Poikilo'ðron? a`ða'nat? ?Afrodita, pai^ Di'os, dolo'ploke, li'ssomai' se mh' m? a?'saisi mh't? o?ni'aisi da'mna, po'tnia, ðu^mon. a?lla' tui'd? e?'lð?, ai?'pota ka?te'rwta ta^s e?'mas au'dws ai?'oisa ph'lgi e?'klues pa'tros de` do'mon li'poisa xru'sion h?^lðes a?'rm? u?pozeu'ksaia, ka'loi de' s? a?^gon w?'kees strou^ðoi peri` ga^s melai'nas pu'kna dineu^ntes pte'r? a?p? w?ra'nw ai?'ðeros dia` me'ssw. ai^psa d? e?xi'konto, su` d?, w?^ ma'saira meidia'sais? a?ða'natwj prosw'pwj, h?'re? o?'tti dhg?^te pe'ponða kw?'tti dh?^gte ka'lhmi kw?'tti moi ma'lista ðe'lw ge'nesðai maino'laj ðu'mwj, ti'na dhu?^te pei'ðw mai^s a?'ghn e?s sa`n filo'tata ti's t, w?^ Psa'pf?, a?di'khei; kai` ga'r ai? feu'gei, taxe'ws diw'ksei, ai? de` dw^ra mh` de'ket a?lla' dw'sei, ai? de` mh` fi'lei taxe'ws filh'sei, kwu?k e?ðe'loisa. e?'lðe moi kai` nu^n, xalepa^n de` lu^son e?k meri'mnan o?'ssa de' moi te'lessai ðu^mos i?mme'rrei te'leson, su? d? au?'ta su'mmaxos e?'sso.
Immortal Aphrodite of the shimmering thone, daughter of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I pray thee crush not my spirit with anguish and distress, O Queen. But come hither if ever before thou didst hear my voice afar, and hearken, and leaving the golden house of thy father, camest with chariot yoked, and swift birds drew thee, their swift pinions fluttering over the dark earth, from heaven through mid-space. Quickly they arrived; and thou blessed one with immortal countenance smiling didst ask: What now is befallen me and why now I call and what I in my heart's madness, most desire. What fair one now wouldst thou draw to love thee? Who wrongs thee Sappho? For even if she flies she shall soon follow and if she rejects gifts, shall soon offer them and if she loves not shall soon love, however reluctant. Come I pray thee now and release me from cruel cares, and let my heart accomplish all that it desires, and be thou my ally.
I Shimmering-throned immortal Aphrodite, Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee, Spare me, O queen, this agony and anguish, Crush not my spirit II Whenever before thou has hearkened to me-- To my voice calling to thee in the distance, And heeding, thou hast come, leaving thy father's Golden dominions, III With chariot yoked to thy fleet-winged coursers, Fluttering swift pinions over earth's darkness, And bringing thee through the infinite, gliding Downwards from heaven, IV Then, soon they arrived and thou, blessed goddess, With divine contenance smiling, didst ask me What new woe had befallen me now and why, Thus I had called the. V What in my mad heart was my greatest desire, Who was it now that must feel my allurements, Who was the fair one that must be persuaded, Who wronged thee Sappho? VI For if now she flees, quickly she shall follow And if she spurns gifts, soon shall she offer them Yea, if she knows not love, soon shall she feel it Even reluctant. VII Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow, Drive away care, I beseech thee, O goddess Fulfil for me what I yearn to accomplish, Be thou my ally.
fa'inetai' moi kh^nos i?'sos the'oisin e?'mmen w?'ner o?'stis e?nanti'os toi i?za'nei kai` plasi'on a?du fwneu'sas u?pakou'ei kai` galai'sas i?mmero'en to` dh` ?ma'n kardi'an e?n sth'ðesin e?pto'asen, w?s ga`r eu?'idon broxe'ws se, fw'nas ou?de`n e?'t? e?'ikei, a?lla` ka'm me`n glwjssa ve'age, le'pton d' au?'tika xrw^j pu^r u?padedro'maken, o?ppa'tessi d? ou?de`n orhm?, e?pirro'mbeisi d? a?'kouai. a? de' m? i'?drws kakxe'etai, tro'mos de` pai^san a?'grei xlwrote'ra de` poi'as e?'mmi, teðna'khn d? o?ligw ?pideu'vhn fai'nomai [a?'lla]. pa^n to'lmaton [......]
