I shall mount the wreathed ship to speak aloud
your praise. Your youth is staunch in valor to endure
stark battle; whence I say you have found glory that knows no measure
in striving against those who rode horses in battle
and the fighting footranks also. But your elder counsels
set me free to speak forth
in your praise, a word without peril
against any man’s contention. Hail, then! This melody is sent you
like Phoenician ware over the gray sea.
Be fain to behold and welcome the Kastor-chant
on Aiolian strings, by grace
of the seven-stringed lyre.
Learn what you are and be such. See, the ape to children is a pretty thing, pretty indeed.
But Rhadamanthys has done well, to reap
a blameless harvest of the mind, without joy of deception at the inward heart,
such as ever befalls a man by action of those who whisper.
To both sides the speakers of slander are an evil beyond control.
They are minded like foxes, utterly.
But what good then befalls the greedy fox of his slyness?
As when the rest of the gear founders in the sea’s
depth, I, the cork at the net, ride not drenched in the brine. (tr. Richmond Lattimore)
One should pluck the fruits of love at the right time, my heart, in youth. But whoever has seen the rays flashing from Theoxenus’ eyes and is not overwhelmed by desire has a black heart forged from adamant or steel with a cold flame, dishonoured by bright-eyed Aphrodite, or struggles compulsively for wealth, or through a woman’s daring is borne along serving a totally cold path (?). As for me, because of her [sc. Aphrodite] I melt like the sun-bitten wax of holy bees, whenever I look upon the young-limbed youth of boys. Truly even in Tenedos Persuasion and Grace inhabit the son of Hagesilas. (tr. Richard Rawles)
If they who watch on Olympos have honored
any man, that was Tantalos; but he was not
able to swallow his great fortune, and for his high stomach
drew a surpassing doom when our father
hung the weight of the stone above him.
He waits ever the stroke at his head and is divided from joy.
That life is too much for his strength; he is buckled fast in torment,
agony fourth among three others, because he stole
and gave to his own fellowship
that ambrosia and nectar
wherewith the gods made him immortal. If any man thinks to swindle
God, he is wrong. (tr. Richard Lattimore)
There is one
race of men, one race of gods; both have breath
of life from a single mother. But sundered power
holds us divided, so that the one is nothing, while for the
other the brazen sky is established
their sure citadel forever. Yet we have some likeness in great
intelligence, or strength, to the immortals,
though we know not what the day will bring, what course
destiny has written that we must run to the end. (tr. Richard Lattimore)
We spoke of the sweet necessity of return that stayed
our lingering. He named himself Eurypylos, son of the earthshaker immortal, Poseidon;
he understood our haste, but, tearing a clod from the soil,
proffered it in his right hand, a token of friendship.
The hero Euphamos disobeyed him not, but, vaulting ashore,
set hand in hand and accepted the magic piece of earth.
They tell me that, washed from the deck,
it has gone with the current,
at nightfall down the salt sea’s bending track. Indeed, over and again I charged
the grooms, easing their masters, to guard it well. But their hearts forgot.
And now the seed imperishable of wide
Libya is washed before its time to this island. (tr. Richmond Lattimore)