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Ode 18 (Dithyramb 4)
Theseus [for the Athenians]

King of sacred Athens, lord of the luxuriously-living Ionians, why has the bronze-belled trumpet just now sounded a war song?

[5] Does some enemy of our land beset our borders, leading an army? Or are evil-plotting robbers, against the will of the shepherds, [10] rustling our flocks of sheep by force? What is it that tears your heart? Speak; for I think that you of all mortals have the aid of valiant young men at your disposal, [15] son of Pandion and Creusa.

Just now a herald arrived, having come by foot on the long road from the Isthmus. He tells of the indescribable deeds of a mighty man. That man killed overweening

[20] Sinis, who was the greatest of mortals in strength; he is the son of Lytaeus the Earthshaker, son of Cronus. And he has slain the man-killing boar in the valleys of Cremmyon, and reckless [25] Sciron. He has closed the wrestling school of Cercyon; Procoptes has met a better man and dropped the powerful hammer of Polypemon. [30] I fear how this will end.

Who is the man said to be, and from where? How is he equipped? Is he leading a great army with weapons of war?

[35] Or does he come alone with only his attendants, like a traveller wandering among foreign people, this man who is so strong, valiant, and bold, who has overcome the powerful strength [40] of such great men? Indeed a god impels him, so that he can bring justice down on the unjust; for it is not easy to accomplish deed after deed and not meet with evil. [45] In the long course of time all things come to an end.

The herald says that only two men accompany him, and that he has a sword slung over his bright shoulders

... and two polished javelins in his hands, [50] and a well-made Laconian hat on his head with its fire-red hair. A purple tunic covers his chest, and a woolen Thessalian cloak. [55] Bright red Lemnian fire flashes from his eyes. He is a boy in the prime of youth, intent on the playthings of Ares: war and battles of clashing bronze. [60] He is on his way to splendor-loving Athens.

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