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Sappho 1 (Voigt 1)

Selection from Sappho's Lyre (University of California Press, 1991). Translation copyright 2000 Diane Rayor; all rights reserved.

        On the throne of many hues, Immortal Aphrodite,
child of Zeus, weaving wiles -- I beg you
not to subdue my spirit, Queen,
with pain or sorrow
 
5but come -- if ever before
having heard my voice from far away
you listened, and leaving your father's
golden home you came
 
in your chariot yoked with swift, lovely
10sparrows bringing you over the dark earth
thick-feathered wings swirling down
from the sky through mid-air
 
arriving quickly -- you, Blessed One,
with a smile on your unaging face
15asking again what have I suffered
and why am I calling again
 
and in my wild heart what did I most wish
to happen to me: "Again whom must I persuade
back into the harness of your love?
20Sappho, who wrongs you?
 
For if she flees, soon she'll pursue,
she doesn't accept gifts, but she'll give,
if not now loving, soon she'll love
even against her will."
 
25Come to me now again, release me from
this pain, everything my spirit longs
to have fulfilled, fulfill, and you
be my ally.

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