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ODES OF PINDAR.
Olympiacæ miratus præmia palmæ.
VIRG. Georg. I. iii.
THE FIRST OLYMPIC ODE.
Pelops vanquishing Oenomaus, king of Pisa, in
the chariot-race, and by that victory gaining his This ode is inscribed to Hiero of Syracuse, who,
daughter Hippodarnia, settling at Pisa, and in the seventy-third Olympiad, obtained the
being there honoured as a god. From this relavictory in the race of single horses.
tion the poet falls again naturally into an account of the Olympic games; and, after a short
reflection upon the felicity of those who gainel ARGUMENT.
the Olympic crown, returns to the praises of The subject of this ode being a victory obtained by Hiero; with which, and some occasional reflec
Hiero in the Olympic games, Pindar sets out tions on the prosperity of Hiero, to whom he with showing the superiority and pre-eminence wishes a continuance of his good fortune and a of those games over all others; among which, long reign, he closes his ode, he says, they hold the same rank as water (which, according to the opinion of Thales and other philosophers, was the original of all Chief of Nature's works divine, things) among the elements, and gold among the gifts of Fortune. Wherefore, continues he,
Water claims the highest praise: O my heart, if thou art inclined to sing of games, Richest offspring of the mine, it would be as absurd to think of any other but
Gold, like fire, whose flashing rays the Olympic games, as to look for stars in the From afar conspicuous gleam, sky when the Sun is shining in his meridian glo- First in lustre and esteem,
Through the night's involving cloud, ry; especially as all the guests at Hiero's table (among which number it is not improbable that
Decks the treasures of the proud: Pindar was one at this time) are singing odes So among the lists of Fame upon that subject. From the mention of Hiero,
Pisa's honour'd games excell; he falls into a short panegyric upon his virtues, Then to Pisa's glorious name and then passes to what gave occasion to this
Tune, O Muse, thy sounding shell. ode, viz. his Olympic victory; under which head he makes honourable mention of his horse Who along the desert air Phrenicus, (for that was his name) who gained Seeks the faded starry train, the victory, and spread his master's glory as far When the Sun's meridian car as Pisa, or Olympia, the ancient residence of Round illumes th' ethereal plain? Pelops the son of Tantalus; into a long account Who a nobler theme can choose of whom he digresses: and ridiculing, as absurd Than Olympia's sacred games?. and impious, the story of his having been cut in What more apt to fire the Muse, pieces by his father Tantalus, boiled and served When her various songs she frames ? up at an entertainment given by him to the songs in strains of wisdom drest, gods, relates another story, which he thought Great Saturnius to record, more to the honour both of Pelops and the gods. And by each rejoicing guest This relation he concludes with the account of Sung at lliero's feastful board.
And with amorous embrace In pastoral Sicilia's fruitful soil
Far away the prize convey'd, The righteous sceptre of imperial power
EPODE III. Great Hiero weilding, with illustrious toil
To the high palace of all-honour'd Jove Plucks every blooming virtue's fairest flower,
With Pelops swift the golden chariot rolls, His royal splendour to adorn:
There, like more ancient Ganymede, above Nor doth his skilful hand refuse
For Neptune he prepares the nectar'd bowls. Acquaintance with the tuneful Muse,
But for her vanquish'd son, in vain When round the mirthful board the harp is borne.
When long his tender mother sought, STROPHE 11.
And tidings of his fate were brought Down, then, from the glittering nail
By none of all her much-inquiring train; Take, O Muse, thy Dorian lyre;
STROPHE Iy. If the love of Pisa's vale
O'er the envious realm with speed Pleasing transports can inspire;
A malicious rumour flew, Or the rapid-footed steed
That, bis heavenly guests to feed, Could with joy thy bosom move,
Thee thy impious father slew: When, unwhipp'd, with native speed
In a cauldron's seething flood O'er the dusty course he drove;
That thy mangled linbs were cast, And where deck'd with olives flows,
Thence by each voracioas god Alpheus, thy immortal flood,
On the board in messes plac'd. On his lord's triumphant brows
But shall I the blest abuse?
With such tales to stain her song
Far, far be it from my Muse !
Vengeance waits th’ unhallow'd tongue. Tends the courser's noble breed;
ANTISTROPHE 1v. Pleas'd to nurse the pregnant mare,
Sure, if e'er to man befel Pleas'd to train the youthful steed.
