Nor madly try to reach the skies,
Ambitious of a lot divine. 57
THE SIXTH OLYMPIC ODE.
TO AGESIAS OF SYRA.CUSK, ON HIS VICTORY IN THE
CHARIOT DRAWN BY MULKS.
The scholiast informs us that this ode, according to some, was
inscribed to Stymphehus, son of Sostratus, and that his victory
was achieved m tne eighty sixth or eighty-seventh Olympiad.
— The poem opens with a noble simile drawn from the front-
ispiece of a building, to which he compares the opening of
his ode, expatiating on the glory of the Olympic contest. — He
then proceeds to mention the praises and regret expressed by
Adraslus on Amphiaraas, occasioned by the death of the lat-
ter; instituting a comparison between Agesias and the The-
ban seer. — The birth of lamus, one of the ancestors of the
victor, who are thence called lamidae, is then related at gieat
length, together with the story of Evadne, daughter of ^py-
tus. — Agesias derived his lineage on the mother's side from
Arcadia ; and as there was a connection between the inhab-
itants of that country and the Thebans, the poet includes
them in his praises. — He then addresses -^neas, the master
of the chorus, whom he compliments on his musical skill,
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and exhorts to wipe away by his exertions the proverbial dis-
grace attached to his countrymen by the appellation of Boeotian
swine. — Renews his praise of Agesias, and concludes with a
prayer to Neptune, still to keep the victor under his propi-
tious guidance, and to render the poet's hymns agreeable to
those in whose honour they are written and sung.
Oft as the architect's creative hand
Bids the fair porch on golden columns rise,
And all the dome's magnificence expand,
To strike the gazing eye with mute surprise —
1 Gwillim, in a quaint epigram placed after the title page to
his book on heraldry, thus alludes to the openmg of this ode : —
" The noble Pindar doth compare somewhere,
Writing with building, and instructs us there
SIXTH OLYMPIC ODE. 43
Thus splendid from afar should gleam 5
A noble deed's incipient beam —
The guard of Jove's prophetic shrine,
If he thy wreath, Olympia, bear,
Sprung from that old and noble line
Who founded Syracusa fair, 10
A grateful city hymns the hero's name,
"While her unenvying sons unite in glad acclaim 11
In this exalted station placed.
The son of Sostratus is found
With no inglorious chaplet graced, 15
But with his well-earn'd honours crown'd.
The warrior on the battle plain.
The sailor on the trackless main,
Through paths of peril and dismay
Wins to renown his arduous way, 20
And Avhen his toils achieve some glorious deed,
The memory of the good shall be his meed.
Agesias, may such ready praise be thine,
As to Oiclides, seer of Theban line,
Adrastus gave, when in an earthly tomb 25
Himself and noble steeds were hurried to their
But when the seven funeral pyres
Raised to the dead their sacred fires,
In sorrow thus his Theban host
The son of Talaus address'd : 30
" The pride of all my army lost
Fills with regret this aching breast.
Quench'd is the augur's prescient light,
Nerveless the warrior's arm of fight."
That every great and goodly edifice
Doth ask to have a comely frontispiece.
23 Amphiaraus, son of Oicleus. I have here followed the
ingenious emendation of Dr. Bloomfield, tv Aipxq, instead of the
common flat reading ev 6iKq.
The triumphs which these hymns afford 35
Wait on my Syracusan lord. 32
No lover of contention, I
Respect my oath's compulsive tie —
And while this honest suffrage crowns my lays,
The sweet-toned muses' choir will ratify his praise.
Oh, Phintis! spurn each dull delay, 41
And haste the vigorous mules to join —
Pursue thy clear and open way
To reach his ancestors' remotest line. 41
No other guide our steps will need 45
Safe through these lofty paths to lead.
Since upon their victorious brow
Olympia's verdant chaplets glow —
Then to their flight expanding wide
Let us unbar the gates of song — 50
Where Pitane in towering pride
O'erlooks Eurotas' sacred tide,
This day the bard must pass along. 47
To Neptune of Saturnian race
She the black-hair'd Evadne bore — 55
40 The commonly received interpretation of the word Phin-
tis or Philtis, given by the elder scholiast, is doubtless the
true one, viz., the poet's own soul, considered as the directing
charioteer of the body. With this passage compare Cowley (to
his muse :) —
" Go, the rich chariot instantly prepare,
The queen, ray muse, wiil take the air.
