JuneBridals black cocktail party wears with lace

messages from the Library : Ode 3, 6

THE ODES OF PINDAR

Of the translations in this collection, the First,
Third, Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Pythians
have been previously published under the title
Some Odes of Pindar ("The Poet of the Month"
[Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1942]).

The University of Chicago Press Chicago 37
Agent: Cambridge University Press London

Copyright 1947 by The University of Chicago. All rights
reserved. Published 1947. Composed and printed by The
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

A NOTE ON PINDAR AND HIS POETRY

CONCERNING the life of Pindar we can be sure
only of the bare outlines, together with certain gen-
eral facts. There is no sound biographical tradition
for his period. It will perhaps be best to ignore anecdotes,
guesses, and combinations which cannot be confirmed and
to state briefly what seems to be established. Pindar was
born a citizen of Thebes, the chief city of the Boiotian con-
federacy, in 518 B.C. The date of his death is uncertain; but
the last work of his for which we have a date (though not a
very secure one) is the Eighth Pythian, written probably in
446 B.C. At all events, he lived to an advanced age. We know
further that he was of aristocratic birth and heir to certain
priestly offices of the sort highly prized by the Greek nobility.
In spite of his high rank, he plainly did not consider himself
wealthy; but the simple list of his contracts indicates that
he was a professional poet of great repute, and as such he
must have earned a great deal. The rest of his biography
must be pieced out from the contents and implications of his
poems, many of which are dated.

" Pindar lived through a period of crucial change in Greek
history. His life is bisected by the great Persian invasion of
480-479 B.C., a war in which Thebes, split within by factional
rivalries, played a difficult and unhappy part. Against the
forces of Xerxes, the combined Greek command chose to
defend central Greece by holding the mountain pass of Ther-
mopylai and the sea pass of Artemision. The Persians forced
them to give up both positions. Theban soldiers had fought
beside Leonidas at Thermopylai badly, according to Herod-
otos, but he is prejudiced and may be wrong. In any case,
when the Greek armies fell back on the Isthmos of Korinth

and the fleet on Salamis, Boigtia and all other states to the
north were left open to the enemy; nor had the Thebans the
opportunity, as did the Athenians, to evacuate their popula-
tion by sea. Thebes gave in, the city was in the hands of the
Persians and Persian sympathizers, and the Persian general,
Mardonios, made it his base of operations. At Plataia, where
the invaders were finally defeated and forced to withdraw, a
Theban contingent fought on the Persian side. What part, if
any, Pindar played in all this is not known; but for some
years after Plataia he was a citizen of a dishonored state.
Parallels from modern wars are only too obvious, and it
should be understandable that a certain bitterness over this
defeat and betrayal and over the attitude of more fortunate
states with better war records remained with Pindar. Of the
cities which fought the Persian, Athens in particular emerged
from the struggle with greatly augmented prestige and
strength. Pindar is said to have studied at Athens and un-
doubtedly had many friends there; but his openly avowed
admiration for Athenian achievement must have been tem-
pered with resentment even before, in or about 457 B.C., the
Athenians temporarily forced Thebes into the position of a
subordinate ally.

As a professional poet, Pindar traveled much, and his ac-
quaintance was singularly wide. His poems (including the
fragments) show connections in all the leading Greek states
of his day and with many small cities as well. Among these-
external relations there are several which are of particular
importance. He wrote several poems in honor of Hieron,
tyrant (that is, dictator) of Syracuse in Sicily, and considered
that cruel, but gifted and successful, ruler to be his friend. In
Greek history aristocrats are seldom found on the side of
tyrants; but Pindar thought he saw in Hieron a champion
of Greek civilization against the dark forces of barbarism
(Pyth. 1) and a ruler intelligent enough to use his vast power
toward ultimate good. Pindar himself visited Sicily, and his
works show acquaintance with other prominent Sicilians,

VI

including Theron, tyrant of Akragas, and, in particular,
Theron's nephew, Thrasyboulos.

Another important external connection is Pindar's friend-
ship with various noble families in Aigina, a Dorian island-
state across the water from Athens. The friendship between
Thebes and Aigina was close, and in legend the nymphs
Thebe and Aigina were said to be sisters. Pindar wrote eleven
odes for Aiginetan victors almost one-fourth of the total
number and did not weary of singing the praises of their
special heroes, the Aiakidai, or sons of Aiakos, namely,
Peleus and Telamon, with their sons, Achilleus and Aias
(Ajax). The Aiginetans, famous seafarers who distinguished
themselves at Salamis, were also victims of Athenian im-
perialism (their state was "liquidated" by Athens during the
Peloponnesian War), and it is tempting to see in Pythia 8
a protest against the pretensions of the Athenian democracy
led by Perikles. Yet, if this is true, too many conclusions con-
cerning Pindar's political views should not be recklessly
drawn. Despite certain aristocratic prejudices, he belonged
(apparently) to no faction; when he speaks of states, he gen-
erally speaks only to praise; and he considers himself to be
in sympathy with all intelligent and well-meaning men,
whatever their city (Pyth. 1, 2, 11).

Of Pindar's works, only the epinician, or victory, odes have
survived intact, although numerous fragments show that
he wrote much besides. The victory ode commemorates the
success of a winner in the "games" or athletic meets held at
regular intervals from very early times down to the Roman
period. There were four great games : the Olympian, at Pisa
in Elis, sacred to Zeus; the Pythian, at Pytho (Delphoi),
sacred to Apollo; the Nemean, at Nemea in the Peloponnese,
sacred to Zeus; and the Isthmian, at the Isthmos of Korinth,
sacred to Poseidon. Of these, the Olympian games were the
oldest and most honorable. In addition, there were numerous
local games, in which success brought minor, but consider-
able, acclaim; many of these are named in poems for famous

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champions, such as Diagoras of Rhodes (Ol. 7) or Xcnophon
of Korinth (Ol. 13). The events included races for four-horse
chariot, mule chariot, and single (ridden) horse; foot races at
various distances; contests in boxing, wrestling, and pankra-
tion (a combination of the two) ; and the pentathlon, a com-
plex event which involved racing, jumping, throwing the
discus and javelin, and wrestling. It must be understood that
in all horse and chariot races the "victor" was the person who
entered horse or team; he was not required to ride or drive
in person.

