and the fair rich cities beneath Aetna's towering crest, and Euboea. Nay over all Hellas if thou searchest, thou shalt find more than one sight can view.

O king Zeus the Accomplisher, grant them with so light feet[11] to move through life, give them all honour, and sweet hap of their goodly things.

[Footnote 1: The clan of the Oligaithidai, to which Xenophon belonged.]

[Footnote 2: I. e. as a prize. But the passage may be taken differently as referring to the symbolical identification of Dionysos with the bull. Dithyrambic poetry was said to have been invented or improved by Arion of Corinth.]

[Footnote 3: This refers to the introduction into architecture by the Corinthians of the pediment, within or above which were at that time constantly placed images of eagles.]

[Footnote 4: The feast of Athene Hellotis.]

[Footnote 5: Nemea.]

[Footnote 6: The Lykians who fought under Glaukos on the Trojan side were of Corinthian descent.]

[Footnote 7: Poseidon.]

[Footnote 8: A bull.]

[Footnote 9: Proclaiming the name and city of the winner in the games.]

[Footnote 10: Reading [Greek: Arkasin asson].]

[Footnote 11: As in their foot-races.]




* * * * *

This ode was to be sung, probably by a chorus of boys, at the winner's city Orchomenos, and most likely in the temple of the three or Graces, Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia.

The date of the victory is B.C. 476.

* * * * *

O ye who haunt the land of goodly steeds that drinketh of Kephisos' waters, lusty Orchomenos' queens renowned in song, O Graces, guardians of the Minyai's ancient race, hearken, for unto you I pray. For by your gift come unto men all pleasant things and sweet, and the wisdom of a man and his beauty, and the splendour of his fame. Yea even gods without the Graces' aid rule never at feast or dance; but these have charge of all things done in heaven, and beside Pythian Apollo of the golden bow they have set their thrones, and worship the eternal majesty of the Olympian Father.

O lady Aglaia, and thou Euphrosyne, lover of song, children of the mightiest of the gods, listen and hear, and thou Thalia delighting in sweet sounds, and look down upon this triumphal company, moving with light step under happy fate. In Lydian mood of melody concerning Asopichos am I come hither to sing, for that through thee, Aglaia, in the Olympic games the Minyai's home is winner. Fly, Echo, to Persephone's dark-walled home, and to his father bear the noble tidings, that seeing him thou mayest speak to him of his son, saying that for his father's honour in Pisa's famous valley he hath crowned his boyish hair with garlands from the glorious games.





* * * * * The date of this victory is B.C. 474

In the year 480, the year of Salamis, the Syracusans under Hieron had defeated the Carthaginians in the great battle of Himera.

In 479 a great eruption of Etna (Aitna) began. In 476 Hieron founded, near the mountain but we may suppose at a safe distance, the new city of Aitna, in honour of which he had himself proclaimed as an Aitnaian after this and other victories in the games.

And in this same year, 474, he had defeated the Etruscans, or Tuscans, or Tyrrhenians in a great sea-fight before Cumae.

Pindar might well delight to honour those who had been waging so well against the barbarians of the South and West the same war which the Hellenes of the mother-country waged against the barbarians of the East.

* * * * *

O golden Lyre, thou common treasure of Apollo and the Muses violet-tressed, thou whom the dancer's step, prelude of festal mirth, obeyeth, and the singers heed thy bidding, what time with quivering strings thou utterest preamble of choir-leading overture—lo even the sworded lightning of immortal fire thou quenched, and on the sceptre of Zeus his eagle sleepeth, slackening his swift wings either side, the king of birds, for a dark mist thou hast distilled on his arched head, a gentle seal upon his eyes, and he in slumber heaveth his supple back, spell-bound beneath thy throbs.

Yea also violent Ares, leaving far off the fierce point of his spears, letteth his heart have joy in rest, for thy shafts soothe hearts divine by the cunning of Leto's son and the deep-bosomed Muses.

But whatsoever things Zeus loveth not fly frighted from the voice of the Pierides, whether on earth or on the raging sea; whereof is he who lieth in dreadful Tartaros, the foe of the gods, Typhon of the hundred heads, whom erst the den Kilikian of many names did breed, but now verily the sea-constraining cliffs beyond Cumae, and Sicily, lie heavy on his shaggy breast: and he is fast bound by a pillar of the sky, even by snowy Etna, nursing the whole year's length her frozen snow.

Whereout pure springs of unapproachable fire are vomited from the inmost depths: in the daytime the lava-streams pour forth a lurid rush of smoke: but in the darkness a red rolling flame sweepeth rocks with uproar to the wide deep sea.

That dragon-thing[1] it is that maketh issue from beneath the terrible fiery flood, a monster marvellous to look upon, yea a marvel to hear of from such as go thereby and tell what thing is prisoned between the dark-wooded tops of Etna and the plain, where the back of him is galled and furrowed by the bed whereon he lieth.

O Zeus, be it ours to find favour in thy sight, who art defender of this mountain, the forehead of a fruitful land, whose namesake neighbour city hath been ennobled by her glorious founder, for that on the race-course at the Pythian games the herald made proclamation of her name aloud, telling of Hieron's fair victory in the chariot-race.

Now the first boon to men in ships is that a favourable breeze come to them as they set forth upon the sea; for this is promise that in the end also they shall come with good hap home. So after this good fortune doth reason show us hope of crowns to come for Aitna's horses, and honour in the banquet-songs.

O Phoibos, lord of Lykia and of Delos, who lovest the spring of Castaly on thy Parnassos, be this the purpose of thy will, and grant the land fair issue of her men.

For from gods come all means of mortal valour, hereby come bards and men of mighty hand and eloquent speech.

This is the man I am fain to praise, and trust that not outside the ring shall I hurl the bronze-tipped javelin I brandish in my hand, but with far throw outdo my rivals in the match.

Would that his whole life may give him, even as now, good luck and wealth right onward, and of his pains forgetfulness.

Verily it shall remind him in what fightings of wars he stood up with steadfast soul, when the people found grace of glory at the hands of gods, such as none of the Hellenes hath reaped, a proud crown of wealth.

For after the ensample of Philoktetes he went but now to war: and when necessity was upon them even they of proud spirit sought of him a boon.

To Lemnos once they say came godlike heroes to fetch thence the archer son of Paian, vexed of an ulcerous wound; and he sacked the city of Priam and made an end of the Danaoi's labours, for the body wherewith he went was sick, but this was destined from the beginning.

Even thus to Hieron may God be a guide for the time approaching, and give him to lay hold upon the things of his desire.

Also in the house of Deinomenes do me grace, O Muse, to sing, for sake of our four-horsed car: no alien joy to him is his sire's victory.

Come then and next for Etna's king let us devise a friendly song, for whom with god-built freedom after the laws of Hyllic pattern hath that city been founded of Hieron's hand: for the desire of the sons of Pamphylos and of the Herakleidai dwelling beneath the heights of Taygetos is to abide continually in the Dorian laws of Aigimios. At Amyklai they dwelt prosperously, when they were come down out of Pindos and drew near in honour to the Tyndaridai who ride on white horses, and the glory of their spears waxed great.

Thou Zeus, with whom are the issues of things, grant that the true speech of men ever bear no worse report of citizens and kings beside the water of Amenas. By thine aid shall a man that is chief and that instructeth his son after him give due honour unto his people and move them to be of one voice peacefully.

I pray thee, son of Kronos, grant that the Phenician and the Tuscan war-cry be hushed at home, since they have beheld the calamity of their ships that befell them before Cumae, even how they were smitten by the captain of the Syracusans, who from their swift ships hurled their youth into the sea, to deliver Hellas from the bondage of the oppressor.