The wheels of thy bold coach pass quick and free,
And all's an open road to thee —
Whatever god did say.
Is all thy plain and smooth, uninterrupted way."
50 The metaphor here is strikingly similar to that in Psalm
" Open me the gates of righteousness, that I may ge into them,
and give thanks unto the Lord."
SIXTH OLYMPIC ODE. 45
This tale to rumour's voice we trace —
But when the circling moons reveal'd
What virgin throes her bosom long conccal'd,
To brave Eitatides her high command
Bade the attendant damsels bear GO
The nursling to the hero's care,
Whose sceptre ruled Arcadia's land
In fair Pheesana by Alpheus' shore,
Apollo taught her there to prove
The fond solicitudes of love. 57 05
When time to ^Epytus confessed
The stolen caresses' fruit divine,
The hero in his manly breast
Unutterable rage repress'd,
And humbly sought the Pythian shrine, 70
With mind intent the end to know
Of this intolerable wo.
Her virgin zone with saffron died.
And urn of silver laid aside,
In the thick grove conceal'd from sight 75
She brought the heavenly babe to light.
Meanwhile the god with golden hair
Propitious fate invoked, and kind Eleutho's care. 72
Her pleasing pains without delay
Produced young lamus to day. 80
While there upon the verdant glade
By his afflicted parent laid,
Two dragons of caerulean eye
Commission'd by the will divine,
With bees' innoxious produce hie 85
To feed the youth of heavenly line.
But when from Pytho's rocky height
The monarch urged his chariot's flight.
He sought of all the menial train
Evadne's infant to regain, 90
77 I. e. Apollo ; this epithet is applied by Alcasus to Zephyrus.
(Frag. V. ap. Bloinf.) ^pvaoKoua Zt^vpcf) /xtyetaa.
Whom erst from his prophetic throne
Phoebus, he said, had call'd his own. 84
That he, o'er all of mortal birth,
His sire's prophetic power might claim,
Nor should his race e'er fail on earth 95
To keep alive their deathless name.
Thus spoke the god — but they averr'd
No eye had seen, no ear had heard ;
Though since his natal day
The fifth revolving sun had shed 100
Its lustre o'er the infant's head. 89
Meanwhile within the rushy glade,
And tangled bushes' thickest shade,
His tender frame all wet with dew,
And gemm'd with violet's purple hue, 105
Conceai'd from human sight he lay 93
And hence his mother bade the prophet's name
To each succeeding age his birth proclaim.
Soon as he gain'd from opening time
The golden flower of youthful prime, 110
Shrouded in night his steps he bore
Down to Alpheus' middle shore.
Invoking from the depths below
His great forefather Neptune's might,
And potent sire, whose silver bow 115
Defends the heaven-built Delos' height.
That public honour and renown
His brows might with their chaplet crown.
When thus in accents of eternal truth 119
His father's voice approved the suppliant's prayer,
•' To Pisa's crowded plain, adventurous youth.
Follow my call, and strive for glory there." 108
104 The exquisite periphrasis of the original may be illus-
trated by a passage in Lord Byron, (Childe Harold, iv. cxvii.)
" The sweetness of the violet's deep-blue dies,
Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems colour'd by its skies."
SIXTH OLYMPIC ODE. 47
To lofty Cronium's sun-crown'd hill they came ;
Where great Apollo bade his son receive
A twofold portion of prophetic fame ; 125
To hear the voice that knows not to deceive —
But when the glory of Amphitryo's line
Alcides prosperous in each bold design
Appear'd to crown his sire's immortal feast,
From every clime to call the frequent giiest, 130
And fix the laws of each heroic game,
He placed the augur's seat near Jove's exalte/
New glories hence through Hellas grace
Th' lamidse's illustrious race —
And wealth attends to crown their state — 135
For those who seek with high emprise
The steep where virtue's guerdon lies,
The brightest vvalks of life await.
