Page images


This ode is likewise inscribed to Theron king of Agrigentum, upon the occasion of another vicItory obtained by him in the chariot-race at Olympia; the date of which is unknown.



The scholiast acquaints us, that as Theron was celebrating the Theoxenia (a festival instituted by Castor and Pollux in honour of ail the gods) he received the news of a victory obtained by his chariot in the Olympic games: from this circumstance the poet takes occasion to address this ode to those two deities and their sister Helena, in whose temple, the same scholiast informs us, some people with greatest probability conjectured, it was sung, at a solemn sacritice there offered by Theron to those deities, and to Hercules, also, as may be inferred from a passage in the third strophe of the translation. there is another, and a more poetical propriety in Pindar's invoking these divinities, that is suggested in the ode itself: for, after mentioning the occasion of his composing it, namely, the Olympie victory of Theron, and saying that a triumphal song was a tribute due to that person upon whom the hellenodic, or judge of the games, bestowed the sacred olive, according to the institution of their first founder Hercules, he proceeds to relate the fabulous, but legendary story, of that hero's having brought that plant originally from Scythia, the country of the Hyperboreans, to Olympia; having planted it there near the temple of Jupiter, and ordered that the victors in those games should, for the future, be crowned with the branches of this sacred tree. To this he adds, that Hercules, upon his being removed to Heaven, appointed the twin-brothers, Castor and Pollux, to celebrate the Olympic games, and execute the office of bestowing the olive-crown upon those who obtained the victory; and now, continues Pindar, he comes a propitious guest, to this sacrifice of Theron, in company with the two sons of Leda, who, to reward the piety and zeal of Theron and his family, have given them success and glory; to the utmost limits of which he insinuates that Theron is arrived, and so concludes with affirming, that it would be in vain for any man, wise or unwise, to attempt to surpass him.




WHILE to the fame of Agragas I sing,
For Theron wake th' Olympic string,
And with Aonian garlands grace
His steeds unwearied in the race;
O may the hospitable twins of Jove,

And bright-hair'd Helena, the song approve!
For this the Muse bestow'd her aid,

As in new measures I essay'd

To harmonize the tuneful words,

And set to Durian airs my sounding chords.


And lo! the conquering steeds, whose tossing heads Olympia's verdant wreath bespreads,

The Muse-imparted tribute claim,
Due, Theron, to thy glorious name;
And bid me temper in their master's praise
The flute, the warbling lyre, and melting lays
Lo! Pisa too the song requires;

Elean Pisa, that inspires

The glowing bard with eager care
His heaven-directed present to prepare:

The present offer'd to his virtuous fame,
On whose ennobled brows

The righteous umpire of the sacred game,
Th' Etolian judge, bestows
The darksome olive, studious to fulfil
The mighty founder's will,
Who this fair ensign of Olympic toil

From distant Scythia's fruitful soil,
And Hyperborean Ister's woody shore,
With fair entreaties gain'd, to Grecian Elis bore.

[blocks in formation]

He gave th' illustrious games to hold,

And crown the swift, the strong, and bold. Then, Muse, to Theron and his house proclaim The joyous tidings of success and fame,

By Leda's twins bestow'd to grace,
Emmenides, thy pious race,

Who, mindful of Heaven's high behests,
With strictest zeal observe their holy feasts.


As water's vital streams all things surpass,

As gold's all-worship'd ore

Holds amid Fortune's stores the highest class; So to that distant shore,

To where the pillars of Alcides rise,

Fame's utmost boundaries, Theron, pursuing his successful way,

Hath deck'd with glory's brightest ray His lineal virtues. Further to attain, Wise, and unwise, with me despair: th' attempt were vain.


This ode is inscribed to Psaumis of Camarina (a town in Sicily), who, in the eighty-second Olympiad, obtained three victories; one in the race of chariots drawn by four horses; a second in the race of the apené, or chariot drawn by mules, and a third in the race of single horses. Some people (it seems) have doubted, whether this ode be Pindar's, for certain reasons, which, together with the arguments on the other side, the learned reader may find in the Oxford edition and others of this author; where it is clearly proved to be genuine. But, besides the reasons there given for doubting if this ode be Pindar's, there is another (though not mentioned, as I know of, by any one) which may have helped to bias people in their judgment upon this question. I shall therefore beg leave to consider it a little, because what I shall say upon that head will tend to illustrate both the meaning and the method of Pindar in this ode. In the Greek editions of this author there are two odes (of which this is the second) inscribed to the same Psaumis, and dated both in the same Olympiad. But they differ from each other in several particulars, as well in the matter as the manner. In the second ode, notice is taken of three victories obtained by Psaumis; in the first, of only one, viz. that obtained by him in the race of chariots drawn by four horses: in the second, not only the city of Camarina, but the lake of the same name, many rivers adjoining to it, and some circumstances relating to the present state, and the rebuilding of that city (which had been destroyed by the Syracusians some years before) are mentioned; whereas in the first, Camarina is barely named, as the country of the conqueror, and as it were out of form: from all which I conclude, that these two odes were composed to be sung at different times, and in different places; the first at Olympia, immediately upon Psaumis's being proclaimed conqueror in the chariot-race, and before he obtained his other two victories. This may with great probability be inferred, as well from no mention being there made of those two victories,

