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…..”

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