Pindar, creator; Arnson Svarlien, Diane, 1960-, translator

  1. [*](On the two possible dates see C. M. Bowra, Pindar ( Oxford 1964), p. 409. ) Raising the fine-walled porch of our dwelling with golden pillars, we will build, as it were, a marvellous hall; at the beginning of our work we must place a far-shining front. If someone were an Olympic victor,
  2. and a guardian of the prophetic altar of Zeus at Pisa, and a fellow-founder of renowned Syracuse, what hymn of praise would that man fail to win, by finding fellow-citizens ungrudging in delightful song?
  3. Let the son of Sostratus know that this sandal fits his divinely-blessed foot. But excellence without danger
  4. is honored neither among men nor in hollow ships. But many people remember, if a fine thing is done with toil. Hagesias, that praise is ready for you, which once Adrastus’ tongue rightly spoke for the seer Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, when the earth swallowed up him and his shining horses.
  5. In Thebes, when the seven pyres of corpses had been consumed, the son of Talaus spoke in this way: “I long for the eye of my army, a man who was good both as a prophet and at fighting with the spear.” And this holds good as well for the man of Syracuse who is master of our victory-procession. Though I am not prone to quarrel, and not overly fond of victory,
  6. I would even swear a great oath, and on this point at least I will clearly bear witness for him; and the honey-voiced Muses will give their consent.
  7. Phintis, come now and yoke the strength of mules for me, quickly, so that we can drive the chariot along a clear path, and I can at last arrive at the race of these men.
  8. For those mules above all others know how to lead the way along this path, since they have won garlands at Olympia, And so it is right to open for them the gates of song; and I must go today, in good time, to Pitana, beside the ford of Eurotas.
  9. Pitana, who, it is said, lay with Poseidon son of Cronus,
  10. and bore a child, violet-haired Evadne. But she hid her unwedded pregnancy in the folds of her robe. And in the appointed month she sent servants, and told them to give the baby to be tended by the hero, Aepytus son of Eilatus, who ruled over the Arcadians at Phaesana, and had his allotted home on the Alpheus,
  11. where Evadne was raised, and first touched the sweets of Aphrodite beneath Apollo’s embrace.
  12. She did not escape the notice of Aepytus in all the time that she was hiding the offspring of the god; no, he went to Pytho, pressing down the unspeakable anger in his spirit with intense concern, to consult the oracle about this unbearable disaster. And she laid down her purple and saffron girdle,
  13. and her silver pitcher, and beneath a blue-shaded thicket gave birth to a god-inspired boy. The golden-haired god sent gentle-minded Eleithuia and the Fates to help her.
  14. From her womb and her sweet birth-pangs Iamus came right away into the light. In her distress,
  15. she left him on the ground. But by the will of the gods, two gray-eyed serpents nurtured him with the harmless venom of bees, caring for him. And when the king had driven back from rocky Pytho, he questioned everyone in the household about the child whom Evadne had borne. For he said that he was begotten by Phoebus,
  16. and that he would be, for men on earth, a prophet above all mortals, and that his race would never fail. Such was his speech. But they claimed that they had neither seen nor heard the baby, born four days ago. For it had been hidden in the rushes and the boundless thicket,
  17. his tender body washed in the golden and purple light of violets. Therefore his mother declared that he should be called for all time
  18. by this immortal name, “Iamus.” And when he had attained the delightful fruit of golden-crowned Youth, he went down into the middle of the Alpheus, and called on wide-ruling Poseidon, his grandfather, and on the Archer who watches over god-built Delos,
  19. praying that the honor of caring for the people be on his head, under the clear night sky. His father’s voice responded in clear speech, and sought him out: “Rise, my son, and follow my voice here to a place that welcomes all.”
  20. They came to the steep rock of the lofty hill of Cronus.