as from the prayer which the poet subjoins immediately to his account of the first, viz. that Heaven would in like manner be favourable to the rest of the victor's wishes; which prayer, though it be in general words, and one frequently used by Pindar in other of his odes, yet has a peculiar beauty and propriety, if taken to relate to the other two exercises, in which Psaumis was still to contend; and in which he afterwards came off victorious. That it was the custom for a conqueror, at the time of his being proclaimed, to be attended by a chorus, who sung a song of triumph in honour of his victory, I have observed in the dissertation prefixed to these odes'. In the second, there are so many marks of its having been made to be sung at the triumphal entry of Psaumis into his own country, and those so evident, that, after this hint given, the reader cannot help observing them as he goes through the ode. I shall therefore say nothing more of them in this place; but that they tend, by showing for what occasion this ode was calculated, to confirm what I said relating to the other; and jointly with that to prove, that there is no reason to conclude from there being two odes inscribed to the same person, and dated in the same Olympiad, that the latter is not Pindar's, especially as it appears, both in the style and spirit, altogether worthy of him.


The poet begins with addressing himself to Camarina, a sea nymph, from whom the city and lake were both named, to bespeak a favourable reception of his ode, a present which he tells her was made to her by Psaumis, who rendered her city illustrious at the Olympic games; where having obtained three victories, he consecrated his fame to Camarina, by ordering the herald, when he proclaimed him conqueror, to style him of that city. This he did at Olympia; but now, continues Pindar, upon his coming home, he is more particular, and inserts in his triumphal song the names of the principal places and rivers belonging to Camarina; from whence the poet takes occasion to speak of the rebuilding of that city, which was done about this time, and of the state of glory, to which, out of her low and miserable condition, she was now brought by the means of Psaumis, and by the lustre cast on her by his victories; victories (says he) not to be obtained without much labour and expense, the usual attendants of great and glorious actions; but the man who succeeded in such-like undertakings was sure to be rewarded with the love and approbation of his country. The poet then addresses himself to Jupiter in a prayer, beseeching him to adorn the city and state of Camarina with virtue and glory; and to grant to the victor Psaumis a joyful and contented old age, and the happiness of dying before his children: after which he concludes with an exhortation to Psaumis, to be contented with his condition; which he insinuates was as happy as that of a mortal could be, and it was to no purpose for him to wish to be a god.

'See Mr. West's Preface, p. 142.


FAIR Camarina, daughter of the main,
With gracious smiles this choral song receive,
Sweet fruit of virtuous toils; whose noble strain
Shall to th' Olympic wreath new lustre give :
This Psaumis, whom on Alpheus' shore
With unabating speed

The harness'd mules to conquest bore,
This gift to thee decreed;

Thee, Camarina, whose well-peopled towers
Thy Psaumis render'd great in fame,
When to the twelve Olympian powers
He fed with victims the triumphal flame.
When, the double altars round,
Slaughter'd bulls bestrew'd the ground;
When, on five selected days,
Jove survey'd the list of praise;
While along the dusty course
Psaumis urg'd his straining horse,

Or beneath the social yoke

Made the well-match'd coursers smoke;

Or around th' Elean goal

Taught his mule-drawn car to roll.
Then did the victor dedicate his fame

To thee, and bade the herald's voice proclaim Thy new-establish'd walls, and Acron's honour'd



But now return'd from where the pleasant seat
Once of Oenomaus and Pelops stood,
Thee, Civic Pallas, and thy chaste retreat,
He bids me sing, and fair Oanus' flood,
And Camarina's sleeping wave,

And those sequester'd shores,
Through which, the thirsty town to lave,
Smooth flow the watery stores
Of fishy Hipparis, profoundest stream,
Adown whose wood-envelop'd tide
The solid pile and lofty beam,
Materials for the future palace, glide.
Thus, by war's rude tempests torn,
Plung'd in misery and scorn,
Once again, with power array'd,
Camarina lifts her head,
Gayly brightening in the blaze,
Psaumis, of thy hard-earn'd praise.
Trouble, care, expense, attend
Him who labours to ascend
Where, approaching to the skies,
Virtue holds the sacred prize,

That tempts him to achieve the dangerous deed : But, if his well-concerted toils succeed, [meed. His country's just applause shall be his glorious

[ocr errors]

O Jove! protector of mankind!

