|1.5: Sappho, fragment 1 V
This text is probably a complete poem, in the genre of a "cletic hymn," summoning a god's presence, in this case, the love goddess Aphrodite.
On the throne of many hues, immortal Aphrodite,
Child of Zeus, weaving wiles -- I beg you
Not to subdue my spirit, Queen,
With pain or sorrow,
5 But come -- if ever before18
Having heard my voice from far away
You listened, and leaving your father's
Golden home you came
In your chariot yoked with swift, lovely
10 Sparrows bringing you over the dark earth,
Thick-feathered wings swirling down
From the sky through mid-air,
Arriving quickly -- you, Blessed One,
With a smile on your unaging face
15 Asking again what I have suffered
And why I am calling again
And in my wild heart what did I most wish
To happen to me: "Again whom must I persuade
Back into the harness of your love?
20 Sappho, who wrongs you?
For if she flees, soon she'll pursue;
She doesn't accept gifts, but she'll give;
If not now loving, soon she'll love
Even against her will."
25 Come to me now again, release me from
This pain, everything my spirit longs
To have fulfilled, fulfill, and you
Be my ally.
1.6: Sappho, fragment 2 V
Come to me from Crete to this holy
Temple, to the apple grove,
The altars smoking
5 Cold water ripples through apple
Branches, the whole place shadowed
In roses, from the murmuring leaves
Deep sleep descends,
Where horses graze, the meadow blooms
10 Spring flowers, the winds
Breathe softly . . .
. . .
Here, Cypris,19 after gathering . . .
Pour into golden cups
15 Nectar lavishly
Mingled with joys.
1.7: Sappho, fragment 16 V
Some say an army of horsemen, others
Say foot-soldiers, still others, a fleet,
Is the fairest thing on the dark earth.
I say it is whatever one loves.
5 Everyone can understand this --
Consider that Helen20, far surpassing
The beauty of mortals, leaving behind
The best man of all,21
Sailed away to Troy. She had no
10 Memory of her child or dear parents,
Since she was led astray
(two missing verses)
. . . lightly
15 . . . reminding me now of Anactoria22
I would rather see her lovely step
And the radiant sparkle of her face
Than all the war-chariots in Lydia23
20 And soldiers battling in shining bronze.
1.8: Sappho, fragment 30 V
The following fragment comes from a wedding hymn.
Night . . .
Virgins . . .
Celebrate all night . . .
May sing of your love and
The violet-robed bride.
But once roused, go call
The unwed men your age
So we may see less sleep
Than the clear-voiced bird.
1.9: Sappho, fragment 31 V
To me it seems
That man24 has the fortune of the gods,
Whoever sits beside you, and close,
Who listens to you sweetly speaking
5 And laughing temptingly;
My heart flutters in my breast,
Whenever I look quickly, for a moment --
I say nothing, my tongue broken,
A delicate fire runs under my skin,
10 My eyes see nothing, my ears roar,
Cold sweat rushes down me,
Trembling seizes me,
I am greener than grass,
To myself I seem
15 Needing but little to die.
But all must be endured, since . . .
1.10: Sappho, fragment 34 V
The stars around the fair moon
Hide away their radiant form
Whenever in fullness she lights
The earth . . .25
1.11: Sappho, fragment 36 V
I both desire and pursue . . .
1.12: Sappho, fragment 47 V
Love shook my senses,
Like wind crashing on mountain oaks.
1.13: Sappho, fragment 48 V
You came and did well; I felt for you
And you cooled my spirit burning with desire.
1.14: Sappho, fragment 49 V
I loved you, Atthis, once long ago . . .
You seemed to me a small child and without charm.
1.15: Sappho, fragment 55 V
Sappho addresses a female rival. It is unclear whether their dispute was poetic or amatory.
When you die you'll lie dead; no memory of you,
No desire will survive, since you've no part
Of the Pierian roses.26 But once gone,
You'll flutter among the obscure,27
Invisible still in the house of Hades.
1.16: Sappho, fragment 94 V
"I simply wish to die."
Weeping she left me
And said this too:
"We've suffered terribly.
5 Sappho, I leave you against my will."
I answered, "Go happily
And remember me,
You know how we cared for you;
If not, let me remind you
10 . . . the lovely times we shared.
Many crowns of violets,
Roses and crocuses
. . . together you set before me,
And many scented wreaths
15 Made from blossoms
Around your soft throat . . .
. . . with pure, sweet oil
. . . you anointed me,
And on a soft, gentle bed . . .
20 You quenched your desire . . .
. . . no holy site . . .
We left uncovered,
No grove . . . dance
. . . sound
1.17: Sappho, fragment 96 V
In this poem, Sappho consoles her friend Atthis for the loss of a girl who has gone to Sardis, presumably to be married.
. . . Sardis . . .28
Often holding her thoughts here
. . .
You, like a goddess undisguised,
5 But she rejoiced especially in your song.
Now she stands out among
Lydian women as after sunset
The rose-fingered moon
Exceeds all stars; light
10 Reaches equally over the brine sea
And thick-flowering fields,
A beautiful dew has poured down,
Roses bloom, tender parsley
And blossoming honey clover.
15 Pacing far away, she remembers
Gentle Atthis with desire,
Perhaps . . . consumes her delicate soul;
To go there . . . this not
Knowing . . . much
20 She sings . . . in the middle.
It is not easy for us to rival
The beautiful form of goddesses,
. . . you might have . . .
(two lines are missing)
And . . . Aphrodite
. . . poured nectar from
A golden . . .
. . . with her hands Persuasion . . .
1.18: Sappho, fragment 105(a) V
The sweet apple reddens on a high branch,
High upon highest, missed by the applepickers:
No, they didn't miss, so much as couldn't touch.29
1.19: Sappho, fragment 105(b) V
Herdsmen crush under their feet
A hyacinth in the mountains; on the ground
Purple blooms . . .
1.20: Sappho, fragment 107 V
Do I still desire virginity?
1.21: Sappho, fragment 111 V
Raise high the roof
-- Hymen! --
You carpenter men.
-- Hymen! --
The bridegroom approaches like Ares,
-- Hymen! --
Much bigger than a big man.
1.22: Sappho, fragment 112 V
Happy bridegroom, the marriage that you prayed for
Has been fulfilled -- you have the girl you prayed for.
Your form is graceful, eyes . . .
Gentle, and love flows over your alluring face
. . . Aphrodite has honored you above all.
1.23: Sappho, fragment 114 V
BRIDE: Virginity, virginity, where have you gone, leaving me behind?
VIRGINITY: Never again will I come to you, never again.
1.24: Sappho, fragment 115 V
With what, dear bridegroom, can I fairly compare you?
With a slender sapling I shall best compare you.
1.25: Sappho, fragment 130(b) V
Atthis, for you the thought of me has become hateful,
And you fly off to Andromeda.
1.26: Sappho, fragment 147 V
I say someone in another time will remember us.
1.27: Sappho, fragment 168(b) V
The moon and Pleiades have set.
Half the night is gone.
I sleep alone...