“I claim and I will always claim
That excellence has the greatest glory.
Wealth will flock to worthless people
And always tends to swell a person’s thoughts.
But the one who does well for the gods
Has more glorious hopes
To settle their heart.
But if someone has health
Even if mortal
And can live through their own household
They rival the best.
Truly, all pleasure
In a person’s life
Comes apart from disease
And a poverty with no cure.
Rich people desire big things
No less than the poor something smaller,
And there’s nothing sweet for mortals
In being able to get everything at all
Because they’re always straining to catch
Whatever is getting away.”
“Then, the unconquerable god
Wove for Deianeira a plan
Of many tears and guile,
Once she learned
The report of enduring grief
that Zeus’ indomitable son
Was sending to his bright home
White-armed Iole as a wife.
Oh! that unlucky, unhappy woman,
To have made such plans!
Broad-powered envy crushed her
Along with the opaque veil
Of events to come later
On that day at rose-covered Lukormis
When she took from Nessos
That divine sign.”
“The best thing for humans is
To have good luck from god.
See: a heavy-enduring suffering,
Debases even a good person when it comes,
While the elevated path,
Straightens out even a wicked one.
People have different kinds of honor
And their excellence is beyond counting–
Yet one thing looms above the rest:
When someone directs the work in front of them
With just thoughts.
The lyre’s tone
And the clear-voiced choruses
Are dissonant in battles weighed down by grief,
Just as the clash of bronze sounds off at feasts.
For every human act
The right time is the most important thing:
God straightens out the one who starts well.”
“A celebration is the best medicine
For labors completed well, and yet
Songs, those wise daughters of the Muses,
Bewitch our minds when they touch them.
Not even hot water makes the limbs as supple
As praise can when it’s partnered with a lyre.
For the word lives a longer life than deeds,
At least the one the tongue lures from the depths of thought
With the Graces’ good fortune.”
“I am easily convinced to send
A glorifying word to Hiero, one [not outside] the path—
For this is how the roots of good things grow full
And may Zeus, the greatest father, safeguard them
Immoveable in peace.”
“Yet when the maiden [Athena] rescued that dear man [Perseus]
From his labors, she composed a song with every note of the pipes,
So she might recall the resounding wail elicited from *Euryale’s
Gasping cheeks with musical instruments.
The goddess created this, but she made it for mortal men to possess
And she named it the tune of many heads,
The well-famed reminder of the contests that attract people,
The sound that issues through fine bronze and reeds
That grow near to the city of beautiful dancing grounds,
The city of the Graces, in the precinct of Kephisos, trusty audiences for dancers.
If humankind has any happiness at all, it never shows up
Without hard work. But what is fated cannot be escaped–
A god will make it happen, maybe today, but
There will be a time that finds someone completely surprised
And give them one thing, but not yet another.”
She invented an aulos melody and handed it over for humans and named it the “many headed song”. This is because there were many hissing heads of snakes around [Euryale’s] head.
Some people call this many-headed and explain that there were fifty men in the chose that performed the song as an aulete led them. Others claim that the heads are preludes. They claim that an ode is made up of many preludes and that Olympos was the first to invent them”