Pindar and Anacreon/Pindar/Isthmian Odes/6

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Pindar begins this ode with the praises of the victor, with which he combines the expression of his good wishes.—Digresses to the fabulous story of Telamon and his son Ajax; for whom Hercules had offered up his prayers and consulted the auguries.—Concludes with celebrating the triumphs of his relations and townsmen of the same tribe.

As at the hospitable board
With flourishing profusion stored,
We mix the second cup of lays
To Lampo's valiant offspring's praise;
In Nemea's field the first best crown 5
Received, oh Jove! we make thine own.
And now upon the Isthmian plain
To Neptune with his Nereid train
Phylacides' bright palms entwine,
Youngest of that heroic line. 10
And may the third libation flow
To him who guards Olympus' heights,
While on Ægina we bestow
Mellifluous poesy's delights. 13

For he that by expense and toil 15
Erects his virtues' heavenly pile
Beholds the much-loved glory shine,
Fair progeny of root divine:
And honour'd by th' immortal train,
E'en now his anchor casts, th' extreme of bliss to gain. 20
Versed in these arts, the hour of fate
Will Cleonicus' offspring wait,
Patient till hoary age shall come,
The guide to Pluto's dreary home;
While Clotho on her lofty seat, 25
And her dread sisters, I entreat
The friendly hero's life to bless,
And crown his wishes with success. 26

Æacidæ, who shine afar,
Refulgent in your golden car, 30
The plain injunction I declare
When to this isle my steps repair,
To sprinkle her illustrious name
With dews of honourable fame:
Since in long line a thousand ways 35
Extends his fair deeds' ample praise;
Beyond where Nilus' waters flow,
Or realms of Hyperborean snow.
Nor can a city e'er be found
So rude and barbarous of tongue 40
Where Peleus' glory is not sung,
Whom in bless'd filial ties th' immortals bound; 37

Where Telamonian Ajax' name
And his great sire excites no fame.
Whom led, in brazen armour dight, 45
With his Tirynthians to the fight,
Of Troy the bold and prompt ally,
(That heroes' scourge, whose valiant host
Laomedon by treach'ry lost,)
In ships Alcmena's progeny. 50
With him the citadel o'erthrew,
And the vast Coan nations slew,
And him who fed his fleecy train
Like some huge mount on Phlegra's plain,
Alcyoneus—nor spared the foe 55
The string of his deep-twanging bow,
But when the social board was spread,
Æacides to join their fleet he led. 52

Him standing on the lion's hide,
The nectar'd draught he bade to pour, 60
Amphitryo's warlike son adore,
And at the sacred rites preside.
To him then Telamon the brave,
With gold enchased, a goblet gave;
His hands extending to the skies, 65
Invincible Alcides cries—
"From thee, oh father Jove! if e'er
With willing mind thou heardst my pray'r,
E'en now this hero's offspring bold,
Our guest, by fate's decree foretold, 70
Of Eribœa sprung, my supplications crave. 67

That frame's insuperable might,
(As the huge monster's skin is bound
In ample folds my limbs around,
Whom erst I slew in Nemea's soil, 75
Achieving there my earliest toil)
With an intrepid mind unite."
Thus, while he spoke, Jove bade from high
The king of birds, his eagle, fly.
Sweet pleasure o'er his soul was shed, 80
When thus with prophet voice he said—
"Thine shall hereafter be the son
Whom thou entreat'st, oh Telamon!
And name him Ajax, since in might
The bird that hither wing'd his flight 85
To him will just resemblance yield,
Tremendous in the martial field."
This said, he paused, and rested straight;
But all their virtues to relate,
From me a lengthen'd tale would claim. 90
Dispenser of the sacred feast,
Muse, to Phylacides a guest,
To Pytheas and Euthymenes I came.
Th' encomiastic strain shall be
Pronounced with Argive brevity. 87 95

Three crowns in the pancratium's fray,
Victorious on the Isthmian shore,
And some from Nemea's plain away
Th' illustrious sons and uncles bore.
What theme for lyric glory bright 100
Their valiant deeds have brought to light!
And with the Graces' fairest dew
Your tribe, Psaleuchidæ, imbue:
Themistius' house their love shall crown,
Dwelling in this Heaven-favour'd town; 105
While Lampo strives by deeds to prove,
And efforts of laborious care,
How much the words of Hesiod move
His warm approval to declare;
Exhorting his remotest race 110
Their common city's fame by valiant acts to grace.

Bless'd in the cherish'd strangers' love,
Retain'd within the mild control
Of mediocrity of soul:
His tongue ne'er wont beyond the mind to move.
His name among the athletes known, 116
Who oft were taught his might to feel,
Sounds like the hardy Naxian stone,
Which best subdues the temper'd steel.
To slake their thirst, them will I lave 120
In Dirce's pure and hallow'd wave,
Which the fair nymphs to light have brought,
Mnemosyne's assiduous train,
Whose costly robes with gold are wrought,
Where Cadmus' gates the well-built walls maintain. 111 125