From Salamis shall I of Athenians take reward of thanks, at Sparta when I shall tell[2] in a song to come of the battle[3] before Kithairon, wherein the Medes that bear crooked bows were overthrown, but by the fair-watered banks of Himeras it shall be for the song I have rendered to the sons of Deinomenes, which by their valour they have earned, since the men that warred against them are overthrown.

If thou shalt speak in season, and comprehend in brief the ends of many matters, less impeachment followeth of men; for surfeit blunteth the eagerness of expectancy; and city-talk of others' praise grieveth hearts secretly.

Nevertheless, for that envy is preferred before pity[4], let slip not fair occasion: guide with just helm thy people and forge the sword of thy speech on an anvil whereof cometh no lie. Even a word falling lightly is of import in that it proceedeth from thee. Of many things art thou steward: many witnesses are there to thy deeds of either kind.

But abiding in the fair flower of this spirit, if thou art fain to be continually of good report, be not too careful for the cost: loose free like a mariner thy sail unto the wind.

Friend, be not deceived by time-serving words of guile. The voice of the report that liveth after a man, this alone revealeth the lives of dead men to the singers and to the chroniclers: the loving-kindness of Craesus fadeth not away; but him who burned men with fire within a brazen bull, Phalaris that had no pity, men tell of everywhere with hate, neither will any lute in hall suffer him in the gentle fellowship of young boys' themes of songs.

To be happy is the chiefest prize; to be glorious the next lot: if a man have lighted on both and taken them to be his, he hath attained unto the supreme crown.

[Footnote 1: Typhon.]

[Footnote 2: Reading [Greek: erion].]

[Footnote 3: Plataea.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. it is better to be envied than to be pitied.]




* * * * *

The classification of this ode as Pythian is probably a mistake: perhaps the victory was won at the Theban festival in honour of Herakles, or of Iolaos.

Anaxilaos, tyrant of Rhegium and Messana, had been deterred by Hieron's threats from attacking the Epizephyrian Lokrians, and the ode is partly occupied with congratulations of Hieron on this protective act. As Anaxilaos died B.C. 476, and Hieron was only placed at the head of the Syracusan state two years before, this seems to fix the date somewhere in these two years. As Pindar talks of sending his song across the sea, we may suppose that it was sung at Syracuse.

There is much obscurity about the significances of this ode. The poet's motive in telling the story of Ixion's sins has been variously guessed at. Some think it was meant to deter Hieron from contriving the death of his brother Polyzelos in battle in order to get possession of Polyzelos' wife (and if Hieron was to be suspected of such a thought it would be quite in Pindar's manner to mingle warning and reproof with praise): some think that it refers to the ingratitude of Anaxilaos toward Hieron. And most probably the latter part of the ode, in which sincerity is approved, and flattery and calumny are condemned, had some special and personal reference, though we need not suppose, as the commentators are fond of doing here and elsewhere, that it was aimed at Bacchylides or other rival poets.

* * * * *

Great city of Syracuse, precinct of warrior Ares, of iron-armed men and steeds the nursing-place divine, to thee I come[1], bearing from my bright Thebes this song, the tidings of earth-shaking racing of the four-horse car, wherein hath Hieron with his goodly chariot overcome, and decked with far-seen splendour of crowns Ortygia the dwelling-place of Artemis of the river, her by whose help he tamed with soothing hand his colts of spangled rein.

For the archer maiden with both hands fitteth the glittering trappings, and Hermes, god of games, whensoever Hieron to the polished car and bridle-guided wheels[2] yoketh the strength of his steeds, calling on the wide-ruling god, the trident-wielder.

Now unto various kings pay various men sweet song, their valour's meed. So the fair speech of Cyprus echoeth around the name of Kinyras, him whom Apollo of the golden hair loved fervently, and who dwelt a priest in the house of Aphrodite: for to such praise are men moved by the thankfulness that followeth the recompense of friendly acts. But of thee, O thou son of Deinomenes, the maiden daughter of the Lokrian in the west before the house-door telleth in her song, being out of bewildering woes of war by thy might delivered, so that her eyes are not afraid for anything.

Ixion, they say, by order of the gods, writhing on his winged wheel, proclaimeth this message unto men: To him who doeth thee service make recompense of fair reward.

This lesson learned he plainly; for when that among the friendly Kronidai he had gotten a life of pleasantness, his bliss became greater than he could bear, and with mad heart he lusted after Hera, whose place was in the happy marriage-bed of Zeus: yet insolence drove him to the exceeding folly; but quickly suffering his deserts the man gained to himself a misery most rare.

Two sins are the causes of his pain; one that he first among the heroes shed blood of kindred[3] craftily, the other that in the chambers of the ample heavens he attempted the wife of Zeus—for in all things it behoveth to take measure by oneself[4].

Yet a mocking love-bed hurried him as he approached the couch[5] into a sea of trouble; for he lay with a cloud, pursuing the sweet lie, fond man: for its form was as the form of the most highest among the daughters of heaven, even the child of Kronos; and the hands of Zeus had made it that it might be a snare unto him, a fair mischief. Thus came he unto the four-spoked wheel, his own destruction; and having fallen into chains without escape he became proclaimer of that message[6] unto many.

His mate[7], without favour of the Graces, bare unto him a monstrous son, and like no other thing anywhere, even as its mother was, a thing with no place or honour, neither among men, neither in the society of gods. Him she reared and called by the name Kentauros, and he in the valleys of Pelion lay with Magnesian mares, and there were born thence a wondrous tribe, like unto both parents, their nether parts like unto the dams, and their upper parts like unto the sire.

God achieveth all ends whereon he thinketh—God who overtaketh even the winged eagle, and outstrippeth the dolphin of the sea, and bringeth low many a man in his pride, while to others he giveth glory incorruptible.

For me it is meet to eschew the sharp tooth of bitter words; for, though afar off, I have seen the fierce Archilochos lacking most things and fattening but on cruel words of hate. Of most worth are riches when joined to the happy gift of wisdom. And this lot hast thou, and mayest illustrate it with liberal soul, thou sovereign chief over many streets filled with goodly garlands, and much people. If any saith that ever yet was any man of old time throughout Hellas who excelled thee in honour or in the multitude of possessions, such an one with vain purpose essayeth a fruitless task.

Upon the flower-crowned prow[8] will I go up to sing of brave deeds done. Youth is approved by valour in dread wars; and hence say I that thou hast won boundless renown in thy battles, now with horsemen, now on foot: also the counsels of thine elder years give me sure ground of praising thee every way.

All hail! This song like to Phenician merchandize is sent across the hoary sea: do thou look favourably on the strain of Kaster in Aeolian mood[9], and greet it in honour of the seven-stringed lute.

Be what thou art, now I have told thee what that is: in the eyes of children the fawning ape is ever comely: but the good fortune of Rhadamanthos hath come to him because the fruit that his soul bare was true, neither delighteth he in deceits within his heart, such as by whisperer's arts ever wait upon mortal man.

An overpowering evil are the secret speakings of slander, to the slandered and to the listener thereto alike, and are as foxes in relentless temper. Yet for the beast whose name is of gain[10] what great thing is gained thereby? For like the cork above the net, while the rest of the tackle laboureth deep in the sea, I am unmerged in the brine.

Impossible is it that a guileful citizen utter potent words among the good, nevertheless he fawneth on all and useth every subtlety. No part have I in that bold boast of his, 'Let me be a friend to my friend, but toward an enemy I will be an enemy and as a wolf will cross his path, treading now here now there in crooked ways[11].' For every form of polity is a man of direct speech best, whether under a despotism, or whether the wild multitude, or the wisest, have the state in their keeping.

