My name is...(do we care?) And my birthplace
Was....(seriously, who cares at all?) I come
From noble lineage that I can trace
To great...(and what if all of them were scum?)
I ended life in good repute (would we
Care if you quit this world in infamy?)
And now in death I lie beneath this tomb
(Wait...who is speaking, really? And to whom?)
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Your wrinkles, Philinna, are preferable
to the juice of all youthful prime, and I desire
more to clasp in my hands your apples
nodding with the weight of their clusters,
than the firm breasts of a young girl.
Your autumn excels another's spring,
and your winter is warmer than another's summer.
Why find fault with my locks grown grey so early
and my eyes wet with tears? These are the pranks
my love for thee plays ; these are the care-marks
of unfulfilled desire ; these are the traces the arrows left ;
these are the work of many sleepless nights.
Yes, and my sides are already wrinkled
all before their time, and the skin hangs loose
upon my neck. The more fresh and young the flame is,
the older grows my body devoured by care.
But take pity on me, and grant me thy favour,
and at once it will recover its freshness
and my locks their raven tint.
Translation: W.R. PATON
I meant to bid thee, sweet, farewell,
But it was not to be;
I check the words I would have said,
And stay, my love, with thee.
I cannot live from thee apart;
From banishment I shrink,
As from the black and bitter night
Of Acheron's dark brink.
Thy light is as the light of day,
And yet the day is dumb;
But thy soft murmuring voice I hear
When thou again art come.
That voice to me is sweeter far
Than any Siren's tongue;
And all my hopes and all my joys
Are on those accents hung.
translated by Jane Minot Sedgwick
Sappho’s kisses are gentle,
gentle too he twining of her snowy limbs,
and gentle the rest of her -except her hart,
made of obdurate adamant.
Her love reaches no further than her lips.
The rest: virgin territory.
Who can live with that?
Maybe, just maybe,he who has known
the thirst of tantalus can endure it.