Different Hopes for Different Folks

Pindar, Isthmian 1. 42-52

“If someone focuses every urge on excellence,
Paying both the costs and the pains,
Then those who find deserve a confident shout
Without worry of jealous talk–
It is a light gift for a wise person
To keep the common good straight
By saying a fine word for all kinds of labors.

People find different payment sweet for different work–
For the shepherd, the plowman, the falconer
And one the sea feeds,
Everyone is trying keep their stomach from aching hunger;
But whoever earns glorious victory in games or at war
Receives the highest profit when they are praised:
A kind word from fellow citizens and strangers.”

εἰ δ᾿ ἀρετᾷ κατάκειται πᾶσαν ὀργάν,
ἀμφότερον δαπάναις τε καὶ πόνοις,
χρή νιν εὑρόντεσσιν ἀγάνορα κόμπον
μὴ φθονεραῖσι φέρειν
γνώμαις· ἐπεὶ κούφα δόσις ἀνδρὶ σοφῷ
ἀντὶ μόχθων παντοδαπῶν ἔπος εἰ-
πόντ᾿ ἀγαθὸν ξυνὸν ὀρθῶσαι καλόν.
μισθὸς γὰρ ἄλλοις ἄλλος ἐπ᾿ ἔργμασιν ἀνθρώποις
μηλοβότᾳ τ᾿ ἀρότᾳ τ᾿ ὀρ-
νιχολόχῳ τε καὶ ὃν πόντος τράφει·
γαστρὶ δὲ πᾶς τις ἀμύνων λιμὸν αἰανῆ τέταται·
ὃς δ᾿ ἀμφ᾿ ἀέθλοις ἢ πολεμίζων ἄρηται κῦδος
εὐαγορηθεὶς κέρδος ὕψιστον δέκεται, πολια-
τᾶν καὶ ξένων γλώσσας ἄωτον.

A surealist impressionist oil painting. A skeleton roughly in the shape of a whale is being held up by a crowd of half formed people
Grzegorz Stec, Kraków, Poland

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