During all this time, over 50 years, I never read Pindar in Greek. Well, I didn’t take my first year of Greek until I was 24. But, damn, that was around 30 years ago. It’s about time I got off my ass. Oh, well, I put Pindar aside long ago, for two reasons, neither of them very good given my own orientation toward poetry. The first was the occasional subject matter of his odes. The Greeks loved sports, I don’t. But the Odes aren’t really so much about the sport. Also, Pindar makes it perfectly clear that he believes that the athlete and patron will only be known in the future because they were smart enough to hire a poet to sing their praises. But the flavor put me off long ago.
The other reason is my perception that Pindar’s language was inflated. I believe that I got some of this from Pound, but I’m not sure. If I did, I don’t remember where or when (probably long before I learned greek). The other source is translations. He IS a bit “flowery.” Flowery was not a Modernist ideal. Nor is it my ideal. On the other hand, the language is VERY highly controlled. It is not loose. And besides, it was written on spec.
I always thought I wanted to know the Greater Asclepiad in verse. Well, it is truly lovely. And now, Finally, I read a Pindar Ode in Greek and scanned the verse. Since I’m a linguistic weakling, I began with the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics Pindar: Victory Odes. The selection and commentary by M. M. Willcock is designed to progress from easier to more difficult. Though I considered doing otherwise just out of pride, in the end I went with Olympian 11 because it’s the shortest (20 lines), because it’s the simplest (comes first in the selection) and because I like it. It’s also important to some critical debates about Pindar.
Because I didn’t want to steal Wilcock’s edition, and because it was easier, I used the open source Perseus edition of the poem for what appears below. First, the translation, which I include below to relieve the Perseus servers. The translation’s not mine, but from Perseus, I may translate it, though, later):
For Hagesidamus of Western Locri Boys’ Boxing 476 B. C.
 There is a time when men’s need for winds is the greatest, and a time for waters from the sky, the rainy offspring of clouds. But when anyone is victorious through his toil, then honey-voiced odes  become the foundation for future fame, and a faithful pledge for great deeds of excellence.  This praise is dedicated to Olympian victors, without stint. My tongue wants to foster such themes;  but it is by the gift of a god that a man flourishes with a skillful mind, as with anything else. For the present rest assured, Hagesidamus son of Archestratus: for the sake of your boxing victory,  I shall loudly sing a sweet song, an adornment for your garland of golden olive,  while I honor the race of the Western Locrians. There, Muses, join in the victory-song; I shall pledge my word to you that we will find there a race that does not repel the stranger, or is inexperienced in fine deeds, but one that is wise and warlike too. For  neither the fiery fox nor loud-roaring lions change their nature.
But the music… I’m practicing reading this ode aloud in Greek. When I think it’s good enough, I’ll record it and put it up here. But for now, here’s a scanned version of the poem. The Greek alphabet is very easy, but if you prefer a transliteration, view the poem on perseus and set the “Greek Display” to “Latin Transliteration.” With that as a guide, you can see how the scansion works. The movement of the verse is divine even though they say that this isn’t one of his better poems metrically, though Willcock points out that the practice of the verse, though from later in the early period, is more like Pindar’s later work. Also, if you’re interested, there’s a good discussion by Nagy of Pindars meters. Above the poem is a key to the Dactylo-Epitrite meter used in the poem (blurry for now, but I’ll replace it later).[/caption]