That one seems to me the equal of the gods, who sits in thy presence and hears near him thy sweet voice and lovely laughter; that indeed makes my heart beat fast in my bosom. For when I see thee even a little I am bereft of utterance, my tongue is useless and at once a subtle fire races under my skin, my eyes see nothing, my ears ring, sweat pours forth and all my body is seized with trembling. I am paler than [dried] grass and seem in my madness little better than dead, but I must dare all ...
I Peer of the gods, the happiest man I seem Sitting before thee, rapt at thy sight, hearing Thy soft laughter and they voice most gentle, Speaking so sweetly. II Then in my bosom my heart wildly flutters, And, when on thee I gaze never so little, Bereft am I of all power of utterance, My tongue is useless. III There rushes at once through my flesh tingling fire, My eyes are deprived of all power of vision, My ears hear nothing by sounds of winds roaring, And all is blackness. III Down courses in streams the sweat of emotion, A dread trembling o'erwhelms me, paler than I Than dried grass in autumn, and in my madness Dead I seem almost.
I O]i? me`n i?pph'wn stro'ton oi? de` pe'sdwn oi? de` na'wn fai^s? e?pi` ga^n me'lainan e?']mmenai ka'lliston e?'gw de` kh^n? o?'ttw ti`s e?'patai. II pa']gxu d? eu?'mares su'neton po'hsai pa']nti t[ou^]t?. a? ga`r po'lu persko'peisa ka']llos a?nðrw'pwn E?le'na [to`]n a?'ndra [kri'nnen a?'r]iston, III o?`s to` pa`n] se'bas troï'a[s o?']less[e, kwu?de` pa]i^dos oy?'de [fi'l]wn to[k]h'wn ma^llon] e?mna'sðh, a?[lla`] para'gag` au?'tan ph^le fi'lei]san, IV W?ros. eu?'k]ampton gar [a?ei` to` ðh^lu] ai?' ke'] tis kou'fws t[o` pa'ron n]oh'shj. ou?]de` nu^n, A?naktori'[a, t]u` me'mnai dh`] pareio^isas, V ta^]s ke bolloi'man e?'rato'n te ba^ma k]ama'rugma la'mpron i?'dhn prosw'pw h ta` lu'dwn a?'rmata ka?n o?'ploisi pesdom]a'xentas VI ei` men i?'d]men ou?' du'naton ge'nesðai lw^jst?] o?n` a?n&the;rwp'ois, pede'xhn d? a?'rasthai, [tw^n pe'deixo'n e?sti bro'toisi lw^jon] [h?` lela'ðesðai.]
With the emendations by Mr. J.M. Edmonds, the reprinting of which he has been kind enough to permit, a nearly literal rendering would be as follows:
Some say that the fairest thing upon the dark earth is a host of horsemen, and some say a host of foot soldiers, and others again a fleet of ships, but for me it is my beloved. And it is easy to make anyone understand this. When Helen saw the most beautiful of mortals, she chose for best that one, the destroyer of all the honour of Troy and though not much of child or dear parent, but was led astray by Love, to bestow her heart far off, for woman is ever easy to lead astray when she thinks of no account what is near and dear. Even so, Anactoria, you do not remember, it seems, when she is with you, one the gentle sound of whose footfall I would rather see than all the chariots and mail-clad footmen of Lydia. I know that in this world man cannot have the best; yet to pray for a part of what was once shared is better than to forget it...
I A troop of horse, the serried ranks of marchers, A noble fleet, some think these of all on earth Most beautiful. For me naught else regarding Is my beloved. II To understand this is for all most simple, For thus gazing much on mortal perfectino And knowing already what life could give her, Him chose fair Helen, III Him the betrayer of Ilium's honour. The recked she not of adored child or parent, But yielded to love, and forced by her passion, Dared Fate in exile. IV Thus quickly is bent the will of that woman To whom things near and dear seem to be nothing. So mightest thou fail, My Anactoria, If she were with you. V She whose gentle footfall and radiant face Hold the power to charm more than a vision Of chariots and the mail-clad battalions Of Lydia's army. V So must we learn in world made as this one Man can never attain his greatest desire, [But must pray for what good fortune Fate holdeth, Never unmindful.]
Asteres me'n a?mfi ka'lan sela'nnan a?^ips a?pykru'ptoisi fa'ennon ei?^dos, o?'ppota plh'ðoisa ma'lista la'mphs a?rguria ga^n.
The stars about the full moon lose their bright beauty when she, almost full, illumines all earth with silver.
The gleaming stars all about the shining moon Hide their bright faces, when full-orbed and splendid In the sky she floats, flooding the shadowed earth with clear silver light.
