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Οἴαν τὰν ὐάκινθον ἐν οὔρεσι ποίμενεσ ἄνδρεσ.
πόσσι καταστείβοισι, χαμαι δ᾽ ἐπιπορφύρει ἄνθοσ. [transcription]

As on the hills the shepherds trample the larkspur (?) under foot and the flower lies empurpling in decay on the ground.


O'er the hills the heedless shepherd,
  Heavy footed, plods his way;
Crushed behind him lies the larkspur,
  Soon empurpling in decay.

Quoted by Demetrius, who comments on the ornament and beauty of the lines. Bergk was the first to assign the lines to Sappho. The last three words contain a picture of a crushed flower decaying on the ground, which would perhaps be impossible to put in so few words in any language but Greek. The Greek word ὐάκινθοσ [transcription] does not mean the flower which at the present day is called "hyacinth". The Greek name was applied to several flowers of which one was almost certainly the larkspur, and another, as noted elsewhere, the iris.

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