O cloud-enthroned king of gods!
Who, on the Chronian mount reclin'd,
With honour crown'st the wide-stream'd

Of Alpheus, and the solemn gloom
Of Ida's cave! to thee I come
Thy suppliant, to soft Lydian reeds,
Sweet breathing forth my tuneful prayer,
That, grac'd with noble, valiant deeds,
This state may prove thy guardian care;
And thou, on whose victorious brow
Olympia bound the sacred bough,
Thou whom Neptunian steeds delight,

With age, content, and quiet crown'd,

Calm may'st thou sink to endless night,

Thy children, Psaumis, weeping round. And since the gods have given thee fame and


Join'd with that prime of earthly treasures, health,
Enjoy the blessings they to man assign,
Nor fondly sigh for happiness divine.


This ode is inscribed to Diagoras, the son of Damagetus of Rhodes, who in the seventy-ninth Olympiad obtained the victory in the exercise of the cæstus.

This ode was in such esteem among the ancients, that it was deposited in a temple of Minerva, written in letters of gold.


The poet begins this noble song of triumph with a simile, by which he endeavours to show his great esteem for those who obtain the victory in the Olympic and other games; as also the value of the present that he makes them upon that occasion; a present always acceptable, because fame and praise is that which delights all mortals; wherefore the Muse, says he, is perpetually looking about for proper objects to bestow it upon; and seeing the great actions of Diagoras, takes up a resolution of celebrating him, the Isle of Rhodes his country, and his father Damagetus (according to the form observed by the herald in proclaiming the conquerors); Damagetus, and consequently Diagoras, being descended from Tlepolemus, who led over a colony of Grecians from Argos to Rhodes, where he settled, and obtained the dominion of that island. From Tlepolemus, therefore, Pindar declares he will deduce his song; which he addresses to all the Rhodians in common with Diagoras, who were descended from Tlepolemus, or from those Grecians that came over with him; that is, almost all the people of Rhodes, who indeed are as much (if not more) interested in the greatest part of this ode, as Diagoras the conqueror. Pindar accordingly relates the occasion of Tlepolemus's coming to Rhodes, which he tells was in obedience to an oracle, that commanded him to seek out that island; which, instead of telling us its name, Pindar, in a more poetical manner, characterizes by relating of it some legendary stories (if I may so speak) that were peculiar to the Isle of Rhodes; such as the Golden Shower, and the occasion of Apollo's choosing that island for himself; both which stories he relates at large with such a flame of poetry as shows his imagination to have been extremely heated and elevated with his subjects. Neither does he seem to cool in the short account that he gives, in the next place, of the passion of Apollo for the nymph Rhodos, from whom the island received its name, and from whom were descended its original inhabitants (whom just before the poet therefore called the sons of Apollo): and particularly the three brothers, Camirus, Lindus, and Jalysus; who divided that country into three kingdoms, and built the three principal cities which retained their names. In this island

Tlepolemus (says the poet, returning to the story
of that hero) found rest, and a period to all his
misfortunes, and at length grew into such esteem
with the Rhodians, that they worshipped him as
a god, appointing sacrifices to him, and insti-
tuting games in his honour. The mention of
those games naturally brings back the poet to
Diagoras; and gives him occasion, from the two
victories obtained by Diagoras in those games,
to enumerate all the prizes won by that famous
conqueror in all the games of Greece: after
which enumeration, he begs of Jupiter, in a
solemn prayer, to grant Diagoras the love of his
country, and the admiration of all the world, as
a reward for the many virtues for which he and
his family had always been distinguished, and
for which their country had so often triumphed:
and then, as if he had been a witness of the
extravagant transports of the Rhodians, (to which,
not the festival only occasioned by the triumphal
entry of their countryman, and the glory re-
flected upon them by his victories, but much
more the flattering and extraordinary eulogiums
bestowed upon the whole nation in this ode,
might have given birth) the poet on a sudden
changes his hand, and checks their pride by a
a moral reflection on the vicissitude of Fortune,
with which he exhorts them to moderation, and
so concludes.