Against God it is not meet to strive, who now upholdeth these, and now again to those giveth great glory. But not even this cheereth the heart of the envious; for they measure by an unjust balance, and their own hearts they afflict with bitter pain, till such time as they attain to that which their hearts devise.

To take the car's yoke on one's neck and run on lightly, this helpeth; but to kick against the goad is to make the course perilous. Be it mine to dwell among the good, and to win their love.

[Footnote 1: Pindar here identifies himself with his ode, which he sent, not took, to Syracuse. Compare Ol. vii. 13, &c.]

[Footnote 2: Properly [Greek: harmata] would seem to include all except the body of the chariot ([Greek: diphros]) in which the charioteer stood.]

[Footnote 3: His father-in-law Deioneus.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. to estimate rightly one's capacities, circumstances, rights, duties.]

[Footnote 5: Reading [Greek: poti koiton ikont'].]

[Footnote 6: The message spoken of above, v. 24.]

[Footnote 7: The cloud, the phantom-Hera.]

[Footnote 8: The prow of the ship carrying this ode, with which Pindar, as has been said, identifies himself.]

[Footnote 9: It is supposed that another ode, more especially in honour of the chariot-victory, is here meant, which was to be sent later.

From this point to the end the ode reads like a postscript of private import and reference.]

[Footnote 10: It is at least doubtful whether [Greek: kerdo] a fox is really connected with [Greek: kerdos] gain.]

[Footnote 11: It appears to me to be an absurdity to suppose that Pindar means to express in this sentence his own rule of conduct, as the commentators have fancied. He is all through this passage condemning 'crooked ways.']




* * * * *

The dates both of the victory and of the ode are uncertain. But as Pherenikos, the horse that won this race at Pytho, is the same that won at Olympia B.C. 472, in honour of which event the First Olympian was written, the victory cannot have been very long before that date, though the language of the ode implies that it was written a good deal later, probably for an anniversary of the victory. It must at least have been written before Hieron's death in 467. It is much occupied with his illness.

* * * * *

Fain were I (if meet it be to utter from my mouth the prayer conceived of all) that Cheiron the son of Philyra were alive and had not perished among men, even the wide-ruling seed of Kronos the son of Ouranos; and that there still lorded it in Pelion's glens that Beast untamed, whose soul was loving unto men, even such as when of old he trained the gentle deviser of limb-saving anodynes, Asklepios, the hero that was a defence against all kind of bodily plague.

Of him was the daughter[1] of Phlegyas of goodly steeds not yet delivered by Eileithuia aid of mothers, ere by the golden bow she was slain at the hands of Artemis, and from her child-bed chamber went down into the house of Hades, by contriving of Apollo. Not idle is the wrath of sons of Zeus.

She in the folly of her heart had set Apollo at nought, and taken another spouse without knowledge of her sire, albeit ere then she had lain with Phoibos of the unshorn hair, and bare within her the seed of a very god.

Neither awaited she the marriage-tables nor the sound of many voices in hymeneal song, such as the bride's girl-mates are wont to sing at eventide with merry minstrelsy: but lo, she had longing for things otherwhere, even as many before and after. For a tribe there is most foolish among men, of such as scorn the things of home, and gaze on things that are afar off, and chase a cheating prey with hopes that shall never be fulfilled.

Of such sort was the frenzied strong desire fair-robed Koronis harboured in her heart, for she lay in the couch of a stranger that was come from Arcady.

But one that watched beheld her: for albeit he was at sheep-gathering Pytho, yet was the temple's king Loxias aware thereof, beside his unerring partner[2], for he gave heed to his own wisdom, his mind that knoweth all things; in lies it hath no part, neither in act or thought may god or man deceive him.

Therefore when he was aware of how she lay with the stranger Ischys son of Elatos, and of her guile unrighteous, he sent his sister fierce with terrible wrath to go to Lakereia—for by the steep shores of the Boibian lake was the home of her virginity—and thus a doom adverse blasted her life and smote her down: and of her neighbours many fared ill therefore and perished with her: so doth a fire that from one spark has leapt upon a mountain lay waste wide space of wood.

But when her kinsfolk had laid the damsel upon the pile of wood, and fierce brightness of Hephaistos ran around it, then said Apollo: 'Not any longer may I endure in my soul to slay mine own seed by a most cruel death in company with its mother's grievous fate.'

He said, and at the first stride he was there, and from the corpse caught up the child, and the blaze of the burning fiery pile was cloven before him asunder in the midst.

Then to the Kentaur of Magnes he bare the child, that he should teach him to be a healer of the many-plaguing maladies of men. And thus all that came unto him whether plagued with self-grown sores or with limbs wounded by the lustrous bronze or stone far-hurled, or marred by summer heat or winter cold—these he delivered, loosing each from his several infirmity, some with emollient spells and some by kindly potions, or else he hung their limbs with charms, or by surgery he raised them up to health.

Yet hath even wisdom been led captive of desire of gain. Even him did gold in his hands glittering beguile for a great reward to bring back from death a man already prisoner thereto: wherefore the hands of the son of Kronos smote the twain of them through the midst, and bereft their breasts of breath, and the bright lightning dealt them doom.

It behoveth to seek from gods things meet for mortal souls, knowing the things that are in our path and to what portion we are born. Desire not thou, dear my soul, a life immortal, but use the tools that are to thine hand.

Now were wise Cheiron in his cavern dwelling yet, and had our sweet-voiced songs laid haply some fair magic on his soul, then had I won him to grant to worthy men some healer of hot plagues, some offspring of Leto's son, or of her son's sire[3].

And then in a ship would I have sailed, cleaving the Ionian sea, to the fountain of Arethusa, to the home of my Aitnaian friend, who ruleth at Syracuse, a king of good will to the citizens, not envious of the good, to strangers wondrous fatherly. Had I but landed there and brought unto him a twofold joy, first golden health and next this my song of triumph to be a splendour in his Pythian crown, which of late Pherenikos[4] won by his victory at Kirrha—I say that then should I have come unto him, after that I had passed over the deep sea, a farther-shining light than any heavenly star.

But I am minded to pray to the Mother[5] for him, to the awful goddess unto whom, and unto Pan, before my door nightly the maidens move in dance and song.

Yet, O Hieron, if thou art skilled to apprehend the true meaning of sayings, thou hast learnt to know this from the men of old; The immortals deal to men two ill things for one good. The foolish cannot bear these with steadfastness but the good only, putting the fair side forward.

But thee a lot of happiness attendeth, for if on any man hath mighty Destiny looked favourably, surely it is on a chief and leader of a people.

A life untroubled abode not either with Peleus, son of Aiakos, or with godlike Kadmos: yet of all mortals these, they say, had highest bliss, who both erewhile listened to the singing of the Muses golden-filleted, the one in seven-gated Thebes, when he wedded large-eyed Harmonia, the other on the mountainside, when he took to him Thetis to be his wife, wise Nereus' glorious daughter. And with both of them gods sate at meat, and they beheld the sons of Kronos sitting as kings on thrones of gold, and they received from them gifts for their espousals; and by grace of Zeus they escaped out of their former toils and raised up their hearts to gladness.

Yet again in the after time the bitter anguish of those daughters[6] robbed Kadmos of a part of bliss: howbeit the Father Zeus came to white-armed Thyone's[7] longed-for couch.

And so did the son of Peleus whom Thetis bare at Phthia, her only son, die by an arrow in war, and moved the Danaoi to lament aloud, when his body was burning in fire.

Now if any by wisdom hath the way of truth he may yet lack good fortune, which cometh of the happy gods.

The blasts of soaring winds blow various ways at various times. Not for long cometh happiness to men, when it accompanieth them in exceeding weight.

