Pythian

Pindar

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

  1. having discovered the wisdom of right counsel. Now, learn the skill of Oedipus: if a man, with a sharp-cutting axe, cuts the branches from a great oak, and spoils its marvellous beauty,
  2. even with its fruit destroyed it votes for its own worth, if it comes at last to the winter fire; or if it is placed with upright columns belonging to a ruler, performing a slavish service among foreign walls, having deserted its native place.
  3. But you are a most opportune healer, and Apollo Paean honors your light. One must apply a gentle hand to tend a sore wound: it is easy even for weak men to shake a city to its foundations, but to set it in its place again is indeed a difficult struggle, unless a god suddenly comes to guide its rulers.
  4. These blessings are woven out for you: be bold, and apply all earnestness for the sake of fortunate Cyrene.
  5. Of the sayings of Homer, take to heart and heed this one: “a noble messenger,” he said, “brings the greatest honor to every business.” Even the Muse is exalted by a correct message. Cyrene
  6. and the most renowned hall of Battus recognized the just mind of Damophilus; a young man among boys, and in counsels like an elder who has lived a hundred years, he robs the evil tongue of its brash voice, and he has learned to hate the arrogant;
  7. he does not struggle against good men, or postpone any decisive action, for the right moment has a brief measure in the eyes of men. He recognizes it well, and he serves it as an attendant, not a slave. But they say that this is the most grievous thing of all, to recognize what is good and to be debarred from it by compulsion. And truly he, like Atlas,
  8. now strains against the weight of the sky, far from his ancestral land and his possessions. But immortal Zeus freed the Titans; and in time, when the wind ceases, there are changes
  9. of sails. But he prays that at some time, when he has drained to the dregs his cup of ruinous affliction, he will see his home, and, joining the symposium near the spring of Apollo,
  10. yield his spirit often to the joys of youth, and attain peace, holding the well-made lyre among his skillful fellow citizens, bringing no pain to anyone, and himself unharmed by his townsmen. Then he would tell you, Arcesilas, what a fountain of immortal song he found, when he was recently entertained by his host at Thebes .