The Many Paths to Glory

Bacchylides, 10.35-52

“Different people chart
Different paths as they try
To find unambiguous glory.
And there are 10,000 kinds of human knowledge.

The skilled person thrives in hope
Whether they’ve come into the Graces’ honor
Or learned some prophetic art.
One aims his fancy bow
At boys, while others
Build up their hearts
In their fields and herds of cattle.

The future shows how things turn out,
Where fortune puts its weight.

The best thing of all
Is to be a noble envied by many people.

I know something about wealth’s great power too:
It makes even a worthless man useful.

Why do I drive my tongue so far directly and off the road?”

δ᾿ ἄλλ[ος ἀλλοί]αν κέλευθον,
ἅντι[να στείχ]ων ἀριγνώτοιο δόξας
τεύξεται. μυρίαι δ᾿ ἀνδρῶν ἐπιστᾶμαι πέλονται·
ἦ γὰρ σ [ο]φὸς ἢ Χαρίτων τιμὰν λελογχώς
ἐλπίδι χρυσέαι τέθαλεν
ἤ τινα θευπροπίαν
εἰδώς· ἕτερος δ᾿ ἐπὶ παισί
ποικίλον τόξον τιταίνει·
οἱ δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἔργοισίν τε καὶ ἀμφὶ βοῶν ἀ[γ]έλαις
θυμὸν αὔξουσιν. τὸ μέλλον
δ᾿ ἀκρίτους τίκτει τελευτάς,
πᾶ τύχα βρίσει. τὸ μὲν κάλλιστον, ἐσθλόν
ἄνδρα πολλῶν ὑπ᾿ ἀνθρώπων πολυζήλωτον εἶμεν·
οἶδα καὶ πλούτου μεγάλαν δύνασιν,
ἃ καὶ τ[ὸ]ν ἀχρεῖον τ[θησ]ι
χρηστόν. τί μακρὰν γ[λ]ῶ[σ]σαν ἰθύσας ἐλαύνω
ἐτὸς ὁδοῦ;

color photo detail of a red figure vase: a beardless main in a chiton is passing a lyre to someone to viwer's right
Achilles Painter Red Figure Vase Detail, München, Staatliche Antikensammlungen 2329 c 450-435 BCE

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