Orchomenos, in Boeotia, was a very ancient city, the home of the famous Minyai (v. 4), where the Charites were worshipped from the earliest times. The poem, as we have it, contains scarcely more than an invocation and exaltation of the Charites, and an announcement of the Olympian victory of the boy Asopichos, who won the single-dash foot-race, Ol. 76 (476 B.C.). This victory Echo is bidden report to the father of Asopichos, who is now in the abode of Persephone. While the poem closes well, the massive structure of the strophe gives the piece the effect of a torso. The song is supposed to have been sung in a procession (κοῦφα βιβῶντα, v. 17) to the temple of the Charites for the dedication of the wreath. The metres are logaoedic. The mood is said by the poet himself to be Lydian (v. 17). The soft Lydian measure was especially suited to boys' voices (πρέπει τῇ τῶν παίδων ἡλικίᾳ, Aristot. Pol., end, p. 1342 b 32), and was in favorite use for prayers and plaints, and consequently well adapted to the close of the poem, in which the dead father of the victor is mentioned. Poets have admired the ode greatly — while editors have complained of its difficulties.
Strophe 1Καφισίων: On this Kephisos, see Strabo 405. 407. It was a common river-name, and is found in Attika, Salamis, Sikyon, Skyros, Argolis. λαχοῖσαι αἵτε: Bergk writes ταίτε for αἵτε of the MSS., which Mommsen defends, -αι in λαχοῖσαι being shortened, as often in dactylic poetry. The Pindaric passages cited by Mommsen (P. 5.72, and 8, 96) have been emended, the latter with good warrant. Böckh reads λαχοῖσαν. On the lot (λάχος), compare O. 7.58. καλλίπωλον: On account of the pasturage. Compare the praise of the Attic Kephisos in Sophokles, O. C. 668: “εὐίππου, ξένε, κτἑ.” , and 677: “εὔιππον, εὔπωλον” .
λιπαρᾶς : λ. is used of Thebes, P. 2.3. Elsewhere of Athens, N. 4.17; I. 2, 20; and in the famous fragment IV. 4: ὦ ταὶ λιπαραὶ καὶ ἰοστέφανοι καὶ ἀοίδιμοι, ι Ἑλλάδος ἔρεισμα, κλειναὶ Ἀθᾶναι, δαιμόνιον πτολίεθρον.
Ὀρχομενοῦ: Mommsen has Ἐρχομενοῦ, the local form, after Cavedoni. The change is advocated by van Herwerden also. Μινυᾶν: Minyas was the son of Poseidon and Kallirrhoë. His descendants, the Minyans, were the Vikings of Greek legend.
τά τε τερπνὰ καὶ ι τὰ γλυκέα: τε ... καί is usually employed to couple opposites or complements, as Mommsen notes. If τὸ τερπνόν is the transient diversion (Schmidt, Synonym.), and τὸ γλυκύ the immanent sweetness, there would be enough difference to justify the combination.
ἄνεται: So Kayser for γίνεται. βροτοῖς: “For,” only incidentally “by.” The Schol. correctly γίνεται καὶ συμβαίνει.
σοφός: “Skilled in song.” See O. 1.9. 116. ἀγλαός: Of victory, which is often represented as sheen (compare O. 13.5: ἀγλαόκουρον, 14: ἀγλαΐαν), and Aglaïa is one of the Graces.
ἁγνᾶν: So Kayser, to save the metre; the MSS. σεμνᾶν: cf. fr. VI. 1: σεμνᾶν Χαρίτων μέλημα τερπνόν, and Eur. Hel. 134: “σεμναὶ Χάριτες” . For ἁγνᾶν, see Sappho, fr. 65 (Bgk.): ἄγναι Χάριτες, and Alkaios, fr. 62 (Bgk.). Χαρίτων ἄτερ: See P. 2.42.