In his own path each seeks renown,
But carping Envy most his course attends, 140
Who first to win Olympia's crown
Twelve times around the goal his chariot bends —
On him sweet Grace distils a lustre all her own. 128
Agesias ! if thy brave maternal line.
Who dwelt beneath Cyllene's hallow'd shade, 145
Duly their suppliant vows and rites divine
To Mercury, the god's swift herald, paid ;
Whose favouring power the contest's law maintains,
And guards Arcadia's richly peopled plains ;
By him and by his thundering sire decreed, 150
Oh son of Sostratus ! expect the victor's meed.
Another motive prompts my tongue—
Which as the stone that whets the blade
Upon its sharpening surface laid.
Impels me dow^n the flowing tide of song. 143 155
153 Pindar uses the same metaphor— (Pyth. i. 172.) Hence
From the Stymphalian nymph, Metopa fair,
My mother drew the vital air —
Within equestrian Thebes, whose fame
Salutes her with a founder's name.
At her pure wave my thirst I slake, and raise 160
The varied hymn that chants the warriors' praise.
Now, ^neas, urge thy tuneful hand,
Parthcnian Juno first demands the stram. 150
Then let clear truth the old disgrace
That loads Bceotia's sons efface ; 165
Thou, like the general's trusty wand.
Art charged the faithful embassy to bear,
From the sweet muses with the lovely hair.
Who bade thy cup the sounding lays retain. 155
Command them in their grateful verse 170
The praise of Hiero to rehearse.
That monarch whose unblemish'd sway
Ortygia's isle and Syracuse obey.
probably Horace borrowed the idea in his well-known lines, (ad
Pis. 304 :)—
" Fungar vice cotis, acutum
Reddere quae ferrum valet, exsors ipsa secandi."
1G6 The scholiast on this passage gives a long explanation of
the scytale, or staflf, which was used in battle to convey orders
from the Lacedaemonian general that were to be unintelligible to
all but the person to whom they were sent. — (Corn. Nepos. in vit.
Pausan. cap. 3.) Aulus Gellius is still more minute in his ac-
count of this enigmatical wand. (Lib. xvii., cap. ix. 1.) His
description is too long to be transcribed, and will not easily ad-
mit of abbreviation. Pindar calls jEneas the scytale of the
muses, as being the faithful messenger in conveying his poetical
strains to those in whose honour they were addressed.
172 The reader will be reminded by this passage, especially
in the original, in which Hiero is spoken of as governing with a
clear sceptre, oi Macbeth's commendation of the royal Duncan : — •
" Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office. ^^
SIXTH OLYMPIC ODE. 40
To Ceres and her daughter fair
Whose milk-white steeds the goddess bear,
Duly he pays each sacred rite, 176
Adoring Jove's ^tnaean might.
His name the song and sweet-toned lyre resound,
Oh ! may no future age his happy state confound !
With wilHng mind may he receive 180
The hymn which in Agesias' praise I weave.
Since Fortune now the hero calls
To kindred Syracuse again,
Far from his own Stymphalian walls
That crown Arcadia's fleecy plain. 185
E'en thus amid the wintry tides.
Secure the rapid vessel rides,
If two firm anchors' grasp her bulk maintain. 173
Still may the god exalt thy state
With either nation's prosperous fate ; 190
And sceptred Amphitrite's lord,
Whose trident rules the stormy sea,
Through his own realm a path afford
From adverse winds and troubles free.
Adorning with sweet flowers my song, 195
To hail thy vessel as it speeds along. 180
188 Compare Casimir, (Lyric, iv. 36, 27.)
" Fortius proram gemino revincit
THE SEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE.
TO DIAGORAS, THE FHODIAN, ON HIS VICTORY WITH THE
C^STUS, GAINED IN THE SEVENTY-NINTH OLYMPIAD.
