Oenomaus obstructed his daughter’s marriage,
either fearing his new son-in-law would kill him
or because he was in love with her himself
he had invincible chariot horses
and challenged all of Hippodamia’s suitors
to a chariot race
in which the loser was to be killed.
Oenomaus invariably won these races
until Pelops has Oenomaus’ charioteer Myrtilus
sabotage the wheels of the king’s chariot.
Pelops kills Myrtilus when he assaulted Hippodamia
claiming the sexual reward promised him
as he dies,
Myrtilus curses the family of Pelops
with devastating effect on his sons
Atreus and Thyestes and their children.
I myself am uncertain and cannot learn for sure
whether it is indeed better for men to get children,
or to enjoy a childless life.
For I see that those who have no children
while all those who have them
are in no way more fortunate:
if their children turn out bad,
they are a most hateful affliction,
and if on the other hand they are well behaved—
a great distress,
they make their father anxious
that something may happen to them.
This one thing
is the most important of all to know:
to bear the things that befall us
Such a man excels in virtue,
and his misfortunes torment him less.
But of course,
though we know how to say this,
we cannot do it.
Yet there is a pleasure
that men can take in their woes, the pleasure of lamentation
and floods of tears.
These things lighten the pains
within their minds
and ease the excessive suffering of their hearts.
We judge what is obscure
by the evidence that is before us.
Anyone who wants to reach ill-famed old age
is not thinking straight;
for a long life
begets innumerable troubles.
The man who tries to do most
makes the most mistakes.
Whenever I see a bad man fall,
I affirm that the race of gods indeed exists.