Small will I be among the small, and great among the great. Whatever fortune follow me, I will work therewith, and wield it as my power shall suffice. If God should offer me wealth and ease, I have hope that I should first have won high honour to be in the times afar off.

Nestor and Lykian Sarpedon, who live in the speech of men, we know from tales of sounding song, built up by cunning builders.

By songs of glory hath virtue lasting life, but to achieve them is easy to but few.

[Footnote 1: Koronis.]

[Footnote 2: His father, Zeus.]

[Footnote 3: Some Asklepios or Apollo.]

[Footnote 4: Hieron's horse.]

[Footnote 5: Rhea or Kybele, the mother of the gods. 'Next door to Pindar's house was a temple of the mother of the gods and of Pan, which he had built himself.' Scholiast.]

[Footnote 6: Ino, Agaue, and Autonoe.]

[Footnote 7: Semele.]




* * * * *

Pindar has made this victory of Arkesilas, King of the Hellenic colony of Kyrene in Africa, an occasion for telling the story of Jason's expedition with the Argonauts. The ostensible reason for introducing the story is that Kyrene had been colonised from the island of Thera by the descendants of the Argonaut Euphemos, according to the prophecy of Medea related at the beginning of the ode. But Pindar had another reason. He wished to suggest an analogy between the relation of the Iolkian king Pelias to Jason and the relation of Arkesilas to his exiled kinsman Demophilos. Demophilos had been staying at Thebes, where Pindar wrote this ode, to be afterwards recited at Kyrene. It was written B.C. 466, when Pindar was fifty-six years of age, and is unsurpassed in his extant works, or indeed by anything of this kind in all poetry.

* * * * *

This day O Muse must thou tarry in a friend's house, the house of the king of Kyrene of goodly horses, that with Arkesilas at his triumph thou mayst swell the favourable gale of song, the due of Leto's children, and of Pytho. For at Pytho of old she who sitteth beside the eagles of Zeus—nor was Apollo absent then—the priestess, spake this oracle, that Battos should found a power in fruitful Libya, that straightway departing from the holy isle he might lay the foundations of a city of goodly chariots upon a white breast of the swelling earth, and might fulfil in the seventeenth generation the word of Medea spoken at Thera, which of old the passionate child of Aietes, queen of Colchians, breathed from immortal lips. For on this wise spake she to the warrior Jason's god-begotten crew: 'Hearken O sons of high-hearted mortals and of gods. Lo I say unto you that from this sea-lashed land the daughter[1] of Epaphos shall sometime be planted with a root to bring forth cities that shall possess the minds of men, where Zeus Ammon's shrine is builded.

And instead of short-finned dolphins they shall take to them fleet mares, and reins instead of oars shall they ply, and speed the whirlwind-footed car.

By that augury shall it come to pass that Thera shall be mother-city of mighty commonwealths, even the augury that once at the outpourings of the Tritonian lake Euphemos leaping from the prow took at the hands of a god who in the likeness of man tendered this present to the stranger of a clod of earth; and the Father Kronian Zeus confirmed it with a peal of thunder.

[2]What time he came suddenly upon them as they were hanging against the ship the bronze-fluked anchor, fleet Argo's bridle; for now for twelve days had we borne from Ocean over long backs of desert-land our sea-ship, after that by my counsel we drew it up upon the shore.

Then came to us the solitary god, having put on the splendid semblance of a noble man; and he began friendly speech, such as well-doers use when they bid new-comers to the feast.

But the plea of the sweet hope of home suffered us not to stay. Then he said that he was Eurypylos son of the earth-embracer, immortal Ennosides; and for that he was aware that we hasted to be gone, he straightway caught up of the chance earth at his feet a gift that he would fain bestow. Nor was the hero unheeding, but leaping on the shore and striking hand in hand he took to him the fateful clod.

But now I hear that it was washed down from the ship and departed into the sea with the salt spray of evening, following the watery deep. Yet verily often did I charge the labour-lightening servants that they should keep it safe, but they forgat: and now upon this island[3] is the imperishable seed of spacious Libya strown before the time appointed; for if the royal son[4] of Poseidon, lord of horses, whom Europa Tityos' child bare him on Kephisos' banks, had in his own home thrown it down beside the mouth of Hades'[5] gulf, then in the fourth generation of his sons his seed would have taken that wide continent of Libya, for then they would have gone forth from mighty Lakedaimon, and from the Argive gulf, and from Mykenai.

But now he shall in wedlock with a stranger-wife raise up a chosen seed, who coming to this island with worship of their gods shall beget one to be lord of the misty plains[6]. Him sometime shall Phoibos in his golden house admonish by oracles, when in the latter days he shall go down into the inner shrine at Pytho, to bring a host in ships to the rich Nile-garden of the son of Kronos[7].'

So ran Medea's rhythmic utterance, and motionless in silence the godlike heroes bowed their heads as they hearkened to the counsels of wisdom.

Thee, happy son[8] of Polymnestos, did the oracle of the Delphian bee[9] approve with call unasked to be the man whereof the word was spoken, for thrice she bid thee hail and declared thee by decree of fate Kyrene's king, what time thou enquiredst what help should be from heaven for thy labouring speech. And verily even now long afterward, as in the bloom of rosy-blossomed spring, in the eighth descent from Battos the leaf of Arkesilas is green. To him Apollo and Pytho have given glory in the chariot-race at the hands of the Amphiktyons: him will I commend to the Muses, and withal the tale of the all-golden fleece; for this it was the Minyai sailed to seek when the god-given glories of their race began.

What power first drave them in the beginning to the quest? What perilous enterprise clenched them with strong nails of adamant?

There was an oracle of God which said that Pelias should die by force or by stern counsels of the proud sons of Aiolos, and there had come to him a prophecy that froze his cunning heart, spoken at the central stone of tree-clad mother Earth, that by every means he should keep safe guard against the man of one sandal, whensoever from a homestead on the hills he shall have come to the sunny land of glorious Iolkos, whether a stranger or a citizen he be.

So in the fulness of time he came, wielding two spears, a wondrous man; and the vesture that was upon him was twofold, the garb of the Magnetes' country close fitting to his splendid limbs, but above he wore a leopard-skin to turn the hissing showers; nor were the bright locks of his hair shorn from him but over all his back ran rippling down. Swiftly he went straight on, and took his stand, making trial of his dauntless soul, in the marketplace when the multitude was full.

Him they knew not; howbeit some one looking reverently on him would speak on this wise: 'Not Apollo surely is this, nor yet Aphrodite's lord of the brazen car; yea and in glistening Naxos died ere now, they say, the children of Iphimedeia, Otos and thou, bold king Ephialtes: moreover Tityos was the quarry of Artemis' swift arrow sped from her invincible quiver, warning men to touch only the loves within their power.'

They answering each to each thus talked; but thereon with headlong haste of mules and polished car came Pelias; and he was astonied when he gazed on the plain sign of the single sandal on the right foot. But he dissembled his fear within his heart and said unto him, 'What land, O stranger, dost thou claim to be thy country, and who of earth-born mortals bare thee of her womb out of due time[10]? Tell me thy race and shame it not by hateful lies.'

And him with gentle words the other answered undismayed, 'I say to thee that I bear with me the wisdom of Cheiron, for from Chariklo and Philyra I come, from the cave where the Centaur's pure daughters reared me up, and now have I fulfilled twenty years among them without deceitful word or deed, and I am come home to seek the ancient honour of my father, held now in rule unlawful, which of old Zeus gave to the chief Aiolos and his children. For I hear that Pelias yielding lawlessly to evil thoughts hath robbed it from my fathers whose right it was from the beginning; for they, when first I looked upon the light, fearing the violence of an injurious lord, made counterfeit of a dark funeral in the house as though I were dead, and amid the wailing of women sent me forth secretly in purple swathing-bands, when none but Night might know the way we went, and gave me to Cheiron the son of Kronos to be reared.