Pindar begins this beautiful ode (which, as the younger scho
liast informs us, was said to have been written in letters of
gold, and suspended in the temple of Minerva) with a highly
poetical simile drawn from domestic life, w^hich introduces
the praise of the Rhodian victor and his race. — He then pro-
ceeds to the story of Tlepolemus, an ancestor of Diagoras,
who, after having murdered Licymnius, departed for Rhodes
by the command of Apollo ; the shower of gold which Jupiter
caused to descend there. — Then follow the fables respecting
the origin of Rhodes, the birth of Pallas, her most ancient
sacrifices instituted without the aid of fire, and the gifts im-
parted by her to the favoured Rhodians, especially their skill
m statuary. — Then follows a digression explaining the reason
for consecrating the island to the sun — (Hyperionides ;) his
intrigue with the nymph Rhodos, from which sprang seven
sons, one of whom gave birth to Camirus, Lindus, and lalysus,
who built the three cities of the island of Rhodes, which were
named after them.
The poet then proceeds to panegyrize Tlepolemus and Diagoras,
enumerating the several victories of the latter.
The ode concludes with an invocation to Jupiter, to whom di-
vine honours were paid on Atabyrius, a mountain of Rhodes,
propitiating his continued favour both for the poet and the
victor, and a moral reflection on the mutabiUty of human for-
As when a sire the golden bowl
All foaming with the dew of wine,
Takes with a liberal hard and soul,
Chief gem where all his treasures shine-
Then tends the beverage (hallow'd first
By prayers to all the powers above)
SEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE. 51
To slake the youthful bridegroom's thirst,
In honour of connubial love.
The social pledge he bears on high,
And homeward as his course he bends, 10
Blesses the fond connubial tie,^
Admired by all his circling friends. 11
E'en thus I bring the nectar'd strain,
The muses' gift, to those who gain
The Pythian and Olympic crown; 15
Thrice bless'd, to whom 'tis giv'n to share
The arduous fruit of mental care,
Cheer'd by the voice of high renown !
Full many a victor in the fray
My life-inspiring strains survey — 20
Which bids the sweet-toned, lyre its music raise,
And wake the sounding flutes through all their notes
of praise. 22
And now, Diagoras, to thee
They breathe united melody.
When Rhodes the warlike isle is sung, 25
Apollo's bride from Venus sprung ;
He too, the hero brave and bold.
With hardy frame of giant mould,
W^ho by Alpheus' sacred tide.
And where Castalia's waters glide, 30
First in the csestus' manly fray
Bore the triumphant prize away.
Let Damagetus next, his sire, '
To justice dear, the strain inspire.
Fix'd on that isle which three fair cities grace, 35
Where Embolus protects wide Asia's coast.
They dwell united with the Argive host. 35
36 " Lycia," says the younger scholiast, " is opposite to
Rhodes, and in Lycia is a place called Embolus, sharp and nar-
row, and jutting into the sea, so named from its resemblance to
the prow of a ship."
Now to Tlepolemus my song would trace
As its first source Alcides' potent race.
From Jove their sire's high lineage springs ; 40
While to Astydameia's line
Amyntor, born of race divine,
An equal lustre brings. 42
But ah ! what crimes round erring mortals wait,
Unnumber'd torments in their happiest state — 45
Who, ere the checker'd scene of life be past,
Can tell if weal or wo shall mark his lot at last ] 48
Since the high founder of the Rhodian state,
Impell'd by fierce ungovernable hate,
Laid with his olive sceptre's deadly blow 60
On earth Alcmena's bastard brother low.
liicymnius, whom his hand to Pluto sent.
From Midea's chamber as his steps he bent.
'Tis thus the maddening tumults of the mind
Have oft seduced the wisest of mankind. 5G 55
He sought the god who could unfold
The purpose of the will divine,
W^hen thus the power with locks of gold
Spoke from his perfume-breathing shrine :
*' Go, launch your fleet from Lerne's strand, 60
To gain the sea-encircled land.
Where the great monarch of the skies
Sent from his golden clouds a shower
With flames commission'd to devour
Th' accepted sacrifice. 6."
W^hat time by aid of Vulcan's art
And brazen axe, Minerva sprang
38 Homer relates the history of Tlepolemus, son of Hercu]e^
and Astydameia, and the Rhodians at great length, (II. ii. 653.)