οὐδὲ ... κοιρανέοισιν χ. = οὐδὲ κοιρανέοισιν οὔτε χοροὺς οὔτε δαῖτας. The first neg. omitted. See O. 11 (10), 17. κ. = διακοσμοῦσι (Schol.), “consent to be the lords” (κοσμήτορες). ταμίαι: Mommsen inclines to τάμιαι, a theoretical fem. form. Cf. O. 13.7: Δίκα καὶ ὁμότροφος Εἰρήνα ταμίαι πλούτου, and Eur. Med. 1415: “πολλῶν ταμίας Ζεὺς ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ” . Even in prose, Isok. 11, 13: τῶν ὄμβρων καὶ τῶν αὐχμῶν ὁ Ζεὺς ταμίας ἐστίν.
θέμεναι ... θρόνους: Leop. Schmidt suspects the statement of the Schol. that the thrones of the Muses were placed at the right hand of Apollo in Delphi.
ἀέναον ... τιμάν: ἀ. is more poetic as a proleptic adj. than as an adverb. Καφίσια ὕδατα calls up the image of ὕδατα ἀενάοντα. The honor of Zeus is “as a river.”
Strophe 2πότνἰ Ἀγλαΐα: Aglaïa was especially the mistress of victory (see v. 7), as Thaleia presided especially over feasts (κῶμοι). The three Graces were first fixed by Hesiod, Theog. 909: Ἀγλαΐην τε καὶ Εὐφροσύνην Θαλίην τ᾽ ἐρατεινήν.
φιλησίμολπε ... ἐρασίμολπε: As one might shift from φιλεῖν to ἐρᾶν, the weaker to the stronger. Toying with synonyms was not impossible for P. θεῶν κρατίστου: Zeus was the father, Eurynome, an Okeanid, the mother, acc. to Hesiod (Theog. 907).
ἐπακοοῖτε νῦν: So Bergk and Mommsen (for ἐπάκοοι νῦν of the MSS.) from a supposed ἐπηκοέω, not an attractive formation. Other conjectures are: ἐπάκοοι τανῦν, Herm., Dissen, but we must have imperative or optative; ἐπάκοος γενεῦ, Herm., Böckh, Schneidewin.
κοῦφα βιβῶντα: So Hom. Il. 13. 158: κοῦφα ποσὶ προβιβάς. Ἀσώπιχον: Diminutive from Ἀσωπός. Λυδῷ ... ἐν τρόπῳ: Mommsen recognizes a kind of ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, to which figure P., indeed, comes nearer than does any other Greek poet, but τρόπῳ is “the tune,” and μελέταις is the verse. “With Lydian tune and meditated lays.” ἐν, of the flute, O. 5.19; 7, 12; N. 3.79; of the cithern, P. 2.69; I. 4 (5), 27.
ἔμολον: See O. 7.13: κατέβαν.
Μινύεια: Aeolic accentuation, as in Κύκνεια, O. 10 (11), 17. Orchomenos is so called to distinguish it from the Arkadian city of the same name.
σεῦ ϝέκατι: Thaleia, not because she is κορυφαία generally, but because this is the κῶμος, of which she has special charge.
ἐλθέ, ϝαχοῖ: Ahrens writes ἔλυθ᾽, metri causa. With the passage compare O. 8.81, where Ἀλλελία, a daughter of Hermes, is supposed to discharge the same office. Echo belongs to the Orchomenian sphere, by reason of her passion for Narkissos, son of Kephisos.
Κλεόδαμον: Father of Asopichos. ὄφρ᾽ ἰδοῖσα: ϝ lost. υἱὸν ... ὅτι: Prolepsis for ὅτι ... υἱός. Compare P. 9.121.
κόλποις παρ᾽ εὐδόξοις: So Bergk for εὐδόξοιο. On παρά, see O. 1.20.
ἐστεφάνωσε: The middle (O. 7.15), though natural, is not necessary. χαίταν represents ἓ αὐτόν. So P. 10.40: κόμας ἀναδήσαντες. πτεροῖσι: Cf. P. 9.135: πολλὰ δὲ πρόσθεν πτερὰ δέξατο Νίκας. Wreaths are wings, because they bear the champion aloft, ἐπαείροντι (O. 9.23).