Pythian

Pindar

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

  1. For in wrestling you follow in the footsteps of your mother's brothers, and you do not disgrace Theognetus at Olympia , nor the bold-limbed victory of Cleitomachus at the Isthmus. And by exalting the clan of the Midylids, you fulfill the prophecy which once Amphiaraus the son of Oicles spoke in riddling words, when he saw, in seven-gated
  2. Thebes , those sons standing by their spears,
  3. when they came from Argos on that second march, the Epigoni. Thus he spoke, while they were fighting: “By nature the genuine spirit of the fathers
  4. is conspicuous in the sons. I clearly see Alcmaeon, wielding a dappled serpent on his blazing shield, the first at the gates of Cadmus.
  5. And he who suffered in the earlier disaster, the hero Adrastus, now has the tidings of a better
  6. bird of omen. But at home his luck will be the opposite. For he alone of the Danaan army will gather the bones of his dead son, by the fortune sent from the gods, and come with his people unharmed
  7. to the spacious streets of Argos , the city of Abas.” So spoke Amphiaraus. And I myself rejoice as I fling garlands over Alcmaeon and sprinkle him with song, because this hero is my neighbor and guardian of my possessions, and he met me when I was going to the songful navel of the earth,
  8. and he touched on prophecies with his inborn arts.
  9. And you, Apollo, shooting from afar, you who govern the glorious temple, hospitable to all, in the hollows of Pytho , there you granted the greatest of joys.
  10. And before, in your festival at home, you brought him a coveted gift for the pentathlon. Lord, I pray that with a willing mind
  11. I may observe a certain harmony on every step of my way.
  12. Justice stands beside the sweet-singing victory procession. I pray that the gods may regard your fortunes without envy, Xenarces. For if anyone has noble achievements without long toil, to many he seems to be a skillful man among the foolish,
  13. arming his life with the resources of right counsel. But these things do not depend on men. It is a god who grants them; raising up one man and throwing down another. Enter the struggle with due measure. You have won a prize of honor at Megara , and in the valley of Marathon; and at the local contest of Hera
  14. you were dominant in action with three victories, Aristomenes.
  15. And you fell from above on the bodies of four opponents, with grim intent; to them no cheerful homecoming was allotted, as it was to you, at the Pythian festival;
  16. nor, when they returned to their mothers, did sweet laughter awaken joy. They slink along the back-streets, away from their enemies, bitten by misfortune.
  17. But he who has gained some fine new thing in his great opulence
  18. flies beyond hope on the wings of his manliness, with ambitions that are greater than wealth. But the delight of mortals grows in a short time, and then it falls to the ground, shaken by an adverse thought.
  19. Creatures of a day. What is someone? What is no one? Man is the dream of a shadow. But when the brilliance given by Zeus comes, a shining light is on man, and a gentle lifetime. Dear mother Aegina, convey this city on her voyage of freedom, with the blessing of Zeus, and the ruler Aeacus,
  20. and Peleus, and good Telamon, and Achilles.