But of these things the chief ye know. Now therefore kind citizens show me plainly the house of my fathers who drave white horses; for it shall hardly be said that a son of Aison, born in the land, is come hither to a strange and alien soil. And Jason was the name whereby the divine Beast[11] spake to me.'

Thus he said, and when he had entered in, the eyes of his father knew him; and from his aged eyelids gushed forth tears, for his soul was glad within him when he beheld his son, fairest of men and goodliest altogether.

Then came to him both brothers, when they heard that Jason was come home, Pheres from hard by, leaving the fountain Hypereis, and out of Messena Amythaon, and quickly came Admetos and Melampos to welcome home their cousin. And at a common feast with gracious words Jason received them and made them friendly cheer, culling for five long nights and days the sacred flower of joyous life.

But on the sixth day he began grave speech, and set the whole matter before his kinsmen from the beginning, and they were of one mind with him.

Then quickly he rose up with them from their couches, and they came to Pelias' hall, and they made haste and entered and stood within.

And when he heard them the king himself came forth to them, even the son of Tyro of the lovely hair. Then Jason with gentle voice opened on him the stream of his soft speech, and laid foundation of wise words: 'Son of Poseidon of the Rock, too ready are the minds of mortal men to choose a guileful gain rather than righteousness, howbeit they travel ever to a stern reckoning. But thee and me it behoveth to give law to our desires, and to devise weal for the time to come. Though thou knowest it yet will I tell thee, how that the same mother bare Kretheus and rash Salmoneus, and in the third generation we again were begotten and look upon the strength of the golden sun. Now if there be enmity between kin, the Fates stand aloof and would fain hide the shame. Not with bronze-edged swords nor with javelins doth it beseem us twain to divide our forefathers' great honour, nor needeth it, for lo! all sheep and tawny herds of kine I yield, and all the lands whereon thou feedest them, the spoil of my sires wherewith thou makest fat thy wealth. That these things furnish forth thy house moveth me not greatly; but for the kingly sceptre and throne whereon the son of Kretheus sate of old and dealt justice to his chivalry, these without wrath between us yield to me, lest some new evil arise up therefrom.'

Thus he spake, and mildly also did Pelias make reply: 'I will be even as thou wilt, but now the sere of life alone remaineth to me, whereas the flower of thy youth is but just burgeoning; thou art able to take away the sin that maketh the powers beneath the earth wroth with us: for Phrixos biddeth us lay his ghost, and that we go to the house of Aietes, and bring thence the thick-fleeced hide of the ram, whereby of old he was delivered from the deep and from the impious weapons of his stepmother. This message cometh to me in the voice of a strange dream: also I have sent to ask of the oracle at Kastalia whether it be worth the quest, and the oracle chargeth me straightway to send a ship on the sacred mission. This deed do thou offer me to do, and I swear to give thee up the sway and kingly rule. Let Zeus the ancestral god of thee and me be witness of my oath and stablish it surely in thine eyes.'

So they made this covenant and parted; but Jason straightway bade heralds to make known everywhere that a sailing was toward. And quickly came three sons of Zeus, men unwearied in battle, whose mothers were Alkmene and Leto of the glancing eyes[12], and two tall-crested men of valour, children of the Earth-shaker, whose honour was perfect as their might, from Pylos and from farthest Tainaros: hereby was the excellence of their fame established—even Euphemos' fame, and thine, wide-ruling Periklymenos. And at Apollo's bidding came the minstrel father of song, Orpheus of fair renown.

And Hermes of the golden staff sent two sons to the toilsome task, Echion and Eurytos in the joy of their youth; swiftly they came, even from their dwelling at the foot of Pangaios: and willingly and with glad heart their father Boreas, king of winds, harnessed Zetes and Kalais, men both with bright wings shooting from their backs. For Hera kindled within those sons of gods the all-persuading sweet desire for the ship Argo, that none should be left behind and stay by his mother's side in savourless and riskless life, but each, even were death the price, achieve in company with his peers a magic potency of his valour.

Now when that goodly crew were come to Iolkos, Jason mustered them with thanks to each, and the seer Mopsos prophesied by omens and by sacred lots, and with good will sped the host on board.

And when they had hung the anchors over the prow, then their chief taking in his hands a golden goblet stood up upon the stern and called on Zeus whose spear is the lightning, and on the rush of waves and winds and the nights and paths of the deep, to speed them quickly over, and for days of cheer and friendly fortune of return. And from the clouds a favourable voice of thunder pealed in answer; and there came bright lightning flashes bursting through.

Then the heroes took heart in obedience to the heavenly signs; and the seer bade them strike into the water with their oars, while he spake to them of happy hopes; and in their rapid hands the rowing sped untiringly.

And with breezes of the South they came wafted to the mouth of the Axine sea; there they founded a shrine and sacred close of Poseidon, god of seas, where was a red herd of Thracian bulls, and a new-built altar of stone with hollow top[13].

Then as they set forth toward an exceeding peril they prayed the lord of ships that they might shun the terrible shock of the clashing rocks: for they were twain that had life, and plunged along more swiftly than the legions of the bellowing winds; but that travel of the seed of gods made end of them at last[14].

After that they came to the Phasis; there they fought with dark-faced Kolchians even in the presence of Aietes. And there the queen of keenest darts, the Cyprus-born, first brought to men from Olympus the frenzied bird, the speckled wry-neck[15], binding it to a four-spoked wheel without deliverance, and taught the son of Aison to be wise in prayers and charms, that he might make Medea take no thought to honour her parents, and longing for Hellas might drive her by persuasion's lash, her heart afire with love.

Then speedily she showed him the accomplishment of the tasks her father set, and mixing drugs with oil gave him for his anointment antidotes of cruel pain, and they vowed to be joined together in sweet wedlock.

But when Aietes had set in the midst a plough of adamant, and oxen that from tawny jaws breathed flame of blazing fire, and with bronze hoofs smote the earth in alternate steps, and had led them and yoked them single-handed, he marked out in a line straight furrows, and for a fathom's length clave the back of the loamy earth; then he spake thus: 'This work let your king, whosoever he be that hath command of the ship, accomplish me, and then let him bear away with him the imperishable coverlet, the fleece glittering with tufts of gold.'

He said, and Jason flung off from him his saffron mantle, and putting his trust in God betook himself to the work; and the fire made him not to shrink, for that he had had heed to the bidding of the stranger maiden skilled in all pharmacy. So he drew to him the plough and made fast by force the bulls' necks in the harness, and plunged the wounding goad into the bulk of their huge sides, and with manful strain fulfilled the measure of his work. And a cry without speech came from Aietes in his agony, at the marvel of the power he beheld.

Then to the strong man his comrades stretched forth their hands, and crowned him with green wreaths, and greeted him with gracious words. And thereupon the wondrous son[16] of Helios told him in what place the knife of Phrixos had stretched the shining fell; yet he trusted that this labour at least should never be accomplished by him. For it lay in a thick wood and grasped by a terrible dragon's jaws, and he in length and thickness was larger than their ship of fifty oars, which the iron's blows had welded.

Long were it for me to go by the beaten track, for the time is nigh out, and I know a certain short path, and many others look to me for skill. The glaring speckled dragon, O Arkesilas, he slew by subtlety, and by her own aid he stole away Medea, the murderess of Pelias. And they went down into the deep of Ocean and into the Red Sea, and to the Lemnian race of husbandslaying wives; there also they had games and wrestled for a prize of vesture, and lay with the women of the land.

