In Focus: Song 1 of Sappho
|February 21, 2014||Filled under Featured, In Focus, Kosmos Society Text||
|1 You with pattern-woven flowers, immortal Aphrodite, |2 child of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I implore you, |3 do not devastate with aches and sorrows,|4 Mistress, my heart! |5 But come here [tuide], if ever at any other time |6 hearing my voice from afar, |7 you heeded me, and leaving the palace of your father, |8 golden, you came, |9 having harnessed the chariot; and you were carried along by beautiful |10 swift sparrows over the dark earth |11 swirling with their dense plumage from the sky through the |12 midst of the aether, |13 and straightaway they arrived. But you, O holy one, |14 smiling with your immortal looks, |15 kept asking what is it once again this time [dēute] that has happened to me and for what reason |16 once again this time [dēute] do I invoke you, |17 and what is it that I want more than anything to happen |18 to my frenzied [mainolās] heart [thūmos]? “Whom am I once again this time [dēute] to persuade, |19 setting out to bring her to your love? Who is doing you, |20 Sappho, wrong? |21 For if she is fleeing now, soon she will give chase. |22 If she is not taking gifts, soon she will be giving them. |23 If she does not love, soon she will love |24 even against her will.” |25 Come to me even now, and free me from harsh |26 anxieties, and however many things |27 my heart [thūmos] yearns to get done, you do for me. You |28 become my ally in war.
Song 1 of Sappho = Prayer to Aphrodite 
(trans. Gregory Nagy, Hour 5 Text F, The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours)
|1 ποικιλόθρον’ ἀθανάτἈφρόδιτα, |2 παῖ Δίος δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε, |3 μή μ’ ἄσαισι μηδ’ ὀνίαισι δάμνα, |4 πότν]ια, θῦμον, |5 ἀλλὰ τυίδ’ ἔλθ’, αἴ