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THE SECOND OLYMPIC ODE

OF

PINDAR.

Written in praise of Theron, prince of Agrigentum (a famous

city in Sicily, built by his ancestors), who, in the seventyseventh Olympic, won the chariot-prize. He is commended from the nobility of his race (whose story is often touched on); from his great riches (an ordinary common-place in Pindar); from his hospitality, munificence, and other virtues. The Ode (according to the constant custom of the Poet) consists more in digressions than in the main subject : and the Reader most not be choked to hear him speak so often of his own Muse; for that is a liberty which this kind of poetry can hardly live without.

QUEEN of all harmonious things,

Dancing words, and speaking strings ! What God, what Hero, wilt thou sing ? What happy man to equal glories bring?

Begin, begin thy noble choice, And let the hills around reflect the image of thy Pisa does to Jove belong ;

(voice. Jove and Pisa claim thy song. The fair first-fruits of war, the Olympic games, Alcides offer'd

up

to Jove; Alcides too thy strings may move;

[prove! But, oh! what man to join with these can worthy Join Theron boldly to their sacred names;

Theron the next honour claims;

Theron to no man gives place,
Is first in Pisa's and in Virtue's race;

Theron there, and he alone,
Even his own swift forefathers has outgone.

They through rough ways, o'er many stops they

pass’d,
Till on the fatal bank at last
They Agrigentum built, the beauteous eye

Of fair-faced Sicily :
Which does itself i’ the river by

With pride and joy espy.
Then cheerful notes their painted years did sing,
And Wealth was one, and Honour the'other, wing;
Their genuine virtues did more sweet and clear,

In Fortune's graceful dress, appear.

To which, great son of Rhea! say
The firm word which forbids things to decay!

If in Olympus' top, where thou
Sitt'st to behold thy sacred show;
If in Alpheus' silver flight';
If in my verse thou dost delight,
My verse,

O Rhea's son! which is
Lofty as that, and smooth as this.

For the past sufferings of this noble race (Since things once past, and fled out of thine hand,

Hearken no more to thy command)
Let present joys fill up their place,
And with Oblivion's silent stroke deface
Of foregone ills the very trace.

In no illustrious line
Do these happy changes shine

More brightly, Theron! than in thine. i
VOL. II.

K

So, in the crystal palaces

Of the blue-eyed Nereides,
Ino her endless youth does please,
And thanks her fall into the seas.
Beauteous Semele does no less
Her cruel midwife, Thunder, bless;

Whilst, sporting with the Gods on high,
She' enjoys secure their company;

Plays with lightnings as they fly,
Nor trembles at the bright embraces of the Deity.

But death did them from future dangers free;
What God, alas! will caution be

For living man's security,
Or will ensure our vessel in this faithless sea ?

Never did the sun as yet
So healthful a fair-day beget,
That travelling mortals might rely on it.

But Fortune's favour and her spite
Roll with alternate waves like day and night :
Vicissitudes which thy great race pursue,
E’er since the fatal son his father slew,

And did old oracles fulfil
Of Gods that cannot lie, for they foretell but their

own will. Erynnis saw 't, and made in her own seed

The innocent Parricide to bleed; She slew his wrathful sons with mutual blows :

But better things did then succeed,
And brave Thersander, in amends for what was

past arose.
Brave Thersander was by none,
In war, or warlike sports, outdone.
Thou, Theron, his great virtues dost revive;
He in my verse and thee again does live.

Loud Olympus happy thee,
Isthmus and Nemæa does twice happy see;

For the well-natured honour there,
Which with thy brother thou didst share,

Was to thee double grown

By not being all thine own;
And those kind pious glories do deface
The old fraternal quarrel of thy race.

Greatness of mind and fortune too

The Olympic trophies show: Both their several parts must do

In the noble chase of fame; This without that is blind, that without this is lame, Nor is fair Virtue's picture seen aright

But in Fortune's golden light. Riches alone are of uncertain date,

And on short man long cannot wait;

The virtuous make of them the best, And put

them out to fame for interest; With a frail good they wisely buy The solid purchase of eternity:

[and know They, whilst life's air they breathe, consider well, The' account they must hereafter give below; Whereas the unjust and covetous above,

In deep unlovely vaults, By the just decrees of Jove,

Unrelenting torments prove, The heavy necessary effects of voluntary faults.

Whilst in the lands of unexhausted light,
O'er which the godlike sun's unwearied sight

Ne'er winks in clouds, or sleeps in night,
And endless spring of age the good enjoy,

Where neither Want does pinch, nor Plenty cloy: There neither earth nor sea they plow,

Nor aught to labour owe
For food, that whilst it nourishes does decay,
And in the lamp of life consumes away.
Thrice had these men through mortal bodies pass'd,

Did thrice the trial undergo,
Till all their little dross was purged at last,

The furnace had no more to do.
Then in rich Saturn's peaceful state

Were they for sacred treasures placed,
The Muse-discovered world of Islands Fortunate.

Soft-footed winds with tuneful voices there

Dance through the perfumed air : There silver rivers through enameld meadows glide,

And golden trees enrich their side; The' illustrious leaves no dropping autumn fear,

And jewels for their fruit they bear,

Which by the bless'd are gathered For bracelets to the arm, and garlands to the head. Here all the Heroes, and their Poets, live; Wise Rhadamanthus did the sentence give,

Who for his justice was thought fit
With sovereign Saturn on the bench to sit.

Peleus here, and Cadmus, reign ;
Here great Achilles, wrathful now no more,

Since his bless'd mother (who before

Had try'd it on his body' in vain) Dipp'd now his soul in Stygian lake, Which did from thence a divine hardness take, That does from passion and from vice invulnerable

make.

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