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GILBERT WEST. .
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 Thi ode is inscribed to Hiero of Syracuse, who,
daughter Hippodlarnia, settling at Pisa, and in the seventy-third Olympiad, obtained the
being there honoured as a god. From this reliavictory in the race of single horses.
tion the poet falls again naturally into an account of the Olympic games; and, after a short retlection upon the felicity of those who gainel
the Olympic crown, returns to the praises of The subject of this ode being a victory obtained by Hiero; with which, and some occasional reflecHiero 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 otber 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, Richest offspring of the mine,
Water claims the highest praise : O my heart, if thou art inclined to sing of games, 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
Through the night's involving cloud, ry; especially’as all the guests at Hiero's table First in lustre and esteem, (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 bis 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 entertainmeut 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 liieru's feastful board.
And with amorous embrace
Far away the prize convey'd.
To the high palace of all-honour'd Jove
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,
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;
À 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 seetbing food O’er the dusty course he drove;
That thy mangled limbs were cast, And where deck'd with olives flows,
Thence by each voracious god Alpheus, thy immortal flood,
On the board in messes plac'd. On his lord's triumphant brows
But shall I the blest abuse? The Olympic wreath bestow'd:
With such tales to stain her song
Far, far be it from my Muse! Ilicro's royal brows, whose care
Vengeance waits th’ unhallow'd tongue. Tends the courser's noble breed;
ANTISTROPHE IV. 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, His 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, Clotho bless'd the healing vase.
O’er his head with pride elate,
Jove, great father of the skies, Forth from the cauldron to new life restor'd,
llung a rock's enormous weight. Pleas'd with the lustre of his ivory arm Young Pelops rose; so ancient tales record,
Now, rainly labouring with incessant pains And oft these tales unheeding mortals charm; Th’impending rock's expected fall to slun, While gaudy Fiction, deck'd with art,
The fourth distressful instance he remains And dressed in every winning grace,
Of wretched man by impious pride undone;
Who to his mortal guests convey'd
Th' incorruptible food of gods,
On which in their divine abodes Add to these sweet Poesy,
Himself erst feasting was immortal made. Smooth enchantress of mankind,
STROPHE V. Clad in whose false majesty
Vain is he who hopes to cheat Fables easy credit find.
The all-seeing eyes of Heaven: But cre long the rolling year
From Olympus' blissful seat, The deceitful tale explodes;
For his father's theft was driven Then, ( 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 So be free from guilty stain.
On each cheek the downy shade)
Ever burning for the young,
Hymen's fires his heart invade,
Anxious then th' Elean bride
From her royal sire to gain,
Near the billow-beaten side
Of the foam-besilver'd main,
Darkling and alone he stood,
Jurocating oft the name
Of the trident-bearing god;
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, Mighty god, my cause befriend.
Plac'd on Chronium's sunny hill,
Thee in sweeter verse to praise, " With strong prevention let thy band 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 contin'd,
Let not thy hopes to further views extend.
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, Whoin 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 Agrigen: 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 inortal he should sing, (with Wbo, 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 wie 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 herpes. 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
his family, (a topic seldom or never onnitted by E PODE 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 Alpbeus rais'd, from every clime repairs
seems, underwent many difficulties, before they The wondering stranger, to behold
could build, and setile 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 now,
terity, by recompensing their former atllictions 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 reparation that can be made to Garlands of Lolian 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 Fale. 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 repais. 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 inclination 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 imong 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 Afliction's thorny road some of whose inhabitants are likewise mentioned
In bitter anguish once they trod. by way of inciting Theron to an imitation of But bliss superior hath 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 plac'd, 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 defac'd. from his subject, recalls his Muse, and returns
There, with immortal charms imprur'd, to the praise of Theron; whose beneficence and
Inhabitant of Heaven's serene abovies generosity, he tells us, were not to be equalled :
She dwells, hy 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,
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,
Immortal 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, Who, 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 conquesi 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, Fai'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 fowering 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,
Again reversing every gracious deed,
Woe to thy wretched sires and shame decreed;
What time, encountering on the Procian plain,
By luckless Oedipus was Laius slain.
To parricide by Fortune blindly led,
His father's precious life the hero shed;
Doom'd to fulfill the oracles of Heaven, (given. lo destind order born,
To Thebes' ill-destin'd king by Pythian Phæbus
But with a fierce avenging eye
Erionys the foul murder view'd,
And bade his warring offspring die,
By mutual rage subdued.
Pierc'd by his brother's hateful steel
Thus haughty Polynices fell.
Surviv'd his falling sire,
In youthful games to win immortal praise; Peace on their future life, and wealth bestow; Renown in martial combats to acquire, And bid their present moments calmly flow.
And high in power th’ Adrastian house to raise.
E PODE IV.
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 Aute,
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 gain'd the prize in fam’d Olympia's Their unpolluted hands and clustering locks adorne
Such is the righteous will, the high 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 shar'd,
There, in the number of the blest enrollid, Copartner in immortal praise,
Live Cadmus, Peleus, beroes 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: 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 fame,
And Memnon, offspring of the morn, And shine the brightest lamp in all the sphere of
In torrid Ethiopia bornfame.
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 knows 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 logracious learning storld, Where striet inquiring Justice shall bewray Like crows and ch: ttering jays, with clamorous The crimes cominitted 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 tix thine eye,
Thither let all thy quiver fly.
And thou, O Agrigentum, bear,
While, 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 Therou’s praise ;
One to the acts of friendship so inclina'd, While, banish'd by the Fates from joy and rest, So fain'd for bounteous deeds, and love of human Intolerable woes the impious soul infest
kind. ANTIS TROPHE IV. 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 from fraudful wrong Wbile, by some frantic spirits borne along And guilt's contagion pure;
To mad attempts of violence and wrong.
She turn'd against him Faction's raging food,
And strove 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 bouinteous virtues Whose fertile soil immortal fruitage bears;