In memory of the victories of Xenocrates of Acragas
?470 B. C.
The men of old, Thrasybulus, who mounted the chariot of the Muses with their golden headbands, joining the glorious lyre, lightly shot forth their honey-voiced songs for young men, if one was handsome and had
the sweetest ripeness that brings to mind Aphrodite on her lovely throne.
For in those days the Muse was not yet a lover of gain, nor did she work for hire. And sweet gentle-voiced odes did not go for sale, with silvered faces, from honey-voiced Terpsichore. But as things are now, she bids us heed
the saying of the Argive
man, which comes closest to actual truth:
“Money, money makes the man,” he said, when he lost his wealth and his friends at the same time. But enough, for you are wise. I sing the Isthmian victory with horses, not unrecognized, which Poseidon granted to Xenocrates,
and sent him a garland of Dorian wild celery for his hair, to have himself crowned,
thus honoring the man of the fine chariot, the light of the people of Acragas. And in Crisa
widely powerful Apollo looked graciously on him, and gave him glory there as well. And joined with the renowned favors of the sons of Erechtheus
in splendid Athens, he found no fault with the chariot-preserving hand of the man who drove his horses,
the hand with which Nicomachus gave the horses full rein at the right moment—that driver whom the heralds of the seasons, the Elean truce-bearers of Zeus son of Cronus recognized, since they had no doubt experienced some hospitable act of friendship from him.
And with sweet-breathing voice they greeted him when he fell into the lap of golden Victory
in their own land, which they call the precinct of Olympian Zeus, where the sons of Aenesidamus were linked with immortal honors.
Truly, Thrasybulus, the homes of your family are not unfamiliar with lovely victory-processions, nor with the sweet boasting of songs.
For it is no hill to climb, nor is the road steep, if one brings the honors of the Heliconian Muses to the homes of famous men.
Having hurled the discus far, may I fling my javelin as far beyond all others, as Xenocrates obtained a sweet temper surpassing all men. He was honored in his townsmen's company,
and he upheld the raising of horses according to the customs of all Greeks. He also welcomed all the banquets for the gods,
and the force of the blowing wind never made him furl his sail around his hospitable table; he journeyed as far as Phasis
in the summer, and in the winter sailed to the banks of the Nile
Now, although envious hopes beset the minds of mortals, let him never hush in silence either his father's excellence
or these songs. For I did not fashion them to stand idle. Give this message, Nicasippus, when you come across my trusty friend.