Henry James Pye
The Eighth Olympic Ode Of Pindar - Poem by Henry James Pye
Olympia! Mother of heroic Games!
Queen of true Prophecy! beneath whose grove
While the red victims pile the aspiring flames,
The Augurs search the high behests of Jove:
Thence try to know on whom he'll deign to smile
Of those, who, by the means of glorious toil,
Seek on the dusty cirque with generous pain,
Virtue's immortal meed, and honor'd rest to gain.
For to the supplications of the Good
He ever deigns a favoring ear to give,
O Pisa's woody shades, o'er Alpheus' flood
That wave, my wreath-bestowing Song receive;
Eternal Fame, and endless Honors shine,
On him whose brows thy sacred Leaves entwine.—
For different pleasures, different bosoms glow,
And various ways to bliss the indulgent Gods bestow.
Timosthenes, what fair renown
Was on thy almost infant actions shed,
When genial Jove resolv'd with Fame to crown
Thine and thy Brother's youthful head!
While shouting Nemea owns thy conquering name,
And Pisa's groves Alcimedon proclaim:
Lovely shone his form, and face;
Nor did his deeds that form disgrace,
When, Victor in the glorious strife,
He bade the listening woods around
Ægina's sea-girt shores resound;
Whose regions gave him life.
There sacred Themis sits, belov'd of Jove,
Her favorite people's ever-watchful guard,
The crouded coasts where various nations move
To judge with skill, and sway in peace, is hard;
By Heaven's decree, amidst the briny flood
This isle, to every stranger sacred, stood
A column firm.—O ne'er may rolling time,
Or black misfortune, change the hospitable clime!
Here Doria's warlike race their reign begun;
Here, after Æacus, their empire rose,
Whom potent Neptune, and Latona's son,
The friend, and partner of their labor, chose,
What time with social care, those heavenly powers
Crown'd Ilion's sacred seat with strengthen'd towers:
For even then the hostile Fates decreed
Her ample Fanes should fall, her hardy Warriors bleed.
When the massy work was rais'd,
Three azure Dragons on the new-made wall
With fury sprung—the people saw amaz'd
Two on the ground expiring fall;
The third with horrid roars the summit gain'd,
When Phœbus thus the fatal sign explain'd:
‘O Æacus, the insulting foe
‘Shall lay the haughty turrets low,
‘Which thou hast rear'd with mortal hands:
‘Ilion, I see thy fate decreed;
‘And in this omen plainly read
‘Immortal Jove's commands.
‘Nor shall without thy race these bulwarks fall,
‘Thy sons at first shall shake the new-form'd state;
‘The hostile Gods thy grandson's offspring call,
‘To seal it's doom, and close the work of fate.’
Thus spoke the God, and straight o'er Xanthus' tide
His skilful hands the heavenly coursers guide,
Till midst the warrior race his chariot stood
Of Amazonian Dames, by Isther's frozen flood.
Immortal Neptune's golden horses now
To sea-beat Isthmus bear his rapid car:
There Æacus on Corinth's lofty brow
They leave, spectator of the sportive war.—
No bliss alike charms all.—The votive lays
Shall envy blast, that chant Melesias' praise?
Whose infant sinews, courting fair renown,
Add to his other wreaths the fam'd Nemean crown.
After, with manly sinews strong,
He in the great Pancratium won the prize:—
To teach, must surely to the skill'd belong,
Experience fools alone despise:
Full well the Hero knows above the rest
To form with precepts sage the manly breast;
To point the surest path that leads
To glorious acts, and daring deeds,
And future wreaths of fame prepare;
And well his Pupil's fair renown,
Who now has won the thirtieth crown,
Rewards his Teacher's care.
By fortune favor'd, nor by manhood less,
Four striplings in the strife he overcame,
Bade infamy their vanquish'd limbs oppress,
And sent them home with foreheads veil'd in shame;
While to his Grandsire's hoary head he brings
Triumphant joy, whence health, whence vigor springs;
For he whom Fortune fans with prosperous breath,
Forgets the pains of Age, and near approach of Death.
Mnemosyne, awake the silver Lyre,
Lo! the Blepsiadæ demand the song:
Well their brave brows the flowery bands require,
To whom now six Olympic Crowns belong.
Nor will the Muse forget the honor'd head
Though sunk to earth, and number'd with the dead.
The virtuous actions of the Good and Brave,
Shall rouze the sleeping dust, and pierce the silent grave.
Iphion 'midst the infernal seats
The pleasing news from Hermes' daughter hears;
He to Callimachus the tale repeats,
Who drinks it with exulting ears,
That Jove's supreme behest had deign'd to grace
With Pisa's sacred meed their happy race.
Still may he good on good bestow,
No pallid sickness let them know,
Nor Nemesis their social band
By cursed Discord e'er disjoin;
But happy may they ever shine,
To bless their native land!
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