Pindar's peculiar excellence seems to have lain in the
composition of victory odes; they may well have been his
favorite form. The modern reader will always wonder why.
There are several considerations. In the first place, the games
were occasions of high sanctity, held in holy places, and pro-
tected by a truce of God, invoked to secure free competition;
it will be seen that every epinician ode wears, in one place or
another, the attributes of a hymn. Further, success meant a
demonstration of wealth and power (particularly in the
chariot races) or of superb physical prowess, shown through
peaceful and harmless means. The very uselessness of these
triumphs, which aroused the contemptuous anger of Xe-
nophanes and Euripides, attracted Pindar. A victory meant
that time, expense, and hard work had been lavished on an
achievement which brought no calculable advantage, only
honor and beauty. This may sound somewhat romantic, but
competition symbolized an idea of nobility which meant
much to Pindar; and in the exaltation of victory he seems
sometimes to see a kind of transfiguration, briefly making
radiant a world which most of the time seemed, to him as to
his contemporaries, dark and brutal.

The occasion and circumstances of the ode must have been
somewhat as follows: When a victory was won, the victor
(or his family or some wealthy friend) commissioned the
poet to write the commemorative ode. When this was com-
plete, a choir of men or boys (probably amateurs and friends

vm

of the victor) was trained to sing it. The true presentation of
the ode was, then, a performance, privately given for the
victor and his friends sometime after the event. Pindar him-
self was not always present at the performance, nor did he
always train the choir. In commissioning, some sort of agree-
ment or contract was made. This contract may often have
concerned not only the poet's fee but also various matters
which the person who paid for the ode desired to have in-
cluded, such as, for instance, mythical allusions to be made
or details concerning the victor or his family. Thus, when we
find Pindar being rather tediously exact about the exploits
of brothers, uncles, cousins, or remote ancestors of his hero,
we must remember that all this may have been stipulated in
the contract. At other times he was doubtless given a free
hand.

Concerning the form of the ode, there has been much dis-
cussion. This is not the place for me to set forth a thesis or to
defend one in detail; I shall simply state what I take to be
the general principles of composition. The poet had before
him certain matters which must be included; the name of
the victor, the place of the victory with some allusion to the
protective deity of the place, one or more stories or episodes
from heroic legend (in all but very short odes), and any
further elaboration which was called for in the contract or
which suggested itself to the poet. Above all, it was necessary
to make a beginning. Pindar's opening passages are generally
imposing, elaborate, and worked out with great care (note,
by contrast, that terminal passages may be abrupt, even
awkward) . He may begin with an invocation addressed to
a god or city (OL 4, 12, 14; Pyth. 1, 2, 8; etc.) ; with a com-
parison or simile (OL 6, 7; Isth. 6) ; with a wish (Pyth. 3) ;
with a direct address to the victor (Isth. 2) or a statement of
the poet's own position and obligations (OL 3, 10; Pyth. 4) ;
or with various combinations of the above motives (OL 1;
Nem. 5; etc.). From such a formal opening he proceeds by
way of compliment and acknowledgment to the rest of his

IX

material. The manner is that of an improvisation, so that
(for example) a myth is generally introduced as if it were
not planned or foreseen but suggested out of the immediate
context. How much of this forward development represents
actual method, how much means only a contrived appear-
ance of improvisation, it is difficult to say.

Since it is necessary to speak of the victor at the beginning,
either in or immediately after the invocation, and since it is
natural also to end with the victor or with persons close to
him, the natural place for the myth or episode out of heroic
legend that part of the material most remote from the pres-
ent is in the center. But here, as always, there is no hard
and fast rule. In Nemea 1 and 10 the myth runs from the
middle of the poem right to the close. Again, in Pythia 1 (as
also elsewhere) there is no one myth, but various mythical
descriptions and allusions are scattered throughout the ode.

Nothing could be more deceptive than to emphasize too
much the parts of the poem (invocation, personal compli-
ment, prayer, moral, myth) as sharply distinct elements which
must be bound together by transitional ties. It is better to
admit that the transitional passages, such as moralities, wishes,
comparisons, may grow directly out of what precedes and
may generate what follows. Consider, first, for example, the
beginning of Pythia 10 (the earliest ode) . Pindar's opening
note is the happiness of Thessaly (and of Lakedaimon, a foil
to show how happy Thessaly is). After brief self -adjuration,
he gathers up the elements of the victory (in naming the
winner, his home, the place of the contest) ; then proceeds,
via the victory of Hippokleas' father and Apollo's favor, to
prayer that such successes may continue unbroken and the
gods' favor be constant. Yet no mortal can always be happy,
though the success of father and son after him symbolizes
such fortune as can be attained by men, beyond whose reach
lies the divine happiness of the Hyperboreans. Through these
moralities thought is swung against counterthought until
the illustrative name, Hyperboreans, chimes the keynote of

the myth, which follows. Here invocation, occasion, victor,
prayer, moral, and myth are more or less discernible ele-
ments, though the development is so smooth that we pass
naturally, even unconsciously, from one stage to another
(here, as often, the return from myth to occasion and victor
is less happily accomplished). Contrast, now, Pythia 8 (the
latest ode). This opens with invocation of Hesychia, the
goddess of peace, who is besought to accept the song in
honor of Aristomenes, the victor. But peace and justice evoke,
by way of contrast, hatred and pride, as embodied in the
giants Porphyrion and Typhon. Their fall came about at the
hands of Zeus and Apollo; and Apollo, lord of Pytho, brings
us once more to the victory, the victor, and Aigina. Invoca-
tion, victor, myth, moral, and warning are inextricably inter-
twined. This is no fusion of parts but an organic develop-
ment from the idea of Hesychia and the presence of Aris-
tomenes; and the rest of the poem can be run through in the
same manner.

