Pythian

Pindar

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

  1. [*]( The date and occasion are uncertain and controversial. For a discussion of the possibilities see e.g. H. Lloyd-Jones, “Modern Interpretation of Pindar: the Second Pythian and Seventh Nemean Odes,” JHS 93 ( 1973 ) 109-37, and C. Carey, A Commentary on Five Odes of Pindar ( New York 1981 ), p. 21. ) Great city of Syracuse! Sacred precinct of Ares, plunged deep in war! Divine nurse of men and horses who rejoice in steel! For you I come from splendid Thebes bringing this song, a message of the earth-shaking four-horse race
  2. in which Hieron with his fine chariot won the victory, and so crowned Ortygia with far-shining garlands—Ortygia, home of Artemis the river-goddess: not without her help did Hieron master with his gentle hands the horses with embroidered reins.
  3. For the virgin goddess who showers arrows
  4. and Hermes the god of contests present the gleaming reins to him with both hands when he yokes the strength of his horses to the polished car, to the chariot that obeys the bit, and calls on the wide-ruling god who wields the trident. Other kings have other men to pay them the tribute of melodious song, the recompense for excellence.
  5. The voices of the men of Cyprus often shout the name of Cinyras, whom golden-haired Apollo gladly loved,
  6. Cinyras, the obedient priest of Aphrodite. Reverent gratitude is a recompense for friendly deeds. And you, son of Deinomenes, the West Locrian girl invokes you, standing outside her door: out of the helpless troubles of war,
  7. through your power she looks at the world in security. They say that by the commands of the gods Ixion spins round and round on his feathered wheel, saying this to mortals: “Repay your benefactor frequently with gentle favors in return.”
  8. He learned a clear lesson. For although he received a sweet life among the gracious children of Cronus, he did not abide his prosperity for long, when in his madness of spirit he desired Hera, who was allotted to the joyful bed of Zeus. But his arrogance drove him to extreme delusion; and soon the man suffered a suitable
  9. exquisite punishment. Both of his crimes brought him toil in the end. First, he was the hero who, not without guile, was the first to stain mortal men with kindred blood;
  10. second, in the vast recesses of that bridal chamber he once made an attempt on the wife of Zeus. A man must always measure all things according to his own place.
  11. Unnatural lust throws men into dense trouble; it befell even him, since the man in his ignorance chased a sweet fake and lay with a cloud, for its form was like the supreme celestial goddess, the daughter of Cronus. The hands of Zeus set it as a trap for him,
  12. a beautiful misery. Ixion brought upon himself the four-spoked fetter,
  13. his own ruin. He fell into inescapable bonds, and received the message that warns the whole world. She bore to him, without the blessing of the Graces, a monstrous offspring—there was never a mother or a son like this—honored neither by men nor by the laws of the gods. She raised him and named him Centaurus,
  14. and he mated with the Magnesian mares in the foothills of Pelion, and from them was born a marvelous horde, which resembled both its parents: like the mother below, the father above.
  15. The gods accomplish everything according to their wishes;
  16. the gods, who overtake even the flying eagle and outstrip the dolphin in the sea, and bend down many a man who is overly ambitious, while to others they give unaging glory. For my part, I must avoid the aggressive bite of slander. For I have seen, long before me,
  17. abusive Archilochus often in a helpless state, fattening himself with strong words and hatred. But to be rich by the grace of fortune is the best part of skillful wisdom.
  18. And you clearly have this blessing, and can display it with a generous mind, ruler and leader of many garland-crowned streets and a great army. When wealth and influence are in question,
  19. anyone who says that any man in Greece of earlier times surpassed you has a soft mind that flails around in vain. But I shall ascend a ship covered with flowers, and sing the praises of excellence. Boldness helps youth in terrible wars; and so I say that you too have found boundless fame
  20. by fighting among both horsemen and foot soldiers. And your wisdom beyond your years provides me with praise of you that cannot be challenged in any detail. Greetings! This song, like Phoenician merchandise, is sent to you over the gray sea: look kindly on the Castor-song, composed in Aeolian strains;