Henry James Pye
The Ninth Olympic Ode Of Pindar - Poem by Henry James Pye
The Lay Archilochus prepar'd, the meed
Of every Victor on Olympia's sand,
Might have sufficed, thrice chanted, to proceed
Brave Epharmostus and his social band;
But from her bow let each Aonian maid
The glittering shafts of harmony prepare,
The heights of sacred Elis to invade,
Her shady forests, and her pastures fair;
Seats sacred still to thunder-bearing Jove,
Which Pelops gain'd, the dower of Hippodamia's love.
To Pythia too one dulcet arrow send.—
Nor does the Poet humble lays require
That sings the Chiefs for Glory who contend.—
To princely Opus now the silver lyre
Awake, and chant her sons athletic worth.
Opus, where Themis, with her daughter, reigns,
Divine Eunomia.—Mindful of his birth,
He decks the capital of Locris' plains
With every flower on Alpheus' brink that grows,
And every blooming wreath Castalia's cirque bestows.
My votive voice, in soothing lays,
Shall sing the much-lov'd city's praise;
And, swifter than the courser scours the plain,
Or the wing'd galley cleaves the yielding main,
Will send the Messenger of Fame
Through all the admiring world, her honors to proclaim.
If haply my assiduous hand
Shall cull the flowers that deck the Graces' Land.
For every bliss that crowns mankind,
Must from the Powers Superior rise;
And every plan's by them design'd,
That forms the Valiant or the Wise.
Favor'd by them, Alcides' nervous arm
Repell'd the Monarch of the briny flood;
Nor did the silver bow his heart alarm,
But, firmly, angry Phœbus' rage he stood;
Nor could stern Pluto's rod his breast dismay,
Which drives the dying to his drear abodes:—
Rash Muse, desist! nor urge the impious lay;
Hateful's the wisdom that blasphemes the Gods.—
'Tis madness, strength absurdly thus to boast,
And mortal might compare with Heaven's triumphant Host.
Let War and Disord, with the ills they bring,
Be banish'd distant from the Ethereal Train:
Fair Protogenia's new-rais'd city sing,
Where, from Parnassus to the level plain,
Deucalion and his Mate, descending first,
By Jove's command the rising dome design'd;
While from the stones their living offspring burst,
To fill the nations, and renew mankind.—
Let strains like these their pleas'd descendants hear,
Old wine delights the taste, new numbers charm the ear.
Of old o'er earth's involved head,
The congregated waters spread,
And o'er the wasted country urg'd their course;
Till Jove, relenting, check'd their ruthless force,
And bade their native beds again
The raging waves absorb, and spare the ravag'd plain.
From Pyrrha and Deucalion then
Your sires arose, a hardy race of men.
Thence your honor'd lineage springs,
The offspring of a a God's embrace;
And hence, for ever native Kings,
With glory reigns the warlike race.
Opus, thy daughter erst Olympic Jove
To shady Mænalus from Elis bore;
And there compressing with impetuous love,
Restor'd her to her plighted Lord once more,
Her womb then teeming with the heavenly child;
Lest fate his days without a son should claim.
The Hero on the foster'd Infant smil'd,
Pleas'd with his form, and gave his grandsire's name,
And subjects brave bestow'd, and fair domains;
Whence Opus' lofty walls, and Locris' hardy swains.
Drawn by his virtues, to whose friendly towers,
From Argos, Thebes, and Pisa's fertile plain,
And fair Arcadia, croud the social powers,
Menoetius, chief among the warrior train
He lov'd, from Actor and Ægina sprung:
Whose son when wrong'd Atrides call'd to arms,
Was nobly found the vengeful train among;
Who, when the Greeks from Telephus' alarms
Found shameful safety on the friendly flood
With Peleus' godlike son, the threatening storm withstood.
From hence the skilful well might find
The impatience of Patroclus' mind:
Achilles, therefore, with parental care,
Advis'd him ne'er alone to tempt the war.—
O could I soar on daring wings,
Where, in her rapid car, the Muse exulting sings;
(For ample power, and eager will,
Attend with duteous care her footsteps still
Thy social worth, and Isthmian prize,
Lampromachus, should grace my lay.
When Fame beheld two trophies rise
Congenial, in one rolling day.
Twice, Epharmostus, too, thy matchless might
Fair Corinth saw, twice Nemea's hallow'd ground:
Argos thy manly brows with glory dight,
And Attica thy youthful forehead crown'd:
What praise thou met'st in Marathon's fam'd course!
Now, scorning with the beardless youth to run,
Match'd with the veteran race, thy rapid force,
Temper'd with skill, the silver goblet won;
Shout with exulting voice the friendly train,
To see the loveliest youth the fairest trophies gain.
Lycæan Jove's high feast with wonder glow'd
As bold Parrhasia's sons thy form behold;
Her prize Pellene on thy strength bestow'd,
A guard from warring winds, and wintry cold.
Iolaus' tomb, and fair Eleusis' plain
Wash'd by the briny wave, thy deeds attest.
Though men by labor strive applause to gain,
Yet native merit ever shines the best;
Nor shall the wreaths attain'd by toil and care,
With heaven-descended might, and inborn worth compare.
Not every path extends the same,
But various are the roads to Fame;
With different eye the same pursuits we view,
Nor all one wish with equal zeal pursue;
But his great fame shall highest soar,
Who climbs the arduous heights of Science' sacred lore.
By which inspir'd, I now proclaim
My Hero's heaven-born strength, and native Fame;
Who, conqueror on Oïlia's plain,
Bade the bright wreath of Victory twine,
Great Ajax, round thy votive fane,
And graced with wreaths the hallow'd shrine.
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