Wind in the Sails and the Ship of Songs

Pindar, Nemean 6. 27-34

“Muse, send a glorifying wind right at that home–
For songs and stories safeguard  noble deeds
When men have passed on.
And these things are not scarce for the Bassidae.
This ancient-famed family
Has a private store of victory songs to fill ships,
Capable of inspiring many a Pieriean plowman
With hymns thanks to their glorious deeds.”

θυν᾿ ἐπὶ τοῦτον, ἄγε, Μοῖσα,
οὖρον ἐπέων
εὐκλέα· παροιχομένων γὰρ ἀνέρων
ἀοιδαὶ καὶ λόγοι τὰ καλά σφιν ἔργ᾿ ἐκόμισαν,
Βασσίδαισιν ἅ τ᾿ οὐ σπανίζει· παλαίφατος γενεά,
ἴδια ναυστολέοντες ἐπι-
κώμια, Πιερίδων ἀρόταις
δυνατοὶ παρέχειν πολὺν ὕμνον ἀγερώχων ἐργμάτων

Nem. 6. 52-56

“Older poets found these things
To be an elevated roadway;
I follow it even though I have concern–
The wave that is always turning
Right into the front of the ship
Is said to cause everyone’s heart
The most trouble.”

καὶ ταῦτα μὲν παλαιότεροι
ὁδὸν ἀμαξιτὸν εὗρον· ἕπο-
μαι δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἔχων μελέταν·
τὸ δὲ πὰρ ποδὶ ναὸς ἑλισσόμενον αἰεὶ κυμάτων
λέγεται παντὶ μάλιστα δονεῖν

Color image close up of a Grek vase showing a ship with sail opened, men at oar rowing, and a prominent figure steering
On the internal surface, around the rim, four ships. Cemetery of Ancient Thera. 3rd quarter of the 6th cent. BC Archaeological Museum of Thera. [Wikimedia Commons]

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