At the same time, there are many mythical passages which
were doubtless forecast in advance and which are to some
extent self-subsistent entities. The best example is the story
of Jason in Pythia 4, which opens formally and closes not
through overlapping phrase but through an abrupt, conscious
summary and an equally formal and conscious return to the
victor, Arkesilas. Even in such "pure myths," Pindar hardly
tells a story, for he assumed that the outlines of legend were
familiar to his listeners; rather, he lights up some intense
moment, or series of moments, in a tale already known.

Further, although embarrassment over the terms of hire
and the status of the poet as paid entertainer breaks to the
surface, Pindar likes to appear as one who writes as he
pleases, being the friend and equal of his patrons. These al-
lowed the great man much liberty. Thus he feels free to
moralize as he will, even in the middle of a myth (01. 1) ; to
correct himself in mid-progress (Ol. 1, 8) ; to talk to himself
(Pyth. 2) ; to defend his own position and policies (Pyth. 9,

XI

11; Ncm. 7, 8) ; to make entirely personal acknowledgments
(Pyth. 8). And here, perhaps, is one more reason for Pindar's
devotion to the epinician ode; it gave him a starting-point,
from which he could evolve, within certain limits, almost any
sort of variation on the choral ode and, at the same time, a
firm point of reference to which he could always return.

Pindar's odes are generally cast in triads, each triad con-
sisting of two identical stanzas, called "strophe" and "anti-
strophe," followed by a third which is different, called
"epode." In any given poem, all triads are identical. In a few
of the odes there are no triads, but a series of identical stanzas JuneBridals black cocktail party wears with lace
(OL 14; Pyth. 6, 12; Nem. 2, 4, 9; Isth. 8). Such odes are
called "monostrophic." The meters are exceedingly com-
plex; but, though scholars are unable to agree with one an-
other over definitions, they are able to gain a very definite
idea of the rhythms involved.

The obscurity commonly attributed to Pindar is mainly
due to his allusiveness, that is, his habit of plunging obliquely
into legendary matter or personal compliment where we
have lost the clues. Also, to any but an experienced classicist
(and sometimes to one of these) his work will seem at times
to be formidably studded with proper names. These cannot
be excised, and the translator can only furnish a glossary and
hope that his readers will be patient enough to use it if they
need to. Another inherent source of difficulty is stylistic.
Sentences are long, main verbs often hang fire, shifts of sub-
ject or emphasis may be sudden. Even so, Pindar is never
quite so desperately difficult as Browning (Sordello), Keats
("Lamia"), or Shelley ("Prometheus Unbound") can be;
but where the new reader finds that he cannot make sense,
he may feel sure that he is dealing with a passage which has
perplexed scholars and probably (I am thinking of Sogenes,
of Nem. 7) the poet's own listeners. At his dazzling best,
Pindar is perfectly clear; I can only hope that this will come
out in the translation.

xn

OLYMPIA 1

Best of all things is water; but gold, like a gleaming fire

by night, outshines all pride of wealth beside.

But, my heart, would you chant the glory of games,

look never beyond the sun

by day for any star shining brighter through the deserted air,

nor any contest than Olympia greater to sing.

It is thence that the song winds strands

in the hearts of the skilled to celebrate

the son of Kronos. They come their ways

to the magnificent board of Hieron,

who handles the scepter of dooms in Sicily, rich in flocks,

reaping the crested heads of every excellence.

There his fame is magnified

in the splendor of music, where

we delight at the friendly table. Then take the Dorian lyre

from its peg,

if any glory of Pisa or Pherenikos
slide with delight beneath your heart,
when by Alpheus waters he sped
his bulk, with the lash laid never on,
and mixed in the arms of victory his lord,

king of Syracuse, delighting in horses; and his fame shines
among strong men where Lydian Pelops went to dwell,
Pelops that he who clips the earth in his great strength,
Poseidon, loved when Klotho lifted him out
of the clean cauldron, his shoulder gleaming ivory.
Great marvels in truth are these, but tales
told and overlaid with elaboration of lies
amaze men's wits against the true word.

1

Grace, who brings to fulfilment all things for men's delight,

granting honor again, many a time makes

things incredible seem true.

Days to come are the wisest witnesses.

It is better for a man to speak well of the gods; he is less to

blame.

Son of Tantalos, against older men I will say
that when your father summoned the gods
to that stateliest feast at beloved Sipylos,
and gave them to eat and received in turn,
then he of the shining trident caught you up,

his heart to desire broken, and with his horses and car of gold

carried you up to the house of Zeus and his wide honor,

where Ganymede at a later time

came for the same desire in Zeus.

But when you were gone, and men from your mother looked,

nor brought you back,

some man, a neighbor, spoke quietly for spite,
how they took you and with a knife
minced your limbs into bubbling water
and over the table divided and ate
flesh of your body, even to the last morsel.

I cannot understand how a god could gorge thus; I recoil.

Many a time disaster has come to the speakers of evil.

If they who watch on Olympos have honored

any man, that man was Tantalos; but he was not

able to swallow his great fortune, and for his high stomach

drew a surpassing doom when our father

hung the weight of the stone above him.

He waits ever the stroke at his head and is divided from joy.

That life is too much for his strength; he is buckled fast in

torment,
agony fourth among three others, because he stole

and gave to his own fellowship

that ambrosia and nectar

wherewith the gods made him immortal. If any man thinks

to swindle

God, he is wrong. Therefore, they sent his son
back to the fleeting destiny of man's race.
And when at the time of life's blossoming
the first beard came to darken his cheek,
he thought on winning a bride ready at hand,

Hippodameia, the glorious daughter of a king in Pisa.