And then it was that in a stranger womb, by night or day, the fateful seed was sown of the bright fortune of thy race. For there began the generations of Euphemos, which should be thenceforth without end. And in time mingling among the homes of Lakedaimonian men they made their dwelling in the isle that once was Kalliste[17]: and thence the son of Leto gave thy race the Libyan plain to till it and to do honour therein to your gods, and to rule the divine city of golden-throned Kyrene with devising of the counsels of truth.

Now hearken to a wise saying even as the wisdom of Oedipus. If one with sharp axe lop the boughs of a great oak and mar the glorious form, even in the perishing of the fruit thereof it yet giveth token of that it was; whether at the last it come even to the winter fire, or whether with upright pillars in a master's house it stand, to serve drear service within alien walls, and the place thereof knoweth it no more[18].

But thou art a physician most timely, and the god of healing maketh thy light burn brightly. A gentle hand must thou set to a festering wound. It is a small thing even for a slight man to shake a city, but to set it firm again in its place this is hard struggle indeed, unless with sudden aid God guide the ruler's hand. For thee are prepared the thanks which these deeds win. Be strong to serve with all thy might Kyrene's goodly destiny.

And of Homer's words take this to ponder in thy heart: Of a good messenger, he saith, cometh great honour to every deed. Even to the Muse is right messengership a gain. Now good cause have Kyrene and the glorious house of Battos to know the righteous mind of Demophilos. For he was a boy with boys, yet in counsels an old man of a hundred years: and the evil tongue he robbeth of its loud voice, and hath learnt to abhor the insolent, neither will he make strife against the good, nor tarry when he hath a deed in hand. For a brief span hath opportunity for men, but of him it is known surely when it cometh, and he waiteth thereon a servant but no slave.

Now this they say is of all griefs the sorest, that one knowing good should of necessity abide without lot therein. Yea thus doth Atlas struggle now against the burden of the firmament, far from his native land and his possessions. Yet the Titans were set free by immortal Zeus. As time runneth on the breeze abateth and there are shiftings of the sails. And he hath hope that when he shall have endured to the end his grievous plague he shall see once more his home, and at Apollo's fountain[19] joining in the feast give his soul to rejoice in her youth, and amid citizens who love his art, playing on his carven lute, shall enter upon peace, hurting and hurt of none. Then shall he tell how fair a fountain of immortal verse he made to flow for Arkesilas, when of late he was the guest of Thebes.

[Footnote 1: Libya. Epaphos was son of Zeus by Io.]

[Footnote 2: This incident happened during the wanderings of the Argonauts on their return with the Golden Fleece from Kolchis to Iolkos.]

[Footnote 3: Thera.]

[Footnote 4: Euphemos.]

[Footnote 5: At Tainaros there was a cave supposed to be a mouth of Hades.]

[Footnote 6: Of Libya.]

[Footnote 7: The purport of this is: If Euphemos had taken the clod safely home to Tainaros in Lakonia, then his great-grandsons with emigrants from other Peloponnesian powers would have planted a colony in Libya. But since the clod had fallen into the sea and would be washed up on the shore of the island of Thera, it was necessary that Euphemos' descendants should first colonize Thera, and then, but not till the seventeenth generation, proceed, under Battos, to found the colony of Kyrene in Libya.]

[Footnote 8: Battos.]

[Footnote 9: The priestess.]

[Footnote 10: The epithet [Greek: polias] is impossible to explain satisfactorily. It has been suggested to me by Professor S.H. Butcher, that [Greek: chamaigenaes] may have been equivalent to [Greek: gaegenaes] and that Pelias may thus mean, half ironically, to imply that Jason's stature, garb and mien, as well as his mysteriously sudden appearance, argue him a son of one of the ancient giants who had been seen of old among men.]

[Footnote 11: The Kentaur Cheiron.]

[Footnote 12: I. e. one son of Zeus and Alkmene, Herakles, and two sons of Zeus and Leto, Kastor and Polydeukes.]

[Footnote 13: For the blood of the victims.]

[Footnote 14: The Symplegades having failed to crush the ship Argo between them were themselves destroyed by the shock of their encounter with each other. Probably a tradition of icebergs survived in this story.]

[Footnote 15: Used as a love-charm.]

[Footnote 16: Aietes.]

[Footnote 17: Thera.]

[Footnote 18: In this parable the oak is the state, the boughs its best men, the fire and the alien house destruction and servitude.]

[Footnote 19: The fountain Kyra in the heart of the city Kyrene.]




* * * * *

This ode celebrates the same victory as the foregoing. It would seem that the chariot had been consecrated to Apollo and left in the temple at Delphi, but the horses were brought home to Kyrene and led in procession through the sacred street of Apollo, with their charioteer Karrhotos, brother of Arkesilas' wife.

* * * * *

Wide-reaching is the power of wealth, whensoever a mortal man hath received it at the hands of Fate with pure virtue mingled, and bringeth it to his home, a follower that winneth him many friends. Arkesilas, thou favourite of the gods, thou verily seekest after it with good report from the first steps of thy glorious life, with aid of Kastor of the golden car, who after the wintry storm hath shed bright calm about thy happy hearth[1].

Now the wise bear better the power that is given of God. And thou walkest in righteousness amid thy prosperity which is now great; first, for that thou art king of mighty cities, thy inborn virtue hath brought this majestic honour to thy soul, and again thou art now blessed in that from the famous Pythian games thou hast won glory by thy steeds, and hast received this triumphal song of men, Apollo's joy.

Therefore forget not, while at Kyrene round Aphrodite's pleasant garden thy praise is sung, to set God above every other as the cause thereof: also love thou Karrhotos[2] chiefest of thy friends; who hath not brought with him Excuse the daughter of late-considering Afterthought back to the house of the just-ruling sons of Battos; but beside the waters of Kastalia a welcomed guest he crowned thy hair with the crown of the conquering car, for the reins were safe[3] in his hands throughout the twelve swift turns along the sacred course.

Of the strong harness brake he no whit: but there is hung up[4] all that cunning work of the artificers that he brought with him when he passed over the Krisaian hill to the plain within the valley of the god: therefore now the chamber of cypress-wood possesseth it, hard by the statue which the bow-bearing Kretans dedicated in the Parnassian shrine, the natural image in one block[5]. Therefore with eager heart it behoveth thee to go forth to meet him who hath done thee this good service.

Thee also, son[6] of Alexibios, the Charites of lovely hair make glorious. Blessed art thou for that after much toil thou hast a monument of noble words. Among forty charioteers who fell[7] thou didst with soul undaunted bring thy car unhurt, and hast now come back from the glorious games unto the plain of Libya and the city of thy sires.

Without lot in trouble hath there been never any yet, neither shall be: yet still the ancient bliss of Battos followeth the race, albeit with various fortune; a bulwark is it to the city, and to strangers a most welcome light.

From Battos even deep-voiced lions[8] fled in fear when he uttered before them a voice from overseas: for the captain and founder Apollo gave the beasts over to dire terror, that he might not be false to his oracles which he had delivered to the ruler of Kyrene.

Apollo it is who imparteth unto men and women cures for sore maladies, and hath bestowed on them the lute, and giveth the Muse to whomsoever he will, bringing into their hearts fair order of peace; and inhabiteth the secret place of his oracles; whereby at Lakedaimon and at Argos and at sacred Pylos he made to dwell the valiant sons of Herakles and Aigimios[9].

From Sparta they say came my own dear famous race[10]: thence sprang the sons of Aigeus who came to Thera, my ancestors, not without help of God; but a certain destiny brought thither a feast of much sacrifice[11], and thence receiving, O Apollo, thy Karneia we honour at the banquet the fair-built city of Kyrene, which the spear-loving strangers haunt[12], the Trojan seed of Antenor. For with Helen they came thither after they had seen their native city smoking in the fires of war.

And now to that chivalrous race do the men whom Aristoteles[13] brought, opening with swift ships a track through the deep sea, give greeting piously, and draw nigh to them with sacrifice and gifts.

He also planted greater groves of gods, and made a paved road[14] cut straight over the plain, to be smitten with horsehoofs in processions that beseech Apollo's guardianship for men; and there at the end of the market-place he lieth apart in death. Blessed was he while he dwelt among men, and since his death the people worship him as their hero.

And apart from him before their palace lie other sacred kings that have their lot with Hades; and even now perchance they hear, with such heed as remaineth to the dead, of this great deed sprinkled with kindly dew of outpoured song triumphal, whence have they bliss in common with their son Arkesilas unto whom it falleth due.

Him it behoveth by the song of the young men to celebrate Phoibos of the golden sword, seeing that from Pytho he hath won a recompense of his cost in this glad strain of glorious victory.

Of him the wise speak well: I but repeat their words saying that he cherisheth understanding above his years, that in eloquent speech and boldness he is as the wide-winged eagle among birds, and his strength in combat like a tower. And he hath wings to soar with the Muses, as his mother before him, and now hath he proved him a cunning charioteer: and by all ways that lead to honour at home hath he adventured.

As now the favour of God perfecteth his might, so for the time to come, blest children of Kronos, grant him to keep it in counsel and in deed, that never at any time the wintry blast of the late autumn winds[15] sweep him away. Surely the mighty mind of Zeus guideth the destiny of the men he loveth. I pray that to the seed of Battos he may at Olympia grant a like renown.

[Footnote 1: Kastor was not only a patron of charioteers, but also, with his twin-brother Polydeukes, a protector of mariners and giver of fair weather.]

[Footnote 2: The charioteer.]

[Footnote 3: I. e. well-handled and un-broken in the sharp turns round the goal.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. in Apollo's temple at Delphi.]

[Footnote 5: This would seem to have been a piece of wood growing naturally in the form of a man.]

[Footnote 6: Karrhotos.]

[Footnote 7: This seems great havoc among the starters. Probably besides the forty who fell there were others who were not actually upset but yet did not win. No doubt the race must have been run in heats, but these must still have been crowded enough to make the crush at the turns exceedingly dangerous.]

[Footnote 8: Pausanias says that Battos, the founder of Kyrene, was dumb when he went to Africa, but that on suddenly meeting a lion the fright gave him utterance. According to Pindar the lions seem to have been still more alarmed, being startled by Battos' foreign accent.]

[Footnote 9: The Dorians.]

[Footnote 10: There were Aigidai at Sparta and Spartan colonies, of which Kyrene was one, and also at Thebes: to the latter branch of the family Pindar belonged.]

[Footnote 11: The Karneia, a Dorian feast of which we hear often in history.]

[Footnote 12: These Trojan refugees were supposed to have anciently settled on the site where Kyrene was afterwards built. Battos (or Aristoteles) and his new settlers honoured the dead Trojans as tutelar heroes of the spot.]

[Footnote 13: Battos.]

[Footnote 14: The sacred street of Apollo, along which the procession moved which sang this ode. The pavement, and the tombs cut in the rock on each side are still to be seen, or at least were in 1817, when the Italian traveller Della Cella visited the place. Boeckh quotes from his Viaggio da Tripoli di Barberia alle frontiere occedentali dell' Egitto, p. 139: 'Oggi ho passeggiato in una delle strade (di Cirene) che serba ancora Papparenza di essere stata fra le piu cospicue. Non solo e tutta intagliata nel vivo sasso, ma a due lati e fiancheggiata da lunga fila di tombe quadrate di dieci circa piedi di altezza, anch' esse tutte d'un pezzo scavate nella roccia.']

[Footnote 15: I. e., probably, calamity in old age.]




* * * * *

This victory was won B.C. 494, when Pindar was twenty-eight years old, and the ode was probably written to be sung at Delphi immediately on the event. Thus, next to the tenth Pythian, written eight years before, this is the earliest of Pindar's poems that remains to us.

Xenokrates was a son of Ainesidamos and brother of Theron. The second Isthmian is also in his honour.

* * * * *

Hearken! for once more we plough the field[1] of Aphrodite of the glancing eyes, or of the Graces call it if you will, in this our pilgrimage to the everlasting centre-stone of deep-murmuring[2] earth.

For there for the blissful Emmenidai, and for Akragas by the riverside, and chiefliest for Xenokrates, is builded a ready treasure of song within the valley of Apollo rich in golden gifts.

That treasure of his shall neither wind nor wintry rain-storm coming from strange lands, as a fierce host born of the thunderous cloud, carry into the hiding places of the sea, to be beaten by the all-sweeping drift:

But in clear light its front shall give tidings of a victory won in Krisa's dells, glorious in the speech of men to thy father Thrasyboulos, and to all his kin with him.

Thou verily in that thou settest him ever at thy right hand cherishest the charge which once upon the mountains they say the son[3] of Philyra gave to him of exceeding might, even to the son of Peleas, when he had lost his sire: first that of all gods he most reverence Kronos' son, the deep-voiced lord of lightnings and of thunders, and then that he never rob of like honour a parent's spell of life.

Also of old time had mighty Antilochos this mind within him, who died for his father's sake, when he abode the murderous onset of Memnon, the leader of the Ethiop hosts.

For Nestor's chariot was stayed by a horse that was stricken of the arrows of Paris, and Memnon made at him with his mighty spear. Then the heart of the old man of Messene was troubled, and he cried unto his son; nor wasted he his words in vain; in his place stood up the godlike man and bought his father's flight by his own death. So by the young men of that ancient time he was deemed to have wrought a mighty deed, and in succouring of parents to be supreme.

These things are of the past; but of men that now are Thrasyboulos hath come nearest to our fathers' gauge. And following his uncle also he hath made glory to appear for him; and with wisdom doth he handle wealth, neither gathereth the fruit of an unrighteous or overweening youth, but rather of knowledge amid the secret places of the Pierides. And to thee, Earthshaker, who didst devise ventures of steeds, with right glad heart he draweth nigh. Sweet is his spirit toward the company of his guests, yea sweeter than the honeycomb, the toil of bees.

[Footnote 1: The field of poesy.]

[Footnote 2: An epithet appropriate to volcanic soils.]

[Footnote 3: Cheiron.]




* * * * *

Megakles won this victory B.C. 490, the year of the battle of Marathon. He was a member of the great house of the Alkmaionidai, to which Kleisthenes and Perikles belonged. Megakles was a frequent name in the family: this Megakles was probably the nephew, possibly the son, of Kleisthenes.

* * * * *

Fairest of preludes is the great name of Athens to whosoever will lay foundation of songs for the mighty race of Alkmaionidai and for their steeds. What country, what house among all lands shall I name more glorious throughout Hellas?

For unto all cities is the fame familiar of the citizens of Erechtheus, who at divine Pytho have wrought thee, O Apollo, a glorious house[1].

And I hereto am led by victories, at Isthmos five, and one pre-eminent, won at Olympia at the feast of Zeus, and two at Kirrha, which thou, O Megakles, and thy sire have won.

Now at this new good fortune I rejoice; yet somewhat also I grieve, even to behold how envy requiteth noble deeds[2]. Yet thus ever, they say, must fair hap abiding with a man engender bad with good.

[Footnote 1: The Alkmainodai had lately been spending large sums on the rebuilding of Apollo's temple at Delphi.]

[Footnote 2: Megakles was twice ostracized.]




