Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 39 pages of information about Sappho.


What shall we do, Cytherea? 
Lovely Adonis is dying. 
  Ah, but we mourn him!

Will he return when the Autumn
Purples the earth, and the sunlight 5
  Sleeps in the vineyard?

Will he return when the Winter
Huddles the sheep, and Orion
  Goes to his hunting?

Ah, but thy beauty, Adonis, 10
With the soft spring and the south wind,
  Love and desire!


Power and beauty and knowledge,—­
Pan, Aphrodite, or Hermes,—­
Whom shall we life-loving mortals
  Serve and be happy?

Lo now, your garlanded altars, 5
Are they not goodly with flowers? 
Have ye not honour and pleasure
  In lovely Lesbos?

Will ye not, therefore, a little
Hearten, impel, and inspire 10
One who adores, with a favour
  Threefold in wonder?


O Pan of the evergreen forest,
Protector of herds in the meadows,
Helper of men at their toiling,—­
Tillage and harvest and herding,—­
How many times to frail mortals 5
  Hast thou not hearkened!

Now even I come before thee
With oil and honey and wheat-bread,
Praying for strength and fulfilment
Of human longing, with purpose 10
Ever to keep thy great worship
  Pure and undarkened.

* * * * *

O Hermes, master of knowledge,
Measure and number and rhythm,
Worker of wonders in metal, 15
Moulder of malleable music,
So often the giver of secret
  Learning to mortals!

Now even I, a fond woman,
Frail and of small understanding, 20
Yet with unslakable yearning
Greatly desiring wisdom,
Come to the threshold of reason
  And the bright portals.

* * * * *

And thou, sea-born Aphrodite, 25
In whose beneficent keeping
Earth, with her infinite beauty,
Colour and fashion and fragrance,
Glows like a flower with fervour
  Where woods are vernal! 30

Touch with thy lips and enkindle
This moon-white delicate body,
Drench with the dew of enchantment
This mortal one, that I also
Grow to the measure of beauty 35
  Fleet yet eternal.


O Aphrodite,
God-born and deathless,
Break not my spirit
With bitter anguish: 
Thou wilful empress, 5
I pray thee, hither!

Project Gutenberg
Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook