Pythian

Pindar

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

  1. If it were proper for this commonplace prayer to be made by my tongue, I would want Cheiron the son of Philyra to be alive again, he who has departed, the wide-ruling son of Cronus son of Uranus; and I would want him to reign again in the glens of Pelion , the beast of the wilds
  2. whose mind was friendly to men; just as he was when once he reared Asclepius, that gentle craftsman who drove pain from the limbs that he healed, that hero who cured all types of diseases.
  3. His mother, the daughter of Phlegyas with his fine horses, before she could bring him to term with the help of Eleithuia who attends on childbirth, was stricken by the golden
  4. arrows of Artemis in her bedroom and descended to the house of Hades, by the skills of Apollo. The anger of the children of Zeus is not in vain. But she made light of Apollo, in the error of her mind, and consented to another marriage without her father's knowledge, although she had before lain with Phoebus of the unshorn hair,
  5. and was bearing within her the pure seed of the god. She did not wait for the marriage-feast to come, nor for the full-voiced cry of the hymenaeal chorus, such things as unmarried girls her own age love to murmur in evening songs to their companion. [*]( Reading with Snell e(tai/ra| for e(tai=rai . ) Instead,
  6. she was in love with what was distant; many others have felt that passion. There is a worthless tribe among men which dishonors what is at home and looks far away, hunting down empty air with hopes that cannot be fulfilled.
  7. Such was the strong infatuation
  8. that the spirit of lovely-robed Coronis had caught. For she lay in the bed of a stranger who came from Arcadia ; but she did not elude the watcher. Even in Pytho where sheep are sacrificed, the king of the temple happened to perceive it, Loxias, persuading his thoughts with his unerring counsellor: his mind, which knows all things. He does not grasp falsehood, and he is deceived
  9. by neither god nor man, neither in deeds nor in thoughts.
  10. Knowing even then of her sleeping with Ischys, son of Elatus, and of her lawless deceit, he sent his sister, raging with irresistible force, to Lacereia, since the girl lived by the banks of Lake Boebias.
  11. A contrary fortune turned her to evil and overcame her. And many neighbors shared her fate and perished with her; fire leaps from a single spark on a mountain, and destroys a great forest.
  12. But when her kinsmen had placed the girl in the wooden walls of the pyre, and
  13. the ravening flame of Hephaestus ran around it, then Apollo spoke: “I can no longer endure in my soul to destroy my own child by a most pitiful death, together with his mother's grievous suffering.” So he spoke. In one step he reached the child and snatched it from the corpse; the burning fire divided its blaze for him,
  14. and he bore the child away and gave him to the Magnesian Centaur to teach him to heal many painful diseases for men.
  15. And those who came to him afflicted with congenital sores, or with their limbs wounded by gray bronze or by a far-hurled stone,
  16. or with their bodies wasting away from summer's fire or winter's cold, he released and delivered all of them from their different pains, tending some of them with gentle incantations, others with soothing potions, or by wrapping remedies all around their limbs, and others he set right with surgery.
  17. But even skill is enthralled by the love of gain.
  18. Gold shining in his hand turned even that man, for a handsome price, to bring back from death a man who was already caught. And so the son of Cronus hurled his shaft with his hands through both of them, and swiftly tore the breath out of their chests; the burning thunderbolt brought death crashing down on them. We must seek from the gods what is appropriate for mortal minds,
  19. knowing what lies before our feet, and what kind of destiny we have.
  20. Do not crave immortal life, my soul, but use to the full the resources of what is possible. But if wise Cheiron were still living in his cave, and if our honey-voiced odes