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Python.

THE PYTHIAN GAMES

And after this the Earth spontaneous
produced the world of animals, when all
remaining moistures of the mirey fens
fermented in the sun, and fruitful seeds
in soils nutritious grew to shapes ordained.
So when the seven streamed Nile from oozy fields
returneth duly to her ancient bed,
the sun's ethereal rays impregn the slime,
that haply as the peasants turn the soil
they find strange animals unknown before:
some in the moment of their birth, and some
deprived of limbs, imperfect; often part
alive and part of slime inanimate
are fashioned in one body. Heat combined
with moisture so conceives and life results
from these two things. For though the flames may be
the foes of water, everything that lives
begins in humid vapour, and it seems
discordant concord is the means of life.

When Earth, spread over with diluvian ooze,
felt heat ethereal from the glowing sun,
unnumbered species to the light she gave,
and gave to being many an ancient form,
or monster new created. Unwilling she
created thus enormous Python.—Thou
unheard of serpent spread so far athwart
the side of a vast mountain, didst fill with fear
the race of new created man. The God
that bears the bow (a weapon used till then
only to hunt the deer and agile goat)
destroyed the monster with a myriad darts,
and almost emptied all his quiver, till
envenomed gore oozed forth from livid wounds.

Lest in a dark oblivion time should hide
the fame of this achievement, sacred sports
he instituted, from the Python called
“The Pythian Games.” In these the happy youth
who proved victorious in the chariot race,
running and boxing, with an honoured crown
of oak leaves was enwreathed. The laurel then
was not created, wherefore Phoebus, bright
and godlike, beauteous with his flowing hair,
was wont to wreathe his brows with various leaves.

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load focus English (Arthur Golding, 1567)
load focus Latin (Hugo Magnus, 1892)
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