The Poems of Sappho, by John Myers O'Hara, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 46 p. 47
Immortal Paphia! have I earned thy hate,
That I should burn in passion's fatal flame?
Is not my constant service thine to claim,
My prayer's appeal with praise of thee elate?
Has not my life been one sole hymn of thee,
One quivering chord on Love's harp overwrought?
My soul has trembled up to thee in thought,
Probed to its depth thy every ecstasy.
Are not my countless heart-beats each a vow,
Of tribute throbs a garland? For thy gain
The Fates have drenched my soul in passion's rain,
Pieria's roses twined about my brow.
The virgin harvest of my heart was thine,
I shuddered in the joy that half consumed;
The votive garlands on thy altar bloomed,
My days were songs to nights of bliss divine.
Why try me, then, with torture, gracious Queen?
Why verge me on this rapture's dread abyss,
Hold breast from breast and stay the yearning kiss?
Ah, couldst thou fashion pain that stung less keen?
The throe of Tantalus is mine to bear,
Beauty that Thetis-like eludes my clasp;
Glances that lure, that make each breath a gasp,
And then disdainful gloat at my despair.
Scornful she dwells beyond my ardor's clutch,
Bathed in an aureole of carnal fire;
O bind her equal slave to fond desire,
Let passion's tingling warmth her being touch!
Come to me, Goddess, come as once of old,
Hearing my voice implore thee from afar,
I drew to earth thy dazzling avatar;
Accord the smile of piercing bliss untold.
Ask me the dear suave question phrased of yore;
"Sappho, who grieveth now thy mad fond heart?
Wouldst win her beauty, she who frowns apart?
Wild as thou lovest, she soon shall love thee more."
O fair Olympian, answer thus, I pray!
Release me from this torment, yield my arms
The transport thirsted of her folded charms,
In glow that welds her heart to mine for aye.