"Creatures for a day"

I am reading a book that talks a bit about Pindar, and the first thing that baffles me is the date of birth and death. My book says that he was born in 518 and died in 438 BC, but some sources on the Internet say that the true date is 522-443 BC. Honestly, he lived such a long time ago that I do not really mind who is right or wrong because as Pindar himself said , we are all "creatures for a day".

Pindar enhances a winner in the Olympic Games)
 Oil on canvas by Giuseppe Sciuti, 1872.


Pindar was a Greek poet of whom Quintilian wrote that "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence".
Although he wrote most of his life, only 45 victory odes remain. They are based on various games: the Olympian, Pythian, Isthmian and Nemean. The oldest remaining ode dates back from the Pythian Games of 498 BC and his last ode was for a wrestler in the same game in 446 BC.

               One of his most popular ode says as follows:

Creatures for a day! What is a man?
What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their days. (Pythian Odes 8, line 95)

I guess this ode deals with the brevity of life: our life seems to be too short as we are "creatures for a day" and "a dream of a shadow". However, even though we are "mortal beings", the day of victory makes us greater, it is a day of blessed glorious light that can be remembered forever.
Although not all human beings can take part in the Olympic Games, I suppose that having goals in life and achieving them makes us feel very good, happy. Somehow, I feel that accomplishing goals can be compared to winning medals in the Olympic Games of our lives. It is like a "gleam of splendour", like a "light of glory" that make us work harder in an attempt to reach other goals.  
Do you have goals?
Do you manage to accomplish all your goals?

            

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

John Donne and To his mistress going to bed

Federico Garcia Lorca in English

"The Fox and the Lion"