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POEMS

OF

GILBERT WEST

ODES OF PINDAR.

Olympiacæ miratus præmia palmæ.

THE FIRST OLYMPIC ODE.

This ode is inscribed to Hiero of Syracuse, who, in the seventy-third Olympiad, obtained the victory in the race of single horses.

ARGUMENT.

The subject of this ode being a victory obtained by Hiero in the Olympic games, Pindar sets out with showing the superiority and pre-eminence of those games over all others; among which, he says, they hold the same rank as water (which, according to the opinion of Thales and the original of all other philosophers, was things) among the elements, and gold among the gifts of Fortune. Wherefore, continues he, O my heart, if thou art inclined to sing of games, it would be as absurd to think of any other but the Olympic games, as to look for stars in the sky when the Sun is shining in his meridian glory; especially as all the guests at Hiero's table (among which number it is not improbable that Pindar was one at this time) are singing odes upon that subject. From the mention of Hiero, he falls into a short panegyric upon his virtues, and then passes to what gave occasion to this ode, viz. his Olympic victory; under which head he makes honourable mention of his horse Phrenicus, (for that was his name) who gained the victory, and spread his master's glory as far as Pisa, or Olympia, the ancient residence of Pelops the son of Tantalus; into a long account of whom he digresses: and ridiculing, as absurd and impious, the story of his having been cut in pieces by his father Tantalus, boiled and served up at an entertainment given by him to the gods, relates another story, which he thought more to the honour both of Pelops and the gods. This relation he concludes with the account of

VIRG. Georg. 1. iii.

Pelops vanquishing Oenomaus, king of Pisa, in the chariot race, and by that victory gaining his daughter Hippodamia, settling at Pisa, and being there honoured as a god. From this relation the poet falls again naturally into an account of the Olympic games; and, after a short reflection upon the felicity of those who gained the Olympic crown, returns to the praises of Hiero; with which, and some occasional reficetions on the prosperity of Hiero, to whom he wishes a continuance of his good fortune and a long reign, he closes his ode,

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Vain is he who hopes to cheat

The all-seeing eyes of Heaven: From Olympus' blissful seat,

For his father's theft was driven Pelops, to reside once more

With frail man's swift-passing race, Where (for now youth's blowing flower Deck'd with opening pride his face; And with manly beauty sprung

On each cheek the downy shade)
Ever burning for the young,
Hymen's fires his heart invade.

ANTISTROPHE V.
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,
Juvocating oft the name
Of the trident-bearing god;
Straight the trident-bearer came:

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Heaven, O king, with tender care
Waits thy wishes to fulfil.
Then ere long will I prepare,

Plac'd on Chronium's sunny hill, Thee in sweeter verse to praise, Following thy victorious steeds; If to prosper all thy ways

Still thy guardian god proceeds.

EPODE VII.

Fate hath in various stations rank'd mankind:
In royal power the long gradations end.
By that horizon prudently contin'd,

Let not thy hopes to further views extend. Long mayst thou wear the regal crown!

And may thy bard his wish receive, With thee, and such as thee to live, Around his native Greece for wisdom known!

THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE.

This ode is inscribed to Theron king of Agrigen tum, who came off conqueror in the race of chariots drawn by four horses, in the seventyseventh Olympiad.

ARGUMENT.

In

The poet, in answer to the question, What God, what hero, and what mortal he should sing, (with which words this ode immediately begins) having named Jupiter and Hercules, not only as the first of gods and heroes, but as they were peculiarly related to his subject; the one being the protector, and the other the founder, of the Olympic games; falls directly into the praises of Theron: by this method artfully insinuating, that Theron held the same rank among all mortals, as the two former did among the gods and heroes. enumerating the many excellencies of Theron, the poet having made mention of the nobility of his family, (a topic seldom or never omitted by Pindar) takes occasion to lay before him the various accidents and vicissitudes of human life, by instances drawn from the history of his own ancestors, the founders of Agrigentum; who, it seems, underwent many difficulties, before they could build, and settle themselves in that city; where afterwards, indeed, they made a very considerable figure, and were rewarded for their past sufferings with wealth and honour; according to which method of proceeding, the poet (alluding to some misfortunes that had befallen Theron) beseeches Jupiter to deal with their posterity, by recompensing their former afflictions with a series of peace and happiness for the future; in the enjoyment of which they would soon lose the memory of whatever they had suffered in times past: the constant effect of prosperity being to make men forget their past adversity; which is the only reparation that can be made to them for the miseries they have undergone. The truth of this position he makes appear from the history of the same family; by the further instances of Semele, Ino, and Thersander; and lastly, of Theron himself, whose former cares and troubles, he insinuates, are repaid by his present happiness and victory in the Olympic games: for his success in which, the poet however intimates, that Theron was no less indebted