Honour from the powers divine, Now on that heroic land
Who on high Olympus dwell, Ilis far-beaming glories beat,
Tantalus, the lot was thine. Where with all his Lydian band
But, alas! his mortal sense, Pelops fix'd his honour'd seat:
All too feeble to digest Pelops, by the god belov'd
The delights of bliss immense, Whose strong arms the globe embrace;
Sicken'd at the heavenly feast, When, by Jove's high orders mov'd,
Whence, his folly to chastise,
O'er his head with pride elate,
Jove, great father of the skies,
Hung a rock's enormous weight. Pleas'd with the lustre of his ivory arm Young Pelops rose; so ancient tales record, Now, vainly labouring with incessant pains And oft these tales unheeding mortals charm; Th’ impending rock's expected fall to shun, While gaudy Fiction, deck'd with art,
The fourth distressful instance he remains And dressid in every winning grace,
Of wretched man by impious pride undone; To Truth's unornamented face
Who to his mortal guests convey'd
Th' incorruptible food of gods,
On which in their divine abodes
Himself erst feasting was immortal made. Smooth enchantress of mankind, Clad in whose false majesty
Vain is he who hopes to cheat Fables easy credit find.
The all-seeing eyes of Heaven: But ere long the rolling year
From Olympus blissful seat, The deceitful tale explodes;
For his father's theft was driven Then, O man, with holy fear
Pelops, to reside once more Touch the characters of gods.
With frail man's swift-passing race, Of their heavenly natures say
Where (for now youth's blowing flower Nought unseemly, nought profane,
Deck'd with opening pride his face; So shalt thou due honour pay,
And with manly beauty sprung
On each check the downy shade)
Ever burning for the young,
Hymen's fires his heart invade. I thy story will record :
ANTISTROPHE V. How the gods, invited, came
Anxious then th' Elean bride To thy father's genial board;
From her royal sire to gain, In his turn the holy feast
Near the billow-beaten side When on Sipylus he spread;
Of the foam-besilver'd main, To the tables of the blest
Darkling and alone he stood, In his turn with honour led.
Turocating oft the name Neptune then thy lovely face,
Of the trident-bearing god; Son of Tantalus, survey'd,
Straight the trident-bearer came;
E PODE VII.
if the sweet delights of lote
Heaven, O king, with tender care Which from beauty's queen descend,
Waits thy wishes to fulfil. Can thy yielding bosom inove,
Then ere long will I prepare,
Plac'd on Chronium's sunny hill,
Thee in sweeter verse to praise, " With strong prevention let thy hand control
Following thy victorious steeds; The brazen, lance of Pisa's furious king;
If to prosper all thy ways
Still thy guardian god proceeds.
Fate hath in various stations rank'd mankind: Already thirteen youths have died,
In royal power the long gradations end. Yet he persists with cruel pride,
By that horizon prudently conhn'd, Hippodamia’s nuptials to defer.
Let not thy hopes to further views extend.
Long mayst thou wear the regal crown!
And may thy bard his wish receive, “ In the paths of dangerous fame
With thee, and such as thee to live, Trembling cowards never tread:
Around his native Greece for wisdom known! Yet since all of mortal frame
Must be number'd with the dead, Who in dark inglorious shade Would his useless life consume,
THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE. And, with deedless years decay d,
This ode is inscribed to Theron king of Agrigens Sink unhonour'd to the tomb?
tum, who came off conqueror in the race of I that shameful lot disdain;
chariots drawn by four horses, in the seventyI this doubtful list will prove;
The poet, in answer to the question, What God, Thus he pray'd, and mov'd the god;
what hero, and what mortal he should sing, (with Who, his bold attempt to grace,
which words this ode immediately begins) having On the favour'd youth bestow'd
named Jupiter and Hercules, not only as the first Steeds unwearied in the race;
of gods and heroes, but as they were peculiarly Steeds, with winged speed endued;
related to his subject; the one being the proHarness'd to a golden car.
tector, and the other the founder, of the Olympic So was Pisa's king subdued ;
games; falls directly into the praises of Theron: Pelops so obtain'd the fair;
by this method artfully insinuating, that Theron From whose womb a noble brood,
held the same rank among all mortals, as the Six illustrious brothers came,
two former did among the gods and heroes. In All with virtuous minds' endow'd,
enumerating the many excellencies of Theron, Leaders all of mighty fame.
the poet having made mention of the nobility of
bis family, (a topic seldom or never omitted by EPODE VI.
Pindar) takes occasion to lay before him the vaNow in the solemn service of the dead,
rious accidents and vicissitudes of human life, Rank'd with immortal gods, great Pelops shares; by instances drawn from the history of his own While to his altar, on the watery bed
ancestors, the founders of Agrigentum ; who, it Of Alpheus rais'd, from every clime repairs seems, underwent many difficulties, before they The wondering stranger, to behold
could build, and settle themselves in that city; The glories of th’ Olympic plain;
where afterwards, indeed, they made a very conWhere, the resplendent wreath to gain, siderable figure, and were rewarded for their Contend the swift, the active, and the bold.
past sufferings with wealth and honour; accordSTROPHE VII.
ing to which method of proceeding, the poet Happy he, whose glorious brow
(alluding to some misfortunes that had befallen Pisa's honour'd chaplets crown!
