Pindaric Ode by Armand D’Angour

This Pindaric Ode was commissioned by Boris Johnson for the 2012 Olympics and follows Dr D’Angour’s previous ode for  the Athens Olympics in 2004. The wordplay is great fun, especially the ‘lightning bolt’ and  ‘βαρυς’ in the last verse.

Armand D’Angour

Boris Johnson reciting Dr D’Angour’s poem for the International Olympic Committee.

 

 

ἴδεσθε καινὸν πῦρ τόδ᾽ Ὀλυμπικόν,

ὅ γ᾽ ἐξέλαμψε πρόσθε καθ᾽ ῾Ελλάδα.

ἀλλ᾽ ἡδέως δέχεσθε τἆθλα

Λονδινίου ποταμοῦ παρ᾽ ὄχθας.

 

ὑμνεῖτε δ᾽ αἴγλην ἀντιπάλων σοφῶν,

στρατὸς γὰρ ἦλθεν ἐκ περάτων χθονός·

καὶ χρὴ μεγίσταις ὧδ᾽ ἀοιδόν

ἀμφ᾽ ἀρεταῖσι καθ᾽ ἅρμ᾽ ἐλαύνειν.

 

πλῆθος θεατῶν μυρίον ὄψεται

ὁρμὴν τρεχόντων καὶ λιπαρὰν χάριν,

σπουδήν τ᾽ ἐρεσσόντων ἑταίρων

ἀκροβατῶν τε δοκοὺς πατούντων.

 

θεάσεται δὲ χάρματι τοξότην

τείνοντα νευράν, καὶ ποδὶ σωφρόνως

τὸν ἱππότην στρέφοντα πῶλον

ἀστεροπῆς τε σέλας θεούσης.

 

πρέψουσι δ᾽ αὐλοὶ καὶ τύπανον βρόμῳ

τιμῆς φλεγούσης πολλὰ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν·

ὄχλος δ᾽ ἀΰσει καλλίνικε

χρύσε’ ἄεθλ᾽ ἐσιδὼν φέροντας.

 

δεῦτ᾽ αὖτε γῆν ἐς τήνδε περίρρυτον·

ἄρχων γὰρ ἄγχι καὶ πρύτανις βαρύς.

νίκη δ᾽ἀρίστοις αἰὲν ἔστω·

νῦν κρότος, αἶψα δὲ τἆθλ᾽ ἀγέσθω.

 

The new Olympic flame behold,
that once burned bright in Greece of old;
with happy hearts receive once more
these Games revived on London’s shore.

Praise rival teams, in sport allied,
as athletes stream from far and wide;
the poet too must take the road
conveying praise to victory owed.

Millions of watchers will embrace
the passion of each close-run race,
The efforts of the rowing teams
and gymnasts on balancing beams.

The will observe with rapt delight
the archer draw his bowstring tight,
the skilful rider guide her horse,
and lightning bolt around the course.

The pipes will play, the drum resound,
as medallists are daily crowned;
the crowd’s hurrah will reach the skies
when victors hoist the golden prize.

Now welcome to this seagirt land,
with London’s Mayor and co. at hand
good luck to all who strive to win:
applaud and let the Games begin!

 

A film of Boris Johnson reciting the poem, with Armand D’Angour.

 

Written and translated by Armand D’Angour of Jesus College, Oxford.

More about Armand D’Angour

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