He walked alone in the darkness by the gray sea,

invoking the lord of the heavy trident,

and he appeared clear at his feet.

He spoke: "Look you, Poseidon, if you have had any joy

of my love

and the Kyprian's sweet gifts, block the brazen spear
of Oinomaos, and give me the fleeter chariot
by Elis' river, and clothe me about in strength.
Thirteen suitors he has killed now, and ever
puts aside the marriage of his daughter.

The great danger never descends upon a man without

strength;

but if we are destined to die, why should one sit
to no purpose in darkness and find a nameless old age
without any part of glory his own ? So my way
lies this hazard; yours to accomplish the end."
He spoke, with words not wide of the mark.
The god, increasing his fame, gave him
a golden chariot and horses never weary with wings.

Breaking the strength of Oinomaos, he took the maiden and

brought her to bed.

She bore him six sons, lords of the people, blazing in valor.
Now he lies at the Alpheus
crossing, mixed with the mighty dead.

His tomb is thronged about at the altar where many strangers

pass; but the glory
of Pelops looks afar from Olympia
in the courses where speed is matched with speed
and a man's force harsh at the height.
And the winner the rest of his lifetime
keeps happiness beside him sweeter than honey

as far as the games go; but the good that stays by day and

abides with him

is best that can come to a man. Be it my work to crown
in the rider's rhythm and strain
of Aiolis that king. I believe
there is no man greater both ways, for wisdom in beautiful

things and power's weight
we shall ever glorify by skill in the folds of song.
Some god stands ever about you, musing
in his mind over what you do,
Hieron. May he not leave you soon.
So shall I hope to find once more

even a sweeter word's way to sing and help the chariot

fleeting,

coming again to the lifting hill of Kronos. For me
the Muse in her might is forging yet the strongest arrow.
One man is excellent one way, one in another; the highest
fulfils itself in kings. Oh, look no further.
Let it be yours to walk this time on the height.
Let it be mine to stand beside you
in victory, for my skill at the forefront of the Hellenes.

OLYMPIA 2

My songs, lords of the lyre,

which of the gods, what hero, what mortal shall we celebrate ?

Zeus has Pisa; but Herakles founded the Olympiad

out of spoils of his warfare;

but Theron, for his victory with chariot-four, is the man

we must sing now, him of the kind regard to strangers,

the tower Akragantine,

choice bud of a high line guarding the city.

In strong toil of the spirit

they were the eye of Sicily, they beside the river kept

the sacred house; their doom drew on, bringing wealth and

delight near

by the valor in their blood.

But, O Kronios, Rhea's son, guarding Olympos' throne
and the games' glory and the Alpheus crossing,
in mild mood for the song's sake
kind keep for them always the land of their fathers

the rest of their generation. Of things come to pass

in justice or unjust, not Time the father

of all can make the end unaccomplished.

But forgetfulness may come still with happiness.

Grief, breaking again out of quiet, dies at last, quenched

under the waxing weight of fair things,

with God's destiny dropping

wealth deep from above. Thus the tale for the queenly

daughters of Kadmos, who endured much; grief falls a dead

weight
as goods wax in strength. Semele

of the delicate hair, who died in the thunderstroke,
lives on Olympos, beloved of Pallas forever, of Zeus,
best loved of her son with ivy in his hands.

And they say that in the sea

among the daughters of Nereus in the depth, Ino

is given life imperishable for all time. But for mortal men

no limit in death has been set apart

when we shall bring to an end in unbroken good

the sun's child, our day of quiet; stream upon stream

of delights mixed with labor descends upon men.

Thus Destiny, who has from her father

the kindly guidance of these men, yet with wealth sent from

God

bestows some pain also, to return upon us hereafter.
So his doomed son killed Laios
when they met, and brought to accomplishment
the thing foretold long since at Pytho.

And Erinys looked on him in bitterness

and slew all his strong race at each others' hands.

Yet when Polyneikes fell, Thersandros remained for honor

in the trial of fresh battles,

a branch to shield the house of Adrastos.

Stemmed in his stock, it is fit for Ainesidamos' son

to win songs in his honor and the lyre's sound.

He himself took the prize

at Olympia; to his brother equal in right the impartial

Graces brought blossoms of honor for the twelve-lap chariot

race

at Pytho, at the Isthmos; success
for the striver washes away the effort of striving.
Wealth elaborate with virtue brings opportunity for various
deeds; it shoulders the cruel depth of care,

star-bright, man's truest

radiance; if a man keep it and know the future,

how, as we die here, the heart uncontrolled

yields retribution; likewise for sins in this kingdom of God

there is a judge under the earth. He gives sentence

in constraint of wrath.

But with nights equal forever,

with sun equal in their days, the good men

have life without labor, disquieting not the earth in strength

of hand,

never the sea's water

for emptiness of living. Beside the high gods
they who had joy in keeping faith lead a life
without tears. The rest look on a blank face of evil.

But they who endure thrice over

in the world beyond to keep their souls from all sin

have gone God's way to the tower of Kronos; there

winds sweep from the Ocean

across the Island of the Blessed. Gold flowers to flame

on land in the glory of trees; it is fed in the water,

whence they bind bracelets to their arms and go chapleted

under the straight decrees of Rhadamanthys,
whom the husband of Rhea, high throned above all,
our great father, keeps in the chair of state beside him.
They say Peleus is there, and Kadmos,
and his mother with prayer softening Zeus' heart
carried Achilles thither,

who felled Hektor, Troy's unassailable

tall column of strength, who gave death to Kyknos

and the Aithiop, Dawn's child. There are many sharp shafts

in the quiver
under the crook of my arm.

They speak to the understanding; most men need inter-
preters.

The wise man knows many things in his blood; the vulgar
are taught.

They will say anything. They clatter vainly like crows

against the sacred bird of Zeus.

Come, my heart, strain the bow to the mark now. Whom

shall we strike

in gentleness, slipping merciful arrows? Toward Akragas
we will bend the bow and speak
a word under oath in sincerity of mind.
Not in a hundred years has a city given forth
a man kinder to his friends, more open of hand

than Theron. But envy bestrides praise,

though coupled not with justice; still the revilers'

scandal would put secrecy upon fair deeds

of noble men. For sands escape number,

and of all the joy Theron has brought to others

what man could tell the measure?

OLYMPIA 3

My claim is to sing bright Akragas and please the Tyndari-

dai, the lovers of strangers,
and their sister Helen with the splendid hair,
shaping the hymn of Olympic triumph for Theron, the speed

of his horses
with feet never weary. So the Muse was near as I found a

fire-new style
to set in the Dorian cast the speech

of acclamation. The wreaths bound over my hair are an

influence

to this duty formed in the hands of God,
to mix the lyre's intricate voice, the clamor of flutes, and the

set of the words
for Ainesidamos' son the right way; and Pisa bids me speak.

From her,
driven of God, songs speed to a man,

over whose locks and brows an upright judge of the Hellenes,

an Aitolian, fulfilling the ordinances of Herakles

anciently founded, has cast

the pale glory of the olive that long ago,

from the shadowy springs of Ister,

Amphitryon's son brought back, to be

the loveliest memorial of the games at Olympia.

By reason he persuaded the Hyperboreans, Apollo's people.
In sincerity of heart he asked, for the grove of Zeus
open to all, that growth to shadow men always and crown
their valor.

Before this in his time, when his father's altars were hal-
lowed, at mid-month,
it had cast back the full orb of evening,

riding in gold. He established the sacred test of the fifth-year

games

under the magic hanging hills of Alpheus river.
But the lawn in the valley of Kronian Pelops had blossomed

not to the beauty of trees.
He thought the garden, naked of these, must endure the

sun's sharp rays.
Then it was the urge took him to journey

to Istrian country. There Leto's daughter, the runner with

horses,
received him when he came from Arkadia's ridges and

winding gullies,
when, at Eurystheus' command,
the doom of his father had driven him
to bring the doe with the golden horns
that once Taygeta had written in fee
to be sacred to Artemis Orthosia.

On that errand he saw the land at the back of the cold north
wind,

and he stood amazed at the trees.

A sweet longing came upon him to plant them at the twelve-
lap running place

of horses. Now he visits in graciousness that festival, with
the godlike

twins, the children of deep-girdled Leda.

He came to Olympos and left those heroes guidance of the

magnificent games,
man's might and the chariot's speed handled.

10

I will speak, for my heart drives me: on the children of

Emmenos
and Theron glory is descended at the hands of the Tyndari-

dai, since beyond others
they propitiate them at the bountiful feasting-table,

keeping in reverence of heart the gods' mysteries.

But if water is best of all things, and of possessions gold is

goodliest,

still in the virtues of men
Theron has come home to the uttermost
Herakles' pillars

and touched. Beyond no wise man can tread;
no fool either. I will not venture; a fool were I.

11

OLYMPIA 4

Mightiest driver of the weariless speed in the lightning's feet,

Zeus: the circling seasons, yours,

have brought me to testify

to the wide strength of highest achievements

by virtue of song and the lyre's intricacy.

At friends' good luck the noble will rise to welcome

the sweet message.

son of Kronos, lord of Aitna,
blast-furnace to hundred-headed Typhon's bulk,
in the name of the Graces

accept this song of Olympic victory,

light at long last from the wide strength of valor.
For it rides the wheels of Psaumis,
who, his brow shaded in olive
of Pisa, comes home, bringing glory
on Kamarina. May God be kindly
to his prayers hereafter; I have praise for him.
A keen handler of horses,
he rejoices in hospitality to his friends;
and his face, with clean purpose, is turned toward Peace, who
loves cities.

1 will not steep my speech

in lies; the test of any man lies in action.

So the son of Klymenos

was set free of dishonor

at the hands of Lemnian women.

As he won the race in bronze armor

and came to Hypsipyle for his garland, he spoke:

"Here am I in my speed.

My hands are as good as my heart.

Many a time even on young men gray hairs

appear, against the likelihood of their youth."

12

OLYMPIA 5

Accept, daughter of Ocean, in kindness of heart the blos-
soming

to delight of high deeds and Olympian garlands
for the mule car and the tireless feet, accept these gifts from
Psaumis.

Increasing your city, Kamarina, that fosters its people,

he honored six double altars at the high festivals of the gods

with the sacrifice of oxen and with five-day games, races

for team, mules, single horse. A winner, to you
he dedicated the delicate glory

and proclaimed his father Akron and the new-established
dwelling.

He comes from the lovely precinct of Oinomaos and Pelops
and lifts again, Pallas, keeper of the city, your sacred wood,
your river Oanis with the lake near by,

and the stately channels whereby Hipparis waters the folk.
With speed he welds the high-groined forest of standing

houses,
bringing back out of despair to the light this people, his

citizens.

Always attendant on valor, work and substance struggle to

win

the end veiled in danger;
but when men succeed, even their neighbors think them

wise.

13

Savior Zeus, high in the clouds, at home on the Kronian hill,
with honor for the wide course of Alpheus and the sacred

cave of Ida,
I come to you a suppliant, speaking above Lydian flutes.

I will ask that you glorify this city with fame

of good men; and you, Olympic champion, may you carry

your age in happiness to its end, with joy in Poseidon's horses,

your sons standing beside you, Psaumis. But if one water

flowering wealth
in abundance of substance
and fair fame also, let him not seek to become God.

14

OLYMPIA 6

Like architects of a sumptuous palace,

who set the golden columns under the portico wall,

we shall build. The forehead of every work

begun must shine from afar. If a man be Olympian victor,

steward at the mantic altar of Zeus in Pisa,

cofounder of glorious Syracuse, what praise shall he escape

in the song's loveliness, given only citizens without rancor ?

Let the son of Sostratos know

in that cast he has set his blessed feet. Accomplishments
without venture win no praise among men
nor in hollow ships; splendor of toil is remembered of many.
Agesias, beside you stands that praise that of old
in justice Adrastos spoke of Amphiaraos,
the seer Oikleidas, when earth folded him under and his
shining horses.

Seven corpse-fires burned to the end, and Talaos' son
spoke at Thebes this word: "I mourn the glory of the host.
He was two things, a good prophet, a fighter with the pike."

Such praise

befalls the lord of the feast at Syracuse.
I, who am not bitter in disputation nor overbold,
owe plain testimony and swear a great oath
over the words; and the sweet-voiced Muses shall hear me

speak.

Up then, Phintis, yoke me the strength of the mules
with speed, let me mount the chariot, drive a clean
highway to the source of these men's race.
They understand, and will guide us better than others;
they took garlands at Olympia. Now before them

15

we must open the gates of song; to Pitana

and the bank of Eurotas we must take our journey today.

Pitana, the legends tell, lay in love with Poseidon, Kronos'

son,

and bore the dark-haired girl, Euadne. She hid
under the fold of her robe her maiden love's agony,
till in the final month she sent attendants to carry
the child, and give it into the hands of Eilatidas,
lord of the men of Arkady at Phaisana, with Alpheus under

his sway.

There grown, by Apollo she first touched Aphrodite's sweet-
ness.

But Aipytos knew the whole time how she hid the seed of

the god.
To Pytho, with sharp care crushing down the wrath in his

heart unspoken,

he departed, to question the god over grief unendurable;
while she, putting aside her girdle, crimson dyed,
and her silver pitcher, under the darkness of low trees
bore a boy with the heart of divination. The gold-haired god
made gentle Eleithuia and the Destinies to stand beside her.

Out of the lovely distress at her loins came lamos
straightway into the light, whom she in her grief
left on the ground. By the god's design two
green-eyed serpents tended him, with blameless venom dis-
tilled

of bees. The king, riding from rocky Pytho,
questioned all in the house when he came for the child
Euadne had borne, and called him issue

of Phoibos, to be beyond all men a seer among mortals
pre-eminent, nor his race fail ever thereafter.
Thus Aipytos. They swore they had heard
never nor seen the five-day child. He lay

16

in the long grass and a wilderness of thicket, his soft body
deep over in the blue and yellow brightness of violets,
whereby his mother declared upon him for all time

that name immortal, lamos. He, assuming in time the bloom

of delightful youth, gold-chapleted, wading in Alpheus mid-
stream, called

his forefather strong Poseidon, and the archer over god-built
Delos

under the night sky, claiming upon his head

the care of subjects. Close to his ear his father's voice came

answering, and spoke: "Arise my son, follow

here in the wake of my voice to the place frequented of all."

They came to the sheer rock of towering Kronios.

There the god gave into his hands a double treasure:

seercraft, to hear even then the voice ignorant

of lies: and command when the bold contriver should

come,

Herakles, proud blossom of Alkaid blood, and found
in his father's name the festival thronged of men, prime

ordinance of contests
to establish on Zeus' highest altar the place of prophecy.

From him, the lamid race with their high fame in Hellas.
Wealth came afterward; they honor accomplishment;
the way they walk is clear, and each thing
bears witness. Mockery from malice of others overhangs
their heads who drive foremost over the twelve-lap course,
wifh grave grace pouring glorification of comeliness on

them.
But if in truth under Kyllana's peaks, Agesias, your mother's

kinsmen

propitiate over and again the gods' herald with supplication
of sacrifice in piety, Hermes, who keeps the games and the
luck of the contest

17

to magnify the good men of Arkadia, he, son of Sostratos,
abets the weight of his father's thunder to grant you fortune.
I believe a stone upon my speech has honed it to fluency,
and the mother of my mothers, the Stymphalian, blossoming

Metope,
urges my will compliant with the easy breath of persuasion.

Her child is Thebe, bender of horses, whose lovely waters
I drink, and the men I braid this complication of song for are
comrades in arms. Up with your men, Aineas!
Sing first, Hera, of maidenhood, then know
if in true account we escape the ancient
word of shame, swine of Boiotia. You are a true messenger,
letterstaflf of the comely-haired Muses, sweet mixing-bowl of
vociferous song.

I have told you to remember Syracuse and Ortygia.

Hieron in serious thought controls them under

his scepter's candid sweep; he guides the crimson feet

of the feast of Demeter and the lady of white horses, her

daughter,

with the power of Zeus on Aitna. The soft-spoken lyres
acknowledge him, and the dancing. May lurking time not

shatter his power.
Let him receive in kindly affection Agesias' victor feast,

sped from home at the keep of Stymphalos to his second

home,
leaving the mother-city of Arkady rich in sheep. In the night

of storms

it is well to have two anchors binding the fleet ship.
May God's love appoint the glory of both my friends.
Lord of the sea's action, consort of Amphitrite,
her of the golden spindle, grant a straight voyage, clear
of distress. Make blossom the joyous flower of my song.

18

OLYMPIA 7

As one who takes a cup from a lavish hand,

bubbling within the foam of the grape,

presenting it

to a young bridegroom, pledging hearth to hearth, the pride,

sheer gold, of possession,

the joy of the feast, to honor his new son, render him
among friends present admired for the bride's consent:

so I, bringing poured nectar of victory,

gift of the Muses, the mind's sweet yield,

offer it up

to the conquerors at Olympia and Pytho. Blessed is he whom

good fame surrounds.

Grace eyes one man, then another, bestowing favor
frequently to the melodious lyre and the manifold music of

flutes;

and to both strains I keep company with Diagoras, singing
the sea's child, daughter of Aphrodite and bride of Helios,

Rhodes,
and give praise, spoil of his boxing, to the onslaught of a

man gigantic,

wreathed in victory beside Alpheus' water
and Kastalia; and to Damagetos his father, darling of Justice,
who dwell in the triple-citied island over against
the jut of broad Asia, by right of an Argive spear.

