In Exchange for Pain, Sometimes Good

Pindar, Olympian 12.1-12a

“I am begging you, child of Zeus-who-Frees,
Savior Chance, safeguard mighty Himera.
For you direct swift ships on the sea,
And fast wars on land,
And  counsel-bringing assemblies too.
Human hopes rise up and then back down
As they turn, traversing pointless lies.

No mortal has yet discovered a trustworthy sign,
From the gods about deeds still to come.
Plans for the future remain in the dark.

Humans experience many things against their expectations–
Sometimes, it’s the opposite of pleasure, but in others
Those who have faced great storms receive profound good for their pain
In a short time.”

Λίσσομαι, παῖ Ζηνὸς Ἐλευθερίου,
Ἱμέραν εὐρυσθενέ᾿ ἀμφιπόλει, σώτειρα Τύχα.
τὶν γὰρ ἐν πόντῳ κυβερνῶνται θοαί
νᾶες, ἐν χέρσῳ τε λαιψηροὶ πόλεμοι
κἀγοραὶ βουλαφόροι, αἵ γε μὲν ἀνδρῶν
πόλλ᾿ ἄνω, τὰ δ᾿ αὖ κάτω
ψεύδη μεταμώνια τάμνοισαι κυλίνδοντ᾿ ἐλπίδες·
σύμβολον δ᾿ οὔ πώ τις ἐπιχθονίων
πιστὸν ἀμφὶ πράξιος ἐσσομένας εὗρεν θεόθεν,
τῶν δὲ μελλόντων τετύφλωνται φραδαί·
πολλὰ δ᾿ ἀνθρώποις παρὰ γνώμαν ἔπεσεν,
ἔμπαλιν μὲν τέφψιος, οἱ δ᾿ ἀνιαραῖς
ἀντικύρσαντες ζάλαις
ἐσλὸν βαθὺ πήματος ἐν μικρῷ πεδάμειψαν χρόνῳ.

Seated Marble sculpture. Female figure in draped clothing looking right, hand on chin
Seated Muse or Nymph on Rock (Adaptation of Urania Type), Walters Art Museum

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