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to his riches than to his virtue, since he was enabled by the one, as well as disposed by the other, to undergo the trouble and expense that was necessary to qualify him for a candidate for the Olympic crown in particular, and, in general, for the performance of any great and worthy action: for the words are general. From whence he takes occasion to tell him, that the man who possesses these treasures, viz. riches and virtue, that is, the means and the inclination of doing good and great actions, has the further satisfaction of knowing, that he shall be rewarded for it hereafter; and go among the heroes into the Fortunate Islands, (the Paradise of the ancients) which he here describes; some of whose inhabitants are likewise mentioned by way of inciting Theron to an imitation of their actions; as Peleus, Cadmus, and Achilles. Here the poet, finding himself, as well from the abundance of matter, as from the fertility of his own genius, in danger of wandering too far from his subject, recalls his Muse, and returns to the praise of Theron; whose beneficence and generosity, he tells us, were not to be equalled: with which, and with some reflections upon the enemies and maligners of Theron, he concludes.

STROPHE I.

YE choral hymns, harmonious lays,

Sweet rulers of the lyric string,
What god? what hero's god-like praise?
What mortal shall we sing?
With Jove, with Pisa's guardian god,
Regin, Muse, th' Olympic Ode.
Alrides, Jove's heroic son,

The second honours claims;

Who, offering up the spoils from Augeas won,
Establish'd to his sire th' Olympic Games;
Where bright in wreaths of conquest Theron shone.
Then of victorious Theron sing!

Of Theron hospitable, just, and great!
Fam'd Agrigentum's honour'd king,
The prop and bulwark of her towering state;
A righteous prince! whose flowering virtues

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The deed once done no power can abrogate,
Not the great sire of all things, Time, nor Fate.
But sweet oblivion of disastrous care,
And good succeeding, may the wrong repair.
Lost in the brightness of returning day,
The gloomy terrours of the night decay;
When Jove commands the Sun of joy to rise,
And opens into smiles the cloud-envelop❜d skies.

STROPHE II.

Thy hapless daughters' various fate
This moral truth, O Cadmus, shows;
Who vested now with god-like state

On heavenly thrones repose;
And yet Affliction's thorny road
In bitter anguish once they trod.
But bliss superior hath eras'd

The memory of their woe;
While Semele, on high Olympus plac'd,
To heavenly zephyrs bids her tresses flow,
Once by devouring lightnings all defac'd.

There, with immortal charms improv'd,
Inhabitant of Heaven's serene abodes

She dwells, by virgin Pallas lov'd,
Lov'd by Saturnius, father of the gods;
Lov'd by her youthful son, whose brows divine,
In twisting ivy bound, with joy eternal shine.

ANTISTROPHE II.

To Ino, goddess of the main,
The Fates an equal lot decree,
Rank'd with old Ocean's Nereid train,
Bright daughters of the sea.
Deep in the pearly realms below,
Immortal happiness to know.
But here our day's appointed end
To mortals is unknown;

Whether distress our period shall attend,
And in tumultuous storms our sun go down,
Or to the shades in peaceful calms descend.
For various flows the tide of life,
Obnoxious still to Fortune's veering gale;

Now rough with anguish, care, and strife, O'erwhelming waves the shatter'd bark assail : Now glide serene and smooth the limpid streams; And on the surface play Apollo's golden beams,

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Forth from this venerable root
Ænesidamus and his Theron spring;
For whom I touch my Dorian flute,

For whom triumphant strike my sounding string.
Due to his glory is th' Aonian strain,
Whose virtue gain'd the prize in fam'd Olympia's
plain.