Theron) beseeches Jupiter to deal with their posCalm his stream of life shall flow,
terity, by recompensing their former affictions Shelter'd by his high renown.
with a series of peace and happiness for the fuThat alone is bliss supreme,
ture; in the enjoyment of which they would soon Which, unknowing to decay,
lose the memory of whatever they had suffered Still with ever-shining beam
in times past : the constant effect of prosperity Gladdens each succeeding day.
being to make men forget their past adversity; Then for happy Hiero weave
which is the only reparətion that can be made to Garlands of Folian strains ;
them for the miseries they have undergone. The Him these honours to receive
truth of this position he makes appear fr m the The Olympic law ordains.
history of the same family; by the further in
stances of Semele, Ino, and Thersander; and ANTISTROPHE VII.
lastly, of Theron himself, whose former cares No more worthy of her lay
and troubles, he insinuates, are repaid by his Can the Muse a mortal find;
present happiness and victory in the Olympic Greater in imperial sway,
games: for his success in which, the poet howRicher in a virtuous mind ;
ever intimates, that Theron was no less indebted
to his riches than to his virtue, since he was The deed once done no power can abrogate, enabled by the one, as well as disposed by the Not the great sire of all things, Time, nor Fate. other, to undergo the trouble and expense that But sweet oblivion of disastrous care, was necessary to qualify him for a candidate for And good succeeding, may the wrong repair. the Olympic crown in particular, and, in gene- Lost in the brightness of returning day, ral, for the performance of any great and The gloomy terrours of the night decay; worthy action: for the words are general. From When Jove commands the Sun of joy to rise, whence he takes occasion to tell him, that the And opens into smiles the cloud-envelop'd skies. man who possesses these treasures, viz. riches and virtue, that is, the means and the inclina
STROPHE 11. tion of doing good and great actions, has the
Thy hapless daughters' various fate further satisfaction of knowing, that he shall be
This moral truth, o Cadmus, shows; rewarded for it hereafter; and go among the
Who vested now with god-like state • heroes into the Fortunate Islands, (the Para
On heavenly thrones repose; dise of the ancients) which he here describes; And yet Affliction's thorny road some of whose inbabitants are likewise mentioned In bitter anguish once they trod. by way of inciting Therop to an imitation of
But bliss superior bath eras'd their actions; as Peleus, Cadmus, and Achilles. The memory of their woe; Here the poet, finding himself, as well from the
While Semele, on high Olympus placid, abundance of matter, as from the fertility of
To heavenly zephyrs bids her tresses flow, his own genius, in danger of wandering too far Once by devouring lightnings all defacd. from his subject, recalls bis Muse, and returns
There, with immortal charms improv'd, to the praise of Theron; whose beneficence and
Inhabitant of Heaven's serene abodes generosity, he tells us, were not to be equalled :
She dwells, by virgin Pallas lov'd, with which, and with some reflections upon the
Lord by Saturnius, father of the gods; enemies and maligners of Theron, he concludes.
Lord by her youthful son, whose brors divine, In twisting ivy bound, with joy eternal shine.
To Ino, goddess of the main, Y. choral hymns, harmonious lays,
The Fates an equal lot decree, Sweet rulers of the lyric string,
Rank'd with old Ocean's Nereid train, What god? what hero's god-like praise ?
Bright daughters of the sea. What mortal shall we sing?
Deep in the pearly realms below, With Jove, with Pisa's guardian god,
Iinmortal happiness to know, Begin, O Muse, th’ Olympic Ode.
But here our day's appointed end Alcides, Jove's heroic son,
To mortals is unknown; The second honours claims;
Whether distress our period shall attend, Hho, offering up the spils from Augeas won,
And in tumultuous storms our sun go down, Establish'd to his sire th' Olympic Games;
Or to the shades in peaceful calms descend. Where bright in wreaths of conques Theron shone. For various flows the tide of life, Then of victorious Theron sing!
Obnoxious still to Fortune's veering gale; Of Theron hospitable, just, and great!
Now rough with anguish, care, and strife, Fam'd Agrigentum's honour'd king,
O’erwhelming waves the shatter'd bark assail : The prop and bulwark of her towering state; Now glide serene and smooth the limpid streams; A righteous prince! whose flowering virtues And on the surface play Apollo's golden beams.
grace The venerable stem of his illustrious race:
Thus, Fate, o Theron, that with bliss divine ANTISTROPHE I.
And glory once enrich'd thy ancient line, A race, long exercis'd in woes,
Again reversing every gracious deed, Ere, smiling o'er her kindred food,
Woe to thy wretched sires and shame decreed; The mansion of their wish'd repose,
What time, encountering on the Phocian plain, Their sacred city stood;
By luckless Oedipus was Laius slain. And through amaz'd Sicilia shone
To parricide by Fortune blindly led, The lustre of their fair renown.