I will try to straighten the story from the beginning
with news from as far back as Tlepolemos
for Herakles'

race of reaching strength. On the father's side they glory in
Zeus' descent; on the mother's,

19

Amyntoridai from Astydameia. Delusions innumerable
hang their shadows over men's minds. This thing passes wit
to discover,

what is best now and at the end for a man to attain.

Even Tlepolemos, this island's founder, once

angered, rearing

the stock of brute olive, smote to death Alkmana's bastard

brother,
Likymnios, at Tiryns as he issued from the chamber of Midea.

Despair in the brain has driven
even the wise man out of his course. He went to the god for

counsel.

From the fragrant sanctuary the gold-haired god bespoke a

voyage

of ships from the Lernaian ness straight for a seagirt reach,
where once the high king of the gods drenched their city in

a gold snowfall,

when, by the artifice of Hephaistos,
at the stroke of the bronze-heeled axe Athene sprang
from the height of her father's head with a strong cry.
The sky shivered before her and earth our mother.

Then Hyperion's giant son, light-giver to mortals,

laid a necessity upon his own children

to guard thereafter:

they must be first to found a bright altar to the goddess and

establish a stately sacrifice
and propitiate the heart of her father and the maid of the

ringing spear. Respect
for forethought puts on men goodliness and delight also.

Yet the unpredictable mist of forgetfulness stalks us,
it wrenches aside the right way of action
far from our thoughts.

20

Thus they went up, having not the bright seed of flame, with

fireless sacrament they appointed
the grove on the acropolis. Yet he, assembling the yellow

cloud,
rained much gold upon them, and the green-eyed goddess

granted

every art, that they should surpass all men in the excellent

work of their hands.
And their streets grew images in the likeness of men and

beasts.
Their fame went deep. For the wise skill will wax greater

for its innocence.
The ancient legends of men

tell how, when Zeus and the immortals divided the earth
Rhodes had not yet shone in the sea's water,
but the island was hidden in the salt depths.

Helios was gone, and none showed forth his lot.

They left him with no guerdon of land,

that blameless god.

He spoke, and Zeus would cast again, but Helios would not

suffer it, for he said

under the gray sea he had spied, as a growth from the floor,
a land to foster multitudes, kindly to sheep.

Straightway he bade Lachesis of the golden veil

lift up her hands, nor deny

the gods' great oath

but assent with the son of Kronos, bending her head; the
island rising thereafter

into the bright air should be his. The words' end was ac-
complished

with a true fall. Out of the winding water the island

blossomed, held of the father of searing sun-rays,
master of horses that breathe fire. Rhodes mixed with him
bore

21

seven sons, that displayed the shrewdest wits of the men of

old time.

Of these, one sired Kamiros,

lalysos, eldest born, and Lindos; sundered, they held
the land of their patrimony in triple division,
each a city, and these are called by their names.

There, as sweet deliverance after the bitterness of misfortune,

to Tlepolemos, Tirynthian arch-founder, is given

as to a god

the smoking processional of sheep, the judgment of games, in

whose flowers
Diagoras was wreathed twice. At the glorious Isthmos the

luck four times was his.
One win to crown another at Nemea, at rocky Athens.

The bronze at Argos knew him, the caldrons

in Arkadia and Thebes, the temperate games

Boiotians keep;

Pellana likewise. At Aigina he won six times, at Megara the

stone ballot

tells no alternate story. But Zeus father, brooding over
the peaks of Atabyrios, honor the set of the song Olmpion-

ician,

the man who has found excellence with his fists. Grant him

pleasure of veneration
in the sight of citizens and strangers his friends. The bitter

path of pride
he walks straitly, sure of all that the upright minds of his

fathers

left, his heritage. Founder not the seed
of Kallianax, your own. With good fortune for the Eratidai

the city

has also its part of happiness. But in one parcel of time
the winds intershifting flare to new directions.

22

OLYMPIA 8

Mother of games, gold-wreathed, Olympia,

mistress of truth where men of prophecy

by burning victims probe the pleasure of Zeus of the shining

thunderbolt,

what story he has for folk
who strain in spirit to capture
magnificence of strength
and space to breathe after work's weariness:

his will is steered by men's prayers to favor of piety.
Then, O grove of Pisa beside Alpheus, shadowed with trees,
accept this our festival song with its burden of garlands.

Great is his fame forever
whom your bright victory befalls.
Various goods have come
to one man and another; there are many roads
to happiness, if the gods assent.

Timosthenes, destiny has assigned you and your brother

to Zeus Genethlios. He gave you glory at Nemea;

Alkimedon beside the Kronian hill

he made Olympic champion.

Splendid he was to behold, and, in action not shaming his

beauty,
he won at wrestling to herald his homeland, Aigina of the

sweeping oar.

There, beyond men elsewhere, they cultivate
her who sits beside Zeus of hospitality, Themis,

lady of salvation. With right wit to distinguish
that which has large and various weight in the scale, with-
out failure,

23

is hard; yet some statute of the immortals has made this sea-
girt land also

to strangers from all far places
a wonderful column of safety;
may time, uprolling, falter
never in accomplishment of that end.

Since Aiakos it was under stewardship of a Dorian people.
That hero Leto's son and Poseidon, wide-ranging of mind
in purpose to put a wreath of towers on Ilion, called to their

aid

for the wall whose doom had been written,
how in the upsurge of war,
in the battle to storm the citadel,
smoke of destruction must blaze its end.

And at its first establishment three pale snakes

writhed aloft that rampart. Two, collapsing

overborne, gave up their lives.

One reared up with a cry.

Apollo, pondering the portent before him, spoke:

"Hero, Pergamos shall be taken where your hands have

wrought.

So speaks to me this vision sent
by Kronos' deep-thundering son, even Zeus.

