Reasons for Wonder, Reasons for Lies

Pindar, Olympian 1, 27-37

“Really, there are many reasons to be amazed
But I guess that somehow mortal rumor
Goes beyond the strict truth
And that stories embellished with fancy lies

See, Charis, who makes everything gentle for mortals,
Transforms the incredible to the credible
By adding in honor.
But the days left to us
Are the clearest witnesses.

So, it is right for a men to speak well about the gods,
There’s less blame in it.”

ἦ θαύματα πολλά, καί πού τι καὶ βροτῶν
φάτις ὑπὲρ τὸν ἀλαθῆ λόγον
δεδαιδαλμένοι ψεύδεσι ποικίλοις
ἐξαπατῶντι μῦθοι.
Χάρις, δ᾿, ἅπερ ἅπαντα τεύχει τὰ μείλιχα θνατοῖς,

ἐπιφέροισα τιμὰν καὶ ἄπιστον ἐμήσατο πιστόν
ἔμμεναι τὸ πολλάκις·
ἁμέραι δ᾿ ἐπίλοιποι
μάρτυρες σοφώτατοι.

ἔστι δ᾿ ἀνδρὶ φάμεν ἐοικὸς ἀμφὶ δαι-
μόνων καλά· μείων γὰρ αἰτία,;

Painting of a bearded man with a pointing stick talking about images spread on the wall to his right. A child leans on his knee, perhaps listening, looking out at the audience.
Oil sketch for Hone’s satirical painting The Pictorial Conjuror, displaying the Whole Art of Optical Deception (Dublin, The National Gallery of Ireland),

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