For them shines the might of the sun below during nighttime up here, and in meadows of red roses their country abode is laden with . . . shady frankincense trees and trees with golden fruit, and some take delight in horses and exercises, others in draughts, and others in lyres; and among them complete happiness blooms and flourishes. A fragrance spreads throughout the lovely land, as they continually mingle offerings of all kinds (with far-shining fire on the gods’ altars)*. portion from there gifts, oxen-sacrifice(s) wife . . . . . . to Olympus
* The papyrus omits v. 10 in the passage from Plutarch.
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)
But tawny Achilles lived in the house of Philyra
and as yet a boy did great things; in his hands hefting
javelins scantly tipped with iron, wind-light,
he wreaked death in bloody combat upon wild lions;
he struck down boars, and to the house of the Kronian
centaur dragged the gasping carcasses,
at six years, and thereafter for the rest of his time;
and amazed Artemis and stern Athene,
killing deer without hounds or treacherous nets,
for he ran them down in his speed. (tr. Richmond Lattimore)
Would that all of time may, in this way, keep his prosperity and the gift of wealth on a straight course, and bring forgetfulness of troubles. Indeed he might remember in what kind of battles of war he stood his ground with an enduring soul, when, by the gods’ devising, they found honor such as no other Greek can pluck, a proud garland of wealth. But now he has gone to battle in the manner of Philoctetes; and under compulsion even a haughty man fawned on him for his friendship. They say that the god-like heroes went to bring from Lemnos that man afflicted with a wound, the archer son of Poeas, who sacked the city of Priam and brought an end to the toils of the Danaans; he went with a weak body, but it was fated. (tr. Diane Arnson Svarlien)