TX>77roX£;/os 5' 'HpaK\£iSr]s, rjvs re ixeya; re,
Ek 'Fo6ov tvvta vrjas ayev, k. t. \.
Astydameia was the daughter of Amyntor, son of Jupiter.
SEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE. 63
From Jove's head with impetuous start,
With long-continued warlike clang :
While heaven's high dome and mother earth 70
Shuddering beheld the wondrous birth. 70
Then too the god whose splendour bright
Glads mortals with his radiant light,
Bade his loved sons the high behest obey.
Them first he urged to rear the splendid shrine, 75
And to the goddess every rite divine
With prompt submissive reverence pay.
This their immortal sire with joy would cheer,
And please the maid who wields her sounding spear.
Yet oft oblivion's shadowy veil 80
O'erclouds the well-intending mind ;
Then wise Prometheus' counsels fail.
And reason's path is left behind.
So they, obedient to their heavenly sire,
Bade in th' acropolis an altar rise, 85
But carried to the shrine no spark of fire
To waft from earth the pious sacrifice.
On them the supplicated power
Rain'd from his yellow cloud a golden shower.
87 This was a clear manifestation of the divine presence.
The same portent attended the birth of Apollo, according to
CaUimachus, (in. Del. 260 :)—
Xpvffea TOi TOTC iravra dtjxei^ia yeivtro At}\s,
XpvaCi) Se rpo^oeccra iravrjixcpos eppci Xijivrj, k. t. A.
Thus, too, at the birth of Hercules, Bromia relates to the aston-
ished Amphitryo, (Act. v., sc. i. 44 :) —
" .^des totse confulgebant tuae, quasi essent aureeey
So Theocritus, (Idyl. 24 :)—
*' And see what light o'er all the chamber falls !
Though yet not mom, how visible the walls !
Some strange event !" — Polwhele's version.
Compare also Homer, (Od. xix. 37—40.)
Meanwhile the maid with azure eye 90
Her favour'd Rhodians deig-n'd to grace
Above all else of mortal race,
With arts of manual industry.
Hence framed by the laborious hand,
The animated figures stand, 95
Adorning every public street,
And seem to breathe in stone, or move their marble
Wisdom true glory can impart
Without the aid of magic art.
As ancient fame reports, when Jove 100
And all th' immortal powers above
Held upon earth divided sway ;
Not yet had Rhodes in glittering pride
On Ocean's breast appeared to ride.
But hid beneath his briny caverns lay. 105 105
Then while the absent god of light
Delay'd to claim his equal share.
No friendly voice maintain'd his right
Of all the bless'd assembly there.
Jove, to repair the wrong, in vain 110
Wish'd to adjudge the lots again.
Since in his course the sun had found
Retired within the hoary deep
A fertile land with heroes crown'd.
Prolific nurse of fleecy sheep. 116 115
Then straight he gave the high command
To Lachesis, whose locks of jet
97 Pindjr- probably alludes to the Telchines, an ancient peo-
ple of Rhodes, much addicted to magical fascination, from
which probably they derive their name : (Ov. Met. vii. 365 :) —
" Phoebeamque Rhodon, et Jalysios Telchinas,
Quorum oculos ipso vitiantes omnia visu
Jupiter exosus, fraternis abdiait undis."
117 This ratifying power, which distinguishes Lachesis above
SEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE. 55
Are gather'd in a golden net,
To fix with her extended hand
The oath that binds the powers above, 120
And stamp with fate the nod of Jove,
Which the bright isle emerging from the wave,
To Phoebus and his latest offspring gave. 124
Hence o'er the land extends his sway
Who darts the piercing beams of day ; 125
The charioteer whose guiding rein
Wide over the celestial plain
His fire-exhaling steeds obey. 130
With Rhodes there in amorous embrace
Conjoin'd, the god begat a valiant race ; 130
Seven noble sons, with wisdom's gifts endow'd
By their great sire above the vulgar crowd.
Cameirus from this root with Lindas came,
And lalysus, venerable name :
Three chiefs who over the divided land 135
In equal portions held supreme command.
