Sappho 1

read in the restored pronunciation of classical Greek

by Stephen G. Daitz, City University of New York.

(Text followed by translation)

Listen to the recording: Sappho

μειδιαίσαισ' ᾱ̓θανάτῳ προσώπῳ  
ἤρε' ὄττι δηὐ̂τε πέπονθα κὤττι 15
δηὐ̂τε κάλημμι,    
κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι  
μαινόλᾳ θῡ́μῳ‧ τίνα δηυ̂τε πείθω  
ἄψ σ' ἄγην ἐς Ϝᾱ̓ν φιλότᾱτα; τίς σ', ὠ̂  
Ψάπφ', ἀδικήει; 20
και ̀ γὰρ αι ̓φεúγει, ταχέως διώξει‧  
αι ̓ δὲ δω̂ρα μὴ δέκετ', ἀλλὰ δώσει‧  

αι ̓ δὲ μὴ φίλει, ταχέως φιλήσει


κωu̓κ ἐθέλοισα.




ἔλθε μοι καὶ νυ̂ν, χαλέπᾱν δὲ λυ̂σον


ἐκ μερίμνᾱν, ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι


θυ̂μος ῑ̓μέρρει, τέλεσον‧ σù δ' αὔτᾱ


σúμμαχος ἔσσο.





Throned in splendor, deathless, O Aphrodite,
child of Zeus, charm-fashioner, I entreat you
not with griefs and bitternesses to break my
    spirit, O goddess;

standing by me rather, if once before now
far away you heard, when I called upon you,
left your father's dwelling place and descended,
    yoking the golden

chariot to sparrows, who fairly drew you
down in speed aslant the black world, the bright air
trembling at the heart to the pulse of countless
    fluttering wingbeats.

Swiftly then they came, and you, blessed lady,
smiling on me out of immortal beauty,
asked me what affliction was on me, why I
    called thus upon you,

what beyond all else I would have befall my
tortured heart: "Whom then would you have Persuasion
force to serve desire in your heart? Who is it,
    Sappho, that hurt you?

Though she now escape you, she soon will follow;
though she take not gifts from you, she will give them:
though she love not, yet she will surely love you
    even unwilling."

In such guise come even again and set me
free from doubt and sorrow; accomplish all those
things my heart desires to be done; appear and
    stand at my shoulder.

                                                  trans. R. Lattimore


This selection is an excerpt from the recording "A Recital of Ancient Greek Poetry, 2nd ed.", Audio Forum, Madison, CT 06443, with the kind permission of the publisher. For further information, click here


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