Pindar Isthmian 8 Kleandros of Aigina, Pancratium

For Kleandros and his youth, for the glorious Str. 1

   requital of his efforts, let one of you, O young men,

awaken—at the splendid portico

of his father Telesarchos--

the festive procession both for reward

   of his Isthian victory and because at the games

of Nemea he was triumphant: and I also, though grieved

at heart, am asked to invoke the golden

Muse. Having been freed from great sorrows,

let us not fall into dearth of garlands,

nor nurse your own troubles;

   but ceasing from inefectual evils,

sing to the citizens something sweet, even after toil,

since a god from us

has turned away that torment

   from over our heads, the very rock of Tantalos,

the unbearable hardship of Hellas. Str. 2

   But for me the passing of terror

has stopped my mighty tension; it's better

always to look

at everything before our feet, for hangs a treacherous

   time over men

twisting the course of their existence.

   Yet long as mortals have freedom, they're healable

even with this. A man must cherish good hope.

Must one also, raised at seven-gated Thebes,

offer the choicest bloom of Graces to Aigina,

because these were twins

   raised by one father, youngest

daughters of Asopos, and favored by King Zeus.

He established one on the fairflowing

stream Dirke, the mistress

   of a city that loves chariots,

but carrying you to the island of Oinopia Str. 3

   he slept with you and there you bore divine

Aiakos, dearest to his loud-thundering father

of men on earth; and he also

among the gods settled

   disputes; his godlike sons

were bravest in valor and their sons

   were Ares loving men in war

to beset the shrieking bronze din of battle,

and they were wise and prudent in spirit.

Even the assembly of the blessed remembered this

when Zeus and splendid Poseidon

   wrangled over marriage to Thetis,

each wishing she would be

his own comely wife; for Eros grasped them.

But to them the immortal minds

   of the gods did not grant a wedding-bed,

when they heard the divine decree; spoke Str. 4

   in their midst the wise counseling Thetis,

that it was fated for the goddess of the sea

to bear a royal son mightier

than the father, who would wield

   with a rash hand

another weapon, superior to the thunderbolt

   or the irresistible trident, if joined to Zeus

or the brothers of Zeus. “Come, all this

stop. Winning the bed of mortals

let her see a son of hers die in war,

his hands a match for Ares

   and the swift power of his feet like lightning.

My view, bestow this god-blessed gift

of marriage to Aiakos' son Peleus,

who's said to be the most hallowed man

   raised on the plain of Iolkos.

Let the announcement go to the deathless Str 5

   cave of Chirone without delay, 

and don't let Nereus' daughter put leaves of strife

twice into the very hands

of us; during a full moon

   evening let her loosen

the lovely bridle of her virginity in submission

   to that hero.” Thus spoke the goddess

addressing Kronos' sons; and with immortal

brows they nodded. The fruit of her words

didn't waste away. For they say the lord

agreed with others to heed even the marriage

   with Thetis, and voices of poets revealed, 

to those not aware, the youthful valor of Achilles;

he also vine-rich Mysia

smote with the black gore

   of Telephos raining the plain,

he cast a bridge for homecoming Str. 6

   to the Atreidai, having unbound Helen, the sinews

of Troy slicing by sword, who once resisted him

marshalling the work

of man-slaying battle

   in the plain: Memnon mighty

and daring and Hektor and other

champions; to them the home of Persephone

Achilles revealed, the custody of his own Aiakidai

he gave back to Aigina and their true root in fame.

When he died the songs didn't forsake him,

but beside pyre

   and tomb the Helikonian maidens 

stood, and their many-voiced dirge poured over him.

Indeed it seemed best to the immortals

that a brave man, even though dead,

   receive the hymns of the goddesses.

This principle even now endures, and the Muses Str. 7

   chariot rushes onward to sing

the memory of the boxer Nikokles. Praise him,

who won in the Isthmian 

glen the Dorian celery; when men living around him 

he conquered one time and 

   with an inescapable hand driving them in confusion.

He is not disgraced by the offspring 

of his father's noble brother; therefore let a comrade

in honor of the pancratium weave for Kleandros 

a gracious garland of myrtle, since

   the contest of Alkathoos 

and the youth in Epidauros welcomed him before in success.

Praise is easy for the good;

for he did not suppress into a hole

   a youth inexperienced of noble deeds.

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4 Responses to Pindar Isthmian 8 Kleandros of Aigina, Pancratium

  1. jerseycityjoan says:

    The poem itself doesn’t appear on my Android smartphone screen.

  2. English Outsider says:

    Thank you. I’ve been following some grubby politics recently over here in Europe. These noble lines remind me that it doesn’t all have to be squalid.

    Hard work mind you! Have to read it a few times before it starts to come together.

  3. Deap says:

    …”for Eros grasped them” …… made me think Cuomo could use this as a passive defense for his own actions. Or even Pepe Le Pew ……. these gentlemen were simply “grasped by Eros”. How simple the Gods made life back then.

    ….”Even the assembly of the blessed remembered this
    when Zeus and splendid Poseidon
    wrangled over marriage to Thetis,
    each wishing she would be
    his own comely wife; for Eros grasped them…..”

Comments are closed.