ANTISTROPHE III.

Alone in fam'd Olympia's sand
The victor's chaplet Theron wore;
But with him on the Isthmian strand,
On sweet Castalia's shore,

The verdant crowns, the proud reward
Of victory, his brother shar'd,
Copartner in immortal praise,

As warm'd with equal zeal

The light-foot courser's generous breed to raise,
And whirl around the goal the fervid wheel.
The painful strife Olympia's wreath repays:
But wealth with nobler virtue join'd
The means and fair occasions must procure;
In glory's chase must aid the mind,
Expense, and toil, and danger to endure;

With mingling rays they feed each other's flame, And shine the brightest lamp in all the sphere of fame.

EPODE III.

The happy mortal, who these treasures shares, Well knows what fate attends his generous cares; Knows, that beyond the verge of life and light, In the sad regions of infernal night,

The fierce, impracticable, churlish mind Avenging gods and penal woes shall find; Where strict inquiring Justice shall bewray The crimes committed in the realms of day. Th' impartial judge the rigid law declares, No more to be revers'd by penitence or prayers.

STROPHE IV.

But in the happy fields of light,
Where Phoebus with an equal ray
Hluminates the balmy night,

And gilds the cloudless day,
In peaceful, unmolested joy,

The good their smiling hours employ.
Them no uneasy wants constrain

To vex th' ungrateful soil,

To tempt the dangers of the billowy main,
And break their strength with unabating toil,
A frail disastrous being to maintain.

But in their joyous calm abodes,

The recompense of justice they receive;
And in the fellowship of gods
Without a tear eternal ages live.

While, banish'd by the Fates from joy and rest, Intolerable woes the impious soul infest.

ANTISTROPHE IV.

But they who, in true virtue strong,
The third purgation can endure;

And keep their minds from fraudful wrong
And guilt's contagion pure;

They through the starry paths of Jove
To Saturn's blissful seat remove;
Where fragrant breezes, vernal airs,

Sweet children of the main,
Purge the blet island from corroding cares,
And fan the bosom of each verdant plain:
Whose fertile soil immortal fruitage bears;

Trees, from whose flaming branches flow, Array'd in golden bloom, refulgent beams;

And flowers of golden hue, that blow On the fresh borders of their parent streams; These, by the blest in solemn triumph worn, Their unpolluted hands and clustering locks adorn

EPODE IV.

Such is the righteous will, the high behest, Of Rhadamanthus, ruler of the blest; The just assessor of the throne divine, On which, high rais'd above all gods, recline, Link'd in the golden bands of wedded love, The great progenitors of thundering Jove. There, in the number of the blest enroll'd, Live Cadmus, Peleus, heroes fam'd of old ; And young Achilles, to those isles remov'd Soon as, by Thetis won, relenting Jove approv'd:

STROPHE V.

Achilles, whose resistless might
Troy's stable pillar overthrew,
The valiant Hector, firm in fight,

And hardy Cygnus slew,

And Memnon, offspring of the morn,
In torrid Ethiopia born-

Yet in my well-stor'd breast remain
Materials to supply

With copious argument my moral strain,
Whose mystic sense the wise alone desery,
Still to the vulgar sounding harsh and vain.
He only, in whose ample breast
Nature hath true inherent genius pour'd,
The praise of wisdom may contest;
Not they who, with loquacious learning stor'd,
Like crows and ch: ttering jays, with clamorous

cries

Pursue the bird of Jove, that sails along the skies.

ANTISTROPHE V.

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, hear,
While, with religious dread,
And taught the laws of justice to revere,
To heavenly vengeance I devote my head,
If aught to truth repugnant now I swear,
Swear, that no state, revolving 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 inclia'd,
So fam'd for bounteous deeds, and love of human
kind.

EPODE V.

Yet hath obstreperous Envy sought to drown The goodly music of his sweet renown; While, by some frantic spirits borne along To mad attempts of violence and wrong. She turn'd against him Faction's raging flood, And strove with evil deeds to conquer good, But who can number every sandy grain Wash'd by Sicilia's hoarse-resounding main? Or who can Theron's generous works express, And tell how many hearts his bounteous virtues bless!

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