For Pytheas of Aegina
Pancratium at Nemea
?483 B. C.
He shall stop them from arrogant violence, bringing about judgments of law for mortals:
look how the descendant of Perseus brings his hand down heavily on the neck of the bloodthirsty lion with every type of skill!
For the gleaming, man-subduing bronze refuses to pierce the lion's fearsome body; the sword was bent back. Someday, I prophesy,
[in this place] there will be a strenuous toil for the Greeks, competing for garlands in the pancratium.”
... beside the altar of Zeus, the greatest ruler, the blossoms of glory-bringing Victory
nurture for men golden, conspicuous fame throughout their lives—for a select few—and when the dark cloud of death covers them,
the undying glory of their fine deed is left behind, secure in its destiny.
You too have attained this at Nemea
, son of Lampon;
your hair crowned with garlands of flourishing blossoms, [you walk] the lofty streets of the city [of Aeacus, so that] your ancestral island [teems] with gentle-voiced victory processions, in which mortals delight,
revealing your overweening strength in the pancratium. Kindly Aegina, daughter of the whirling river,
[the son of Cronus]
gave you great honor, shining [your new victory?] like a torch among all Greeks. And a proud maiden [sings the praises of your strength?]
... often lightly springing with her feet like a carefree fawn on the flowery [hills]
with her far-famed [companions] who live nearby.
The maidens wear garlands of crimson blossoms and rushes, the native decoration, and sing of your [child],
mistress of the all-hospitable [land], and of rosy-armed Endaïs, who bore [godlike Peleus] and the helmeted warrior Telamon, having gone to bed with Aeacus.
Of their battle-rousing sons I shall sing, and of swift Achilles, and the high-spirited son of beautiful Eriboea, Aias, the shield-bearing hero,
who stood on the stern of his ship and stopped bold-hearted, bronze [helmeted] Hector in his rush to burn the ships with dread fire,
at the time when the son of Peleus stirred fierce wrath [in his breast]
and released the [Dardanians from ruin]. Before they had not left the [many-towered]
marvellous town of Ilium
, but had cowered, dazed by fear, before the fierce battle, when Achilles raged destructively across the plain,
shaking his murderous spear. But when the fearless son of the violet-garlanded Nereid withdrew from battle,
—as when the North wind, on the dark-blossoming sea,
afflicts the spirits of men beneath the waves, when it comes upon them as night begins, but it withdraws with the break of Dawn, who shines on mortals, and a gentle breeze smooths the sea;
they billow their sail with the breath of the South wind, and eagerly reach unhoped-for dry land—
in such a way, when the Trojans heard that the spearman Achilles
was remaining in his tent because of the golden-haired woman Briseis with lovely limbs, they raised their arms to the gods, seeing a bright
gleam from out of the storm. With all speed they left the walls of Laomedon and rushed onto the plain, bringing violent battle,
and roused terror in the Danaans. Ares, god of the spear, urged them on, and Loxias Apollo, lord of the Lycians. And they came to the shore of the sea,
and fought beside the ships with their fine sterns, and the dark earth ran red with the blood of men slain by the hand of Hector,
... heroes ... through the onslaught of godlike ...
... with great hopes, and arrogant shouts,
the Trojan horsemen ... the dark-eyed ships ... the god-built city would have ... and feasts, in ... But before that could be they were doomed after all
to redden with blood the whirling Scamander,
dying at the hands of the tower-destroying [Aeacidae.] Of these, if ... or on a [pyre] piled high with wood ...
for all-shining Excellence is not hidden and effaced in the lightless [veil?] of night,
but always abounding in unfailing glory
she roams the earth and the shifting seas. And truly she honors the fame-bringing [island] of Aeacus; she guides the state with garland-loving Eucleia
and sound-minded Eunomia, to whom festivities belong, and who guards the cities of pious men in peace.
Sing, young men, of the very glorious victory of Pytheas, and the helpful care of Menander, which often by the streams of the Alpheus has been honored by
holy, great-spirited Athena of the golden chariot; before now she has garlanded the hair of countless men with crowns in the panhellenic contests.
Let every man
who is not bullied by bold-tongued envy praise the man who is skillful, as is just. All works of mortals are open to fault-finding. But truth tends
to win the victory, and all-subduing time always [preserves] a fine deed. The [vain speech] of enemies diminishes, unseen ...
warms the spirit with hope. With such hope I too, trusting in the [Muses] with their crimson headdresses,
present a [crown] of songs, [of newly-combed wool],
and honor the splendor-loving hospitality which [you], Lampon, [have provided] for me; may you not regard [my gift for your son] as slight. And if it truly is flourishing Clio who has distilled this gift in my [mind],
songs filled with words of delight will proclaim him to all the people.