His father's precious life the hero shed; Thence, as the milder Fates decreed,
Doom'd to fulfill the oracles of Heaven, Tgiven. In destin'd order born,
To Thebes' ill-destin'd king by Pythian Phobus Auspicion hours with smoother pace succeed; While power and wealth the noble line adorn,
STROPHE IIT. And publ's favour, Virtue's richest meed.
But with a fierce avenging eye O son of Rhea, god supreme !
Erionys the foul murder view'd, Whise kingly hands th’ Olympian sceptre wield!
And bade his warring offspring die, Bever'd on Alpheus' sacred stream!
By mutual rage subdued. And honour'd mist in Pisa's listed field!
Pierc'd by his brother's hateful steel
Thus haughty Polynices fell.
Surviv'd his falling sire,
In youthful games to win immortal praise;
And high in power th' Adrastian house to raise.
Forth from this venerable root
Trees, from whose flaming branches flow, Ænesidamus and his Theron spring;
Array'd in golden bloom, refulgent beams; For whom I touch my Dorian flute,
And flowers of golden hue, that blow For whom triumphant strike my sounding string. On the fresh borders of their parent streams; Due to his glory is th’ Aonian strain,
These, by the blest in solemn triumph worn, Whose virtue gaind the prize in fanı'd Olympia's Their unpolluted hands and clustering locks adorne plain.
Such is the righteous will, the bigh behest, Alone in fam'd Olympia's sand"
Of Rhadamanthus, ruler of the blest; The victor's chaplet Theron wore;
The just assessor of the throne divine, But with him on the Isthmian strand,
On which, high rais'd above all gods, recline, On sweet Castalia's shore,
Link'd in the golden bands of wedded love, The verdant crowns, the proud reward
The great progenitors of thundering Jove. Of victory, his brother shard,
There, in the number of the blest enroll'd, Copartner in immortal praise,
Live Cadmus, Peleus, heroes fam'd of old; As warm'd with equal zeal
And young Achilles, to those isles remov'd The light-foot courser's generous breed to raise, Soon as, by Thetis won, relenting Jove approv'd : And whirl around the goal the fervid wheel. The painful strife Olympia's wreath repays:
STROPHE v. But wealth with nobler virtue join'd
Achilles, whose resistless might The means and fair occasions must procure;
Troy's stable pillar overthrew, In glory's chase must aid the mind,
The valiant Hector, firm in fight, Expense, and toil, and danger to endure;
And hardy Cygnus slew, With mingling rays they feed each other's flame,
And Memnon, offspring of the morn,
In torrid Ethiopia bornAnd shine the brightest lamp in all the sphere of
Yet in my well-stor'd breast remain
Materials to supply
· With copious argument my moral strain, The happy mortal, who these treasures shares, Whose mystic sense the wise alone descry, Well koows what fate attends his generous cares; Still to the vulgar sounding harsh and vain. Knows, that beyond the verge of life and light,
He only, in whose ample breast In the sad regions of infernal night,
Nature hath true inherent genius pour'd, The fierce, impracticable, churlish mind
The praise of wisdom may contest; Avenging gods and penal woes shall find ;
Not they who, with loguacious learning storid, Where strict inquiring Justice shall bewray
Like crows and chattering jays, with clamorous The crimes committed in the realms of day.
cries Th' impartial judge the rigid law declares, Pursue the bird of Jove, that sails along the skies. No inore to be revers'd by penitence or prayers.
Come on! thy brightest shafts prepare,
And bend, O Muse, thy sounding bow;
Say, through what paths of liquid air
Our arrows shall we throw
On Agrigentum fix thine eye,
Thither let all thy quiver fly.
And thou, O Agrigentum, bear,
Wbile, with religions dread,
And taught the laws of justice to revere,
Swear, that no state, resolving o'er
The long memorials of recorded days,
Can show in all her boasted store
A name to parallel thy Theron's praise ;
One to the acts of friendship so inclin'd, While, banish'd by the Fates from joy and rest, So fam'd for bounteous deeds, and love of human Intolerable woes the impious soul infest.
kind. ANTISTROPHE IV.
EPODE V. But they who, in true virtue strong,
Yet hath obstreperous Envy sought to drown The third purgation can endure;
The goodly music of his sweet renown; And keep their minds froin fraudful wrong While, by some frantic spirits borne along And guilt's contagion pure;
To mad attempts of violence and wrong,
She turn'd against bim Faction's raging food,
And strore with evil deeds to conquer good.
But who can number every sandy grain
Wash'd by Sicilia's hoarse-resounding main? Purge the ble t island from corroding cares,
Or who can Theron's generous works express, And fan the bosom of each verdant plain : | And tell how many hearts his bounteous virtues Whose fertile soil immortal fruitage bears;