Apart they reign'd, and bade each city bear
The monarch's name who sway'd the sceptre there.
In that bless'd isle secure at last
'Twas thine, Tlepolemus, to meet 140
For each afflictive trial past
A recompense and respite sweet.
Chief of Tirynthian hosts, to thee
As to a present deity.
The fumes of slaughter'd sheep arise 145
In all the pomp of sacrifice :
Awarded by thy just decree
The victor gains his verdant prize.
her sister Destinies, is also asserted by Plutarch : (De Facie in
Orbe Lunae, sub finein.)
129 Their names, according to the scholiast, were Cercaphus,
Ochimus, Actis, Macaresas, Tenages, Triopes, Phaethon.
That crown whose double honours glow,
Diagoras, around thy brow : 50
On which four times the Isthmian pine,
And twice the Nemean olive shine :
While Athens on her rocky throne
Made her illustrious wreath his own. 151
Trophies of many a well-fought field 155
He won in glory's sacred cause,
Irhe Theban tripod, brazen shield
At Argos, and Arcadia's vase.
Her palms Boeotia's genuine contests yield ;
Six times iEgina's prize he gain'd, 160
As oft Pellene's robe obtarn'd,
And graved in characters of fame,
Thy column, Megara, records his name. 159
Great sire of all, immortal Jove,
On Atabyrius' mount enshrined, 165
Oh ! still may thy propitious mind
Th' encomiastic hymn approve.
Which celebrates in lawful strain
The victor on Olympia's plain,
Whose valorous arm the caestus knows to wield.
Protected by thy constant care, 171
In citizens' and strangers' eyes
Still more exalted shall he rise
Whose virtuous deeds thy favour share :
151 Athens is here put synecdochically for the whole of
Attica. Pindar, as the younger scholiast observes, leaves it
doubtful in what Attic contest Diagoras came off victorious :
whether in the Panathenaic, the Heraclean, the Eleusinian,
or the Panhellenic ; or whether he obtained the prize in all
these. The same epithet is applied by Homer t-o Ithaca : (11. ii.
165 A mountain in Khodes, on which was erected a temple
to Jupiter, containing brazen bulls, that, according to the scho-
liast, had the property of lowing whenever any unseemly action
was about to be committed there.
SEVENTH OLYMPIC ODE. 57
Since he to violence and fraud unknown, 175
Treads the straight paths of equity alone :
His fathers' counsels mindful to pursue,
And keep their bright example still in view.
Then let not inactivity disgrace
The well-earn'd fame of thine illustrious race, 18C
Who sprang from great Callianax, and crown
Th' Eratidae with splendour all their own.
With joy and festal hymns the streets resound —
But soon, as shifts the ever varying gale,
The storms of adverse fortune may assail — 185
Then, Rhodians, be your mirth with sober temper
ance crown'd. 176
THE EIGHTH OLYMPIC ODE.
ro THE YOUTH ALCIMEDON, ON HIS VICTORY IN THE
PAL.ESTRA, GAINED IN THE EIGHTEENTH OLYMPIAD;
HIS BROTHER TIMOSTHENES, VICTOR IN THE NEMEAN
GAMES ; AND TO THEIR PRyECEPTOR, OR ALIPTA,*
This ode begins with an address to Olympia ; after which Pin-
dar proceeds to congratulate Aicimedon and Tiraosthenes,
the former on his Olympic, and the latter on his recent Ne-
mean victory. — Then follow the praises of the victor's native
island ^gina, from its founder ^acus, a theme which ap-
pears to be always grateful to our poet, who relates the fables
connected with its origin ; as well as the assistance of that
hero, which was engaged by Apollo and Neptune when build-
ing the walls of Troy. — The praises of Melesias are then sung,
and the Blepsiadae, a tribe of Jiginetans, is recorded, as well
as the memory of the victor's departed relatives, Iphion and
Callimachus. — The ode con( ludes with the expression of good
Olympia, mother of heroic games,
Whose golden wreath the victor's might proclaims,
Great queen of truth ! — thou whose prophetic band