The Secret Keys to Sex and Pretense

Pindar, Pythian 9.37-51

“The mighty Centaur laughed brightly
With a soft brow, and immediately offered
His own wisdom: “The locks of holy sex
Are secrets of wise Persuasion, Apollo.
Gods and humans similarly avoid
Climbing quickly into bed openly, for the first time at least.

Even so, your moving lust persuaded you
To offer this speech when it is wrong For you to lie.

Are you really asking where the girl is from, lord?
You’re the one who knows the proper end of all things
And the paths that leads to them-=-
How many leaves the earth sprouts in the spring
And how many sands in the rivers and the sea
Swirl in the waves and the driven winds
Or what will be and where it will come from–
You know all of this well.

But, if it is my duty match one so wise,
I will speak…”

τὸν δὲ Κένταυρος ζαμενής, ἀγανᾷ
χλοαρὸν γελάσσαις ὀφρύι, μῆτιν ἑάν
εὐθὺς ἀμείβετο· “κρυπταὶ κλαΐδες ἐντὶ σοφᾶς
Πειθοῦς ἱερᾶν φιλοτάτων,
Φοῖβε, καὶ ἔν τε θεοῖς τοῦτο κἀνθρώποις ὁμῶς
αἰδέοντ᾿, ἀμφανδὸν ἁδεί-
ας τυχεῖν τὸ πρῶτον εὐνᾶς.
καὶ γὰρ σέ, τὸν οὐ θεμιτὸν ψεύδει θιγεῖν,
ἔτραπε μείλιχος ὀργὰ παρφάμεν τοῦ-
τον λόγον, κούρας δ᾿ ὁπόθεν γενεάν
ἐξερωτᾷς, ὦ ἄνα; κύριον ὃς πάντων τέλος
οἶσθα καὶ πάσας κελεύθους·
ὅσσα τε χθὼν ἠρινὰ φύλλ᾿ ἀναπέμπει, χὠπόσαι
ἐν θαλάσσᾳ καὶ ποταμοῖς ψάμαθοι
κύμασιν ῥιπαῖς τ᾿ ἀνέμων κλονέονται,
χὤ τι μέλλει, χὠπόθεν
ἔσσεται, εὖ καθορᾷς.
εἰ δὲ χρὴ καὶ πὰρ σοφὸν ἀντιφερίξαι,

A fresco from naples (wall painting): From left to right: Apollo (of the Apollo Lykeios type), Chiron, and Asclepius.
Fresco, 1st Century CE from Pompeii

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