Quoted by Eustathius of Thessalonica in the twelfth century.
amfi` d? u?'dwr psy^xron w?'nemos kela'di di? y?'sdwn mali'nwn, ai?ðussome'nwn de` fu'llwn kw^ma kata'rrei.
And by the cool stream the breeze murmurs through apple branches and slumber pours down from quivering leaves.
By the cool water the breeze murmurs, rustling Through apple branches, while from quivering leaves Streams down deep slumber.
This beautiful fragment is quoted by Hermogenes about A.D. 170. Demetrius, about A.D. 150, says that it is part of Sappho's description of the garden of the nymphs.
... E?'lðe, Ku'pri, Xprusi'asin e?n kuli'kessin a?'brais summemigme'non ðali'aisi ne'ktar oi?noxo'eisa.
Come, goddess of Cyprus, and in golden cups serve nectar delicately mixed with delights.
Come hither foam-born Cyprian goddess, come, And in golden goblets pour richest nectar All mixed in most ethereal perfection, Thus to delight us.
Quoted by Athenaeus, who wrote in the first half of the third century A.D. The fragment is apparently part of an invocation to Aphrodite.
H?' se ku'pros kai` Pa'fos h?` Pa'normos
If thee, Cyprus or Paphos or Panormos [holds].
This is from Strabo, early first century A.D. Panormos was a frequent name, and does not refer to Palermo, which was not founded in Sappho's time.
Soi' d? e?'go deu'kas e?'pi bw^mon a?'igos ... kapilei'psw toi ...
But for thee I will bring to the altar [the young] of a white goat... and add a libation for thee.
Cited by Apollonius of Alexadria about A.D. 140. The reading is uncertain.
Ai?'ð? e?'go xrusoste'fan? A?fro'dita, to'nde to`n pa'lon laxo'hn.
May I win this prize, O golden-crowned Aphrodite.
From Apollonius. Sappho invented many beautiful epithets to apply to Aphrodite, and this fragment contains one of them.
Ai?' me timi'an e?po'hsan e?'rga ta` sfa` doi^sai;
Who made me gifts and honoured me?
From Apollonius, illustrating Aeolic dialect in the word sfa'.
... Ta'de nu^n e?tai'rais tai^s e?'maisi te'rpna ka'lws a?ei'sw.
This will I now sing skilfully to please my friends.
Athanaeus quotes this to show that there is not necessarily any reproach in the word e?tai'rai. Like many others, the fragment is unfortunately too short for anything but a literal translation. The breathing of the word in question in Attic Greek would of course be rough.
... O?'ttinas ga`r eu?^ ðe'w kh^noi' me ma'lista ci'nnontai ...
For thee to whom I do good, thou harmest me the most.
From the "Etymologicum Magnum," tenth century A.D.
E?'gw de` kh^n? o?'ttw tis e?'patai.
But that which one desires I.
Quoted by Apollonius and in 1914 found to be part of the poem in the "Oxyrhynchus Papyrus," No. 1231.
tai^s kalais u?'mmin [to`] no'hma tw?^mon oi? dia'meipton.
To you, fair maidens, my mind does not change.
Quoted by Apollonius to illustrate the Aeolic form u?'mmin.
....E?'gwn d? e?mau'ta tou^to cu'noida.
And this I feel myself.
Quoted by Apollonius to illustrate Aeolic method of accentuation.
taisi [de`] psu^xros me'n e?'gento ðu^mos pa`r d? i?'eisi ta` pte'ra ...
But the spirit within them turned chill and down dropped their wings.
The Scholist quotes this to show that Sappho says the same thing of doves as Pindar (Pyth. 1-10) says of the eagle of Zeus.
Another reading is psau^kros, "light", for psu^xros, "moist or chill." The sense would then be "the spirit within them became light and they relaxed their wings in rest."
... kat? e?'mon sta'lagmon, to`n d? e?pipla'zontes a?'moi fe'roien kai` meledw'nais.
From my distress: let buffeting winds bear it and all care away.
From the "Etymologicum Magnum" to show the Aeolic use of z in place of ss. Bergk conjectures a?'moi for a?'nemoi, "winds". The fragment is tantilizingly incomplete, as so many others are, and the reading of one or two words in not certain.
Arti'ws m? a? xrusope'dillos A?u'ws.
Just now the golden-sandalled Dawn [has called].
There could hardly be a more beautiful epithet than "golden-sandalled" to apply to the Dawn. It is fully equal in this respect to "rosy-fingered," and in Greek both words are beautiful in sound.
This is quoted by Ammonius of Alexandria about A.D. 400 to show Sappho's use of A?rti'ws.