Sappho. Poikilothron 

 

[Ποικιλόθρον']

 

ποικιλόθρον' ἀθανάτ Ἀφρόδιτα,

παῖ Δίος δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε,

μή μ' ἄσαισι μηδ' ὀνίαισι δάμνα,

     πότνια, θῦμον,

 

ἀλλὰ τυίδ' ἔλθ', αἴ ποτα κἀτέρωτα

τὰς ἔμας αὔδας ἀίοισα πήλοι

ἔκλυες, πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα

     χρύσιον ἦλθες

 

ἄρμ' ὐπασδεύξαισα· κάλοι δέ σ' ἆγον

ὤκεες στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶς μελαίνας

πύκνα δίννεντες πτέρ' ἀπ' ὠράνωἴθε-

     ρος διὰ μέσσω·

 

αἶψα δ' ἐξίκοντο· σὺ δ', ὦ μάκαιρα,

μειδιαίσαισ' ἀθανάτωι προσώπωι

ἤρε' ὄττι δηὖτε πέπονθα κὤττι

     δηὖτε κάλημμι

 

κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι

μαινόλαι θύμωι· τίνα δηὖτε πείθω

μαισ' ἄγην ἐς σὰν φιλότατα; τίς σ', ὦ

     Ψά]πφ', ἀδικήει;

 

καὶ γὰρ αἰ φεύγει, ταχέως διώξει,

αἰ δὲ δῶρα μὴ δέκετ', ἀλλὰ δώσει,

αἰ δὲ μὴ φίλει, ταχέως φιλήσει

     κωὐκ ἐθέλοισα.

 

ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, χαλέπαν δὲ λῦσον

ἐκ μερίμναν, ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι

θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον, σὺ δ' αὔτα

     σύμμαχος ἔσσο.

 

 

Hymn to Aphrodite

  

Aphrodite subtle of soul and deathless,

Daughter of God, weaver of wiles, I pray thee

Neither with care, dread Mistress, nor with anguish

     Slay thou my spirit.

 

But in pity hasten, come now if ever!

From afar, of old, when my voice implored thee,

Thou hast deigned to listen leaving the golden

     House of thy father

 

 

With thy chariot yoked, and with doves that drew thee

Fair and fleet around the dark earth from heaven,

Dipping vibrant wings down the azure distance

   Through the mid ether:

 

 

Very swift they came; and thou gracious Vision

Leaned with face that smiled in immortal beauty,

Leaned to me and asked, “What misfortune threatened?”

     Why I had called thee?

 

 

“What my frenzied heart craved in utter yearning,

Whom its wild desire would persuade to passion?

What disdainful charms madly worshipped, slight thee?

     Who wrongs thee, Sappho?

 

 

“She that fain would fly, she shall quickly follow

She that now rejects, yet with gifts shall woo thee,

She that heeds thee not, soon shall love to madness,

   Love thee, the loth one.”

 

 

Come to me now thus Goddess and release me

From distress and pain; and all my distracted

heart would seek, do thou, once again fulfilling

                           Still be my ally!

 

 

 

References

Sappho. Ποικιλόθρον'. inamidst.com. Sean Palmer, n.d. Web. 1 August 2015.

Sappho. Hymn to Aphrodite. The Poems of Sappho. Trans. John Myers O'Hara. 1910. Kindle, 2008. Web. [E. Pound knew and valued this translation which he reprinted in his “Hellenist Series, IV Sappho” Egoist 5.10 (1918): 130-131. Pound remarks on O'Hara's translation: "Here and elsewhere he has shown no inconsiderable talent for the sapphic strophe but he has small power of selection and the bad work in his books is likely to take from him the credit he might have for the good." 130]