* * * * *

The precise date of this ode is uncertain, but there is strong internal evidence of its having been written soon after the battle of Salamis, after which, as is well known, the [Greek: aristeia] or first honours for valour, were awarded to Aigina. The insolence of the barbarian despot seems to be symbolized by that of the giants Typhon and Porphyrion.

The ode was apparently to be sung on the winner's return to Aigina. No less than eleven of the extant odes were written for winners from that island.

* * * * *

O kindly Peace, daughter of Righteousness, thou that makest cities great, and boldest the supreme keys of counsels and of wars, welcome thou this honour to Aristomenes, won in the Pythian games.

Thou knowest how alike to give and take gentleness in due season: thou also, if any have moved thy heart unto relentless wrath, dost terribly confront the enemy's might, and sinkest Insolence in the sea.

Thus did Porphyrion provoke thee unaware. Now precious is the gain that one beareth away from the house of a willing giver. But violence shall ruin a man at the last, boast he never so loudly. He of Kilikia, Typhon of the hundred heads, escaped not this, neither yet the king of giants[1]: but by the thunderbolt they fell and by the bow of Apollo, who with kind intent hath welcomed Xenarches home from Kirrha, crowned with Parnassian wreaths and Dorian song.

Not far from the Graces' ken falleth the lot of this righteous island-commonwealth, that hath attained unto the glorious deeds of the sons of Aiakos[2]: from the beginning is her fame perfect, for she is sung of as the nurse of heroes foremost in many games and in violent fights: and in her mortal men also is she pre-eminent.

But my time faileth me to offer her all I might tell at length by lute and softer voice of man, so that satiety vex not.

So let that which lieth in my path, my debt to thee, O boy, the youngest of thy country's glories, run on apace, winged by my art.

For in wrestlings thou art following the footsteps of thy uncles, and shamest neither Theognetos at Olympia, nor the victory that at Isthmos was won by Kleitomachos' stalwart limbs.

And in that thou makest great the clan of the Midylidai thou attainest unto the very praise which on a time the son of Oikleus spake in a riddle, when he saw at seven-gated Thebes the sons of the Seven standing to their spears, what time from Argos came the second race on their new enterprise[3]. Thus spake he while they fought: 'By nature, son, the noble temper of thy sires shineth forth in thee. I see clearly the speckled dragon that Alkmaion weareth on his bright shield, foremost at the Kadmean gates.

And he who in the former fight fared ill, hero Adrastos, is now endowed with tidings of a better omen. Yet in his own house his fortune shall be contrariwise: for he alone of all the Danaan host, after that he shall have gathered up the bones of his dead son, shall by favour of the gods come back with unharmed folk to the wide streets of Abas[4].'

On this wise spake Amphiaraos. Yea and with joy I too myself throw garlands on Alkmaion's grave, and shower it withal with songs, for that being my neighbour and guardian of my possessions[5] he met me as I went up to the earth's centre-stone, renowned in song, and showed forth the gift of prophecy which belongeth unto his house[6].

But thou, far-darter, ruler of the glorious temple whereto all men go up, amid the glens of Pytho didst there grant this the greatest of joys: and at home before didst thou bring to him at the season of thy feast the keen-sought prize of the pentathlon. My king, with willing heart I make avowal that through thee is harmony before mine eyes in all that I sing of every conqueror.

By the side of our sweet-voiced song of triumph hath Righteousness taken her stand, and I pray, O Xenarches[7], that the favour of God be unfailing toward the fortune of thee and thine. For if one hath good things to his lot without long toil, to many he seemeth therefore to be wise among fools and to be crowning his life by right devising of the means. But these things lie not with men: it is God that ordereth them, who setteth up one and putteth down another, so that he is bound beneath the hands of the adversary.

Now at Megara also hast thou won a prize, and in secluded Marathon, and in the games of Hera in thine own land, three times, Aristomenes, hast thou overcome.

And now on the bodies of four others[8] hast thou hurled thyself with fierce intent, to whom the Pythian feast might not award, as unto thee, the glad return, nor the sweet smile that welcometh thee to thy mother's side; nay but by secret ways they shrink from meeting their enemies, stricken down by their evil hap.

Now he that hath lately won glory in the time of his sweet youth is lifted on the wings of his strong hope and soaring valour, for his thoughts are above riches.

In a little moment groweth up the delight of men; yea and in like sort falleth it to the ground, when a doom adverse hath shaken it.

Things of a day—what are we, and what not? Man is a dream of shadows.

Nevertheless when a glory from God hath shined on them, a clear light abideth upon men, and serene life.

Aigina[9], mother dear, this city in her march among the free, with Zeus and lordly Aiakos, with Peleus and valiant Telamon and with Achilles, guard thou well.

[Footnote 1: Porphyrion.]

[Footnote 2: Aiakos and his descendants, especially Aias, were the chief national heroes of Aigina.]

[Footnote 3: It seems doubtful what this legend exactly was. Either Amphiaraos, during the attack of the first Seven against Thebes, saw by prophetic vision the future battle of the second Seven, the Epigonoi, among whom were his own son Alkmaion, and Adrastos, the sole survivor of the first Seven; or else these are the words of his oracle after his death, spoken when the battle of the Epigonoi had begun but was not yet ended.]

[Footnote 4: Abas was an ancient king of Argos.]

[Footnote 5: Probably there was a shrine of Alkmaion near Pindar's house at Thebes, so that he considered his household to be under the hero's protection: perhaps he had deposited money in the shrine, for temples were often used as treasuries.]

[Footnote 6: Probably in some vision seen by Pindar on his journey to Delphi.]

[Footnote 7: Father of Aristomenes.]

[Footnote 8: His competitors in four ties of the wrestling-match.]

[Footnote 9: The nymph, protectress of the island.]




* * * * *

The Hellenic heavy-armed soldier was often called upon to advance at a run, as for instance in the charge at Marathon. With a view no doubt to such occasions this race in full armour had been instituted at Pytho in 498, and in 478 it was won by Telesikrates. The ode was probably sung in a procession at Thebes, before Telesikrates had gone back to Kyrene, but the legends related are mainly connected with Kyrene. Probably the commentators are right in supposing that Telesikrates was to take home with him a bride from the mother-country, a fact which makes the legends told specially appropriate.

* * * * *

I have desire to proclaim with aid of the deep-vested Graces a victory at Pytho of Telesikrates bearing the shield of bronze, and to speak aloud his name, for his fair fortune and the glory wherewith he hath crowned Kyrene, city of charioteers.

Kyrene[1] once from Pelion's wind-echoing dells Leto's son, the flowing-haired, caught up and in a golden car bore away the huntress-maiden to the place where he made her queen of a land rich in flocks, yea richest of all lands in the fruits of the field, that her home might be the third part[2] of the mainland of earth, a stock that should bear lovely bloom. And silver-foot Aphrodite awaited the Delian stranger issuing from his car divine, and lightly laid on him her hand: then over their sweet bridal-bed she cast the loveliness of maiden shame, and in a common wedlock joined the god and the daughter of wide-ruling Hypseus, who then was king of the haughty Lapithai, a hero whose father's father was the Ocean-god—for amid the famous mountain-dells of Pindos the Naiad Kreuesa bare him after she had delight in the bed of Peneus, Kreuesa, daughter of Earth.

Now the child he reared was Kyrene of the lovely arms: She was not one who loved the pacings to and fro before the loom, neither the delights of feastings with her fellows within the house, but with bronze javelins and a sword she fought against and slew wild beasts of prey; yea and much peace and sure she gave thereby to her father's herds, but for sleep, the sharer of her bed, short spent she it and sweet, descending on her eyelids as the dawn drew near.

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