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V.


FOR PHYLAKIDAS OF AIGINA,


WINNER IN THE PANKRATION.




This ode seems to be of earlier date than the last, though placed after it in our order. The occasion is similar. Probably it was sung at a banquet at Lampon's house.




As one may do amid merry revel of men, so mingle we a second time the bowls of Muses' melody in honour of Lampon's athlete progeny.

Our first, O Zeus, was unto thee, when at Nemea we[1] won thy excellent crown, and now is this second unto the lord[2] of Isthmos and unto the fifty daughters of Nereus, for that Phylakidas the youngest son is winner in the games. And be it ours to make ready yet a third for the Saviour[3], the Olympian one, and in honour of Aigina make libation of our honey-speaking song.

For if a man rejoice to suffer cost and toil, and achieve god-builded excellence, and therewithal fate plant for him fair renown, already at the farthest bounds of bliss hath such an one cast anchor, for the glory that he hath thereby from God.

With such desires prayeth the son[4] of Kleonikos that he may fulfil them ere he meet death or hoary eld.

Now I call on high-throned Klotho and her sister Fates to draw nigh unto the praying of the man I love.

And upon you also, golden-charioted seed of Aiakos, I say it is clear law to me to shed the dew of my good words, what time I set my foot[5] upon this isle.

For innumerable hundred-foot[6] straight roads are cleft for your fair deeds to go forth, beyond the springs of Nile, and through the Hyperboreans' midst: neither is any town so barbarous and strange of speech that it knoweth not the fame of Peleus, that blissful son-in-law of gods, or of Aias son of Telamon, and of Aias' sire; whom unto brazen war an eager ally with Tirynthian men Alkmene's son took with him in his ships to Troy, to the place of heroes' toil, to take vengeance for Laomedon's untruth.

There did Herakles take the city of Pergamos, and with help of Telamon slew the nations of the Meropes, and the herdsman whose stature was as a mountain, Alkyoneus whom he found at Phlegrai, and spared not of his hands the terrible twanging bow-string.

But when he went to call the son of Aiakos to the voyage he found the whole company at the feast. And as he stood there in his lion's skin, then did Telamon their chief challenge Amphitryon's son of the mighty spear to make initiative libation of nectar, and handed on unto him the wine-cup rough with gold.

And Herakles stretched forth to heaven his invincible hands and spake on this wise: 'If ever, O father Zeus, thou hast heard my prayer with willing heart, now, even now, with strong entreaty I pray thee that thou give this man a brave child of Eriboia's womb, that by award of fate my friend may gain a son of body as staunch[7] as this hide that hangeth about me, which was of the beast that I slew at Nemea, first of all my labours; and let his soul be of like sort.'

And when he had thus spoken, the god sent forth the king of birds, a mighty eagle, and sweet delight thrilled him within, and he spake aloud as a seer speaketh: 'Behold, the son whom thou askest shall be born unto thee, O Telamon:' also after the bird's name that had appeared unto them he said that the child's name should be the mighty Aias[8], terrible in the strife of warring hosts: so he spake, and sate him down straightway.

But for me it were long to tell all those valiant deeds. For for Phylakidas am I come, O Muse, a dispenser of thy triumphal songs, and for Pytheas, and for Euthymenes[9]; therefore in Argive fashion my tale shall be of fewest words.

Three victories have they won in the pankration of Isthmos, and others at leafy Nemea, even these noble sons and their mother's brother: how fair a portion of song have they brought to light! yea and they water with the Charites' delicious dew their clan of the Psalychidai, and have raised up the house of Themistios, and dwell here in a city which the gods love well.

And Lampon, in that he bestoweth practice on all he doth, holdeth in high honour the word of Hesiod which speaketh thereof[10], and exhorteth thereunto his sons, whereby he bringeth unto his city a general fame: and for his kind entreating of strangers is he loved, to the just mean aspiring, to the just mean holding fast; and his tongue departeth not from his thoughts: and among athlete men he is as the bronze-grinding Naxian whetstone amid stones[11].

Now will I give him to drink of the holy water of Dirke, which golden-robed Mnemosyne's deep-girdled daughters made once to spring out of the earth, beside the well-walled gates of Kadmos.




  1. I. e. Pytheas. See Nem. v.
  2. Poseidon.
  3. Ζεὺς Σωτήρ, to whom the third cup at a feast was drunk. He is here invoked also to give a third victory to the family at the Olympic games.
  4. Lampon.
  5. Figuratively said, as elsewhere.
  6. A hundred feet wide, seemingly.
  7. Not 'invulnerable.' A magic invulnerability was only attributed to heroes by later legend.
  8. From αἰετός an eagle.
  9. Maternal uncle of Pytheas and Phylakidas.
  10. μελέτη δέ τε ἔργον ὀφέλλει. Opp. 411.
  11. I. e. he stimulates their zeal and skill. The Naxian whetstone seems to be emery.