As when a father in the golden vase,

The pride and glory of his wealthy stores, Bent his lov'd daughter's nuptial torch to grace The vineyard's purple dews profusely pours; Then to his lips the foaming chalice rears,

With blessings hallow'd, and auspicious vows,
And, mingling with the draught transporting tears,
On the young bridegroom the rich gift bestows;
The precious earnest of esteem sincere,

Of friendly union and connubial love:
The bridal train the sacred pledge revere,
And round the youth in sprightly measures move.
He to his home the valued present bears,

The grace and ornament of future feasts;
Where, as his father's bounty he declares,

Wonder shall seize the gratulating guests.
Thus on the valiant, on the swift, and strong,
Castalia's genuine nectar I bestow;
And, pouring forth the Muse-descended song,
Bid to their praises the rich numbers flow.
Grateful to them resounds th' harmonic Ode,
The gift of Friendship and the pledge of Fame.
Happy the mortal, whom th' Aonian God

Cheers with the music of a glorious name!
The Muse her piercing glances throws around,
And quick discovers every worthy deed:
And now she wakes the lyre's enchanting sound,
Now fills with various strains the vocal reed:

But here each instrument of song divine,

The vocal reed and lyre's enchanting string,
She tunes; and bids their harmony combine
Thee, and thy Rhodes, Diagoras, to sing;
Thee and thy country, native of the flood, [name,
Which from bright Rhodos draws her honour'd

Fair nymph, whose charms subdued the Delphie

Fair blooming daughter of the Cyprian dame:
To sing thy triumphs in th' Olympic sand,
Where Alpheus saw thy giant-temples crown'd;
Fam'd Pythia too proclaim'd thy conquering hand,
Where sweet Castalia's mystic currents sound.
Nor Damagetus will I pass unsung,

Thy sire, the friend of Justice and of Truth;
From noble ancestors whose lineage sprung,
The chiefs who led to Rhodes the Argive youth.
There, near to Asia's wide-extended strand,
Where jutting Embolus the waves divides,
In three divisions they possess'd the land,
Enthron'd amid the hoarse-resounding tides.
To their descendants will I tune my lyre,

The offspring of Alcides bold and strong;
And from Tlepolemus, their common sire,
Deduce the national historic song.
Tlepolemus of great Alcides came,
The fruits of fair Astydameïa's love,
Jove-born Amyntor got the Argive dame :
So either lineage is deriv'd from Jove.
But wrapt in errour is the human mind,
And human bliss is ever insecure :
Know we what fortune yet remains behind ›
Know we how long the present shall endure?
For lo! the founder of the Rhodian state',

Who from Saturnian Jove his being drew,
While his fell bosom swell'd with vengeful hate,
The bastard-brother of Alcmena slew.
With his rude mace, in fair Tiryntha's walls,
Tlepolemus inflicts the horrid wound:
E'en at his mother's door Licymnius falls,

Yet warm from her embrace, and bites the

Passion may oft the wisest heart surprise:

Conscious and trembling for the murderous deed,
To Delphi's oracle the hero flies,

Solicitous to learn what Heaven decreed.
Him bright-hair'd Phœbus, from his odorous fane,
Bade set his flying sails from Lerna's shore,
And, in the bosom of the eastern main,

That sea-girt region hasten to explore;
That blissful island, where a wondrous 'cloud
Once rain'd, at Jove's command, a golden shower;
What time, assisted by the Lemnian god,
The king of Heaven brought forth the virgin

By Vulcan's art the father's teeming head

Was open'd wide, and forth impetuous sprung,
And shouted fierce and loud, the warrior maid:
Old Mother Earth and Heaven affrighted rung.
Then Hyperion's son, pure fount of day,

Did to his children the strange tale reveal:
He warn'd them straight the sacrifice to slay,
And worship the young power with earliest zeal.
So would they sooth the mighty father's mind,
Pleas'd with the honours to his daughter paid;
And so propitious ever would they find
Minerva, warlike, formidable maid.
On staid precaution, vigilant and wise,
True virtue and true happiness depend;


But oft Oblivion's darkening clouds arise,
And from the destin'd scope our purpose bend.
The Rhodians, mindful of their sire's behest,
Straight in the citadel an altar rear'd;
But with imperfect rites the power address'd,
And without fire their sacrifice prepar❜d.
Yet Jove, approving, o'er th' assembly spread

A yellow cloud, that dropp'd with golden dews;
While in their opening hearts the blue-ey'd maid
Deign'd her celestial science to infuse.