Nor without help of your children after you; it shall be

broken
in the first and fourth generation." With this plain word the

god
made for Xanthos urgently, and the well-horsed Amazons,

and Ister.

The shaker of the trident steered to the sea's
Isthmos his running chariot,
bearing Aiakos home
aloft on his golden car

24

to visit the yoke of Korinth with its glorious feasting.

No single joy among men will match another's.

If, for the fame he has won with beardless boys, my song

makes much of Melesias,
let no rancor cast at me a rugged stone.
I can speak of this same gladness
that came to him at Nemea
and thereafter in the men's contests

as pancratiast. It is better to know what you teach

if you teach it; not to study beforehand is thoughtless.

The minds of men untried are flimsy rather.

He better than others can expound

wrestling, the skill to further a man on his way

who out of sacred games would win the most desirable honor.

Now Alkimedon brings to him

with a thirtieth victory, praise.

By luck that comes from the gods and no failure of nerve

he forced on four boys' bodies

homecoming in bitterness, speech without honor, a secret

path;

but into his sire's father inspired
strength to grapple his old age.
A man achieving the things desired
makes Hades to be forgotten.

But I must waken memory and bespeak

for the Blepsiadai success in the flowering strength of their

hands.
Now is laid along their brows the sixth wreath from the

leaves of contests.

Even they that are dead have some share
of things done in the true way;
nor does the dust obscure
the grace of their kinsmen's virtue.

25

Iphion, giving ear to Angelia, daughter of Hermes,

might speak to Kallimachos of the shining

glory at Olympia Zeus granted

them and theirs. May he will to bestow noble success

on nobility, fending aside the bitter edge of infirmity.

I pray him that destiny be of no doubtful counsel over

these good men's fate,
but bring a life untroubled of grief
to bless themselves and their city.

26

OLYMPIA 9

The Archilochos song

cried aloud at Olympia, the victor hailed in his glory three

times over

was enough by the Kronian hill to lead in triumph
Epharmostos in revelry with his beloved companions.
But now shower from the Muses' bows that range into wide

distance,

Zeus, lord of the light in the red thunderbolt,
and with even such arrows
the solemn headland of Elis
that the hero Lydian Pelops of old
won, fairest bridal dower of Hippodameia.

Cast a winged shaft of delight

to Pytho likewise; you will find words that falter not to the

ground

as you throb the lyre for a man and a wrestler
from famed Opous. Praise the land and her son.
Themis and the lady of salvation, Eunomia, her daughter,
the glorious, keep it for their own; he blossoms in exploits,
Kastalia, beside your spring
and by Alpheus river,

to make the garlands in their bloom lift up
the mother of Lokrian men, land of trees shining.

And I, lighting a city beloved
with blaze of whirling song,
swifter than the proud horse
or winged ship on the sea
will carry the message,
if with hand blessed I garden
this secret close of the Graces.

27

It is they who minister delightful things. If men are brave, or
wise, it is by the divinity

in them; how else could Herakles'

hands have shaken the club against the trident

when by Pylos' gate Poseidon stood over against him,

and Phoibos strode on him with the silver bow in his hands

poised;

neither the death-god Hades rested the staff
wherewith he marshals mortal bodies of men perished
down the hollow street. But, my lips,
cast this story from us.
For to revile the gods
is hateful learning, and to vaunt against season carries

an underweb of madness.

Speak not idly such things; let be war and all discord
apart from the immortals. Rather to Protogeneia's city
bring our speech, where, by decree of Zeus of the rippling

thunder,

Deukalion and Pyrrha, coming down from Parnassos,
founded their house at the first and with no act of love estab-
lished

a stone generation to be their folk.
These were named people therafter.
Wake for them the high strain of song,
and praise old wine, but the blossoms of poetry

that is young. For they say
the black earth was awash
under the weight of water; but by
Zeus' means, of a sudden the ebb-tide
drained the flood. And from these
came your ancestors, men with brazen shields,
traced back at the outset

to lapeton's seed, sons of his daughters by the great sons of
Kronos, kings in the land for all time

28

until the lord of Olympos,

ravishing from the Epeian land Opous' daughter, lay with

her

secretly on Mainalian slopes; and thereafter he brought her
to Lokros, lest age, overtaking, doom him
to be childless. The bride carried the mighty
seed; and the hero was glad to see the son for his fostering.
He named him after his mother's sire,
to be called Opous,

a man surpassing in stature and action,
and gave him the city and the people to govern.

There came to him stranger-guests

from Argos and Thebes, Arkadians and Pisatans.

But beyond all newcomers he honored Aktor's son and Ai-

gina's

Menoitios; he whose child, brought with the sons of Atreus,
in the plain of Teuthras stood his ground alone with Achilles
when Telephos, bending back the rest of the valiant Danaans,
hurled them against their own beached ships.
Thus was made plain for any
with wit to see how strong the heart of Patroklos;
and Thetis' son ordained thereafter that never

in grim battle should Patroklos be
marshaled apart from his own
man-wrecking spear's place.
May I find words now to win through
riding the car of the Muses

to the occasion. May daring and compassing power
come upon me. I went, in virtue of proxeny,
to stand by Lampromachos in his garlands of Isthmos, where
both men won

on a single day their events.

And twice thereafter delight of victory came to him at the
gates

29

of Korinth, as in the Nemean valley to Epharmostos.
He likewise at Argos won glory among men, and as a boy
at Athens; in Marathon, torn from beardless antagonists,
he stood the onset of older men for the silver vessels.
He threw these in his speed and craft
with no fall scored against him
and walked through the ring to loud acclamation
in the pride of his youth, splendid, and with achievement of
splendor.

Before the Parrhasians assembled,

he appeared, a wonder, at the festival of Zeus Lykaios;

as when he won the cloak, warm medicine

of cold winds, at Pellene; the tomb of lolaos

witnesses to his shining glory, as Eleusis the sea-borne.

Best by nature is best; but many have striven before now

to win by talen