Pindar and Anacreon/Pindar/Isthmian Odes/3

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THE THIRD ISTHMIAN ODE.


TO MELISSUS OF THEBES, VICTOR IN THE QUADRIGÆ.


ARGUMENT.

The poet in this short ode declares that illustrious deeds ought to be celebrated by poetical praises, such as are due to the present Isthmian, and the former Nemean victory achieved by Melissus, by which he emulates the deeds of his ancestors.




Whoe'er of men with bliss is crown'd,
Or in the glorious strife renown'd,
Or can in potent wealth rejoice,
And mental insolence restrain,
This man is worthy to obtain 5
The citizens' applauding voice.
From thee, oh Jove! to man below
Success and valiant efforts flow.
They who revere thy sacred name
A greater happiness may claim. 10
But not to wayward minds secure
Through life that fortune will endure. 10


Fair actions due rewards await;
The good 'tis just to celebrate;
Just too the victor's name to raise 15
With solemn pomp and liberal praise:
While twofold victories impart
Sweet transport to Melissus' heart.
First in the wooded Isthmian dell,
The wreaths of triumph he obtain'd, 20
In the deep-breasted lion's cell,
Proclaiming Thebes, th' equestrian crown he gain'd.


His glorious deeds will not disgrace
The kindred valour of his race.
Full well ye know what ancient fame 25
Cleonymus' triumphant chariots claim
Through Labdacus' illustrious line
Their source his sires maternal trace,
And with ancestral riches shine,
Devoting their heroic life 30
To the four steeds' laborious strife:
While fleeting scenes by turns engage
This ever-varying mortal stage,
Uninjured by the shocks of time,
The gods' bless'd children dwell sublime. 31 35