Thence in all arts the sons of Rhodes excel,

Though best their forming hands the chisel guide; This in each street the breathing marbles tell,

The stranger's wonder, and the city's pride. Great praise the works of Rhodian artists find, Yet to their heavenly mistress much they owe; Since art and learning cultivate the mind,

And make the seeds of genius quicker grow.
Some say, that when by lot th' immortal gods
With Jove these earthly regions did divide,
All undiscover'd lay Phœbean Rhodes,

Whelm'd deep beneath the salt Carpathian tide;
That, absent on his course, the god of day
By all the heavenly synod was forgot,
Who, his incessant labours to repay,

Nor land nor sea to Phoebus did allot;

That Jove reminded would again renew

Th' unjust partition, but the god denied;
And said, "Beneath yon hoary surge I view
An isle emerging through the briny tide:
"A region pregnant with the fertile seed

Of plants, and herbs, and fruits, and foodful grain;
Each verdant hill unnumber'd flocks shall feed;
Unnumber'd men possess each flowery plain."
Then straight to Lachesis he gave command,
Who binds in golden cauls her jetty hair,
He bade the fatal sister stretch her hand,

And by the Stygian rivers bade her swear;
Swear to confirm the Thunderer's decree,

Which to his rule that fruitful island gave, When from the ouzy bottom of the sea

Her head she rear'd above the Lycian wave.

The fatal sister swore, nor swore in vain;

Nor did the tongue of Delphi's prophet err;
Up-sprung the blooming island through the main;
And Jove on Phoebus did the boon confer.
In this fam'd isle, the radiant sire of light,
The god whose reins the fiery steeds obey,
Fair Rhodos saw, and, kindling at the sight,
Seiz'd, and by force enjoy'd the beauteous prey:
From whose divine embraces sprung a race

Of mortals, wisest of all human-kind;
Seven sons, endow'd with every noble grace;
The noble graces of a sapient mind.

Of these Ialysus and Lindus came,

Who with Camirus shar'd the Rhodian lands;
Apart they reign'd, and, sacred to his name,
Apart each brother's royal city stands.
Here a secure retreat from all his woes

Astydameia's hapless offspring found;
Here, like a god in undisturb'd repose,

And like a god with heavenly honours crown'd,

His priests and blazing altars he surveys,

And hecatombs, that feed the odorous flame;
With games, memorial of his deathless praise;
Where twice, Diagoras, unmatch'd in fame,
Twice on thy head the livid poplar shone,
Mix'd with the darksome pine, that binds the brows
Of Isthmian victors, and the Nemean crown,
And every palm that Attica bestows.
Diagoras th' Arcadian vase obtain'd;

Argos to him adjudg'd her brazen shield;
His mighty bands the Theban tripod gain'd,
And bore the prize from each Boeotian field.
Six times in rough Ægina he prevail'd;

As oft Pellene's robe of honour won;
And still at Megara in vain assail'd,

He with his name hath fill'd the victor's stone,
O thou, who, high on Atabyrius thron'd,
Seest from his summits all this happy isle,
By thy protection be my labours crown'd;
Vouchsafe, Saturnius, on my verse to smile!
And grant to him, whose virtue is my theme,
Whose valiant heart th' Olympic wreaths pro-

At home his country's favour and esteem,
Abroad. eternal, universal fame.

For well to thee Diagoras is known;

Ne'er to injustice have his paths declin'd:
Nor from his sires degenerates the son,
Whose precepts and examples fire his mind.
Then from obscurity preserve a race,

Who to their country joy and glory give;
Their country, that in them views every grace,
Which from their great forefathers they receive,
Yet as the gales of Fortune various blow,

To day tempestuous, and to morrow fair,
Due bounds, ye Rhodians, let your transports know;
Perhaps to morrow comes a storm of care.

THE ELEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE. This ode is inscribed to Agesidamus of Locris, who, in the seventy-fourth Olympiad, obtained the victory in the exercise of the cæstus, and in the class of boys.

The preceding ode in the original is inscribed to the same person; and in that we learn, that Pindar had for a long time promised Agesidamus an ode upon his victory, which he at length paid him, acknowledging himself to blame for having been so long in his debt. To make him some amends for having delayed payment so long, he sent him by way of interest together with the preceding ode, which is of some length, the short one that is here translated, and which in the Greek title is for that reason styled rónes or interest.


The poet, by two comparisons, with which he begins his ode, insinuates how acceptable to successful merit those songs of triumph are, which give stability and duration to their fame: then declaring that these songs are due to the Olympic. conquerors, he proceeds to celebrate the victory of Agesidamus, and the praises of the Locrians, his countrymen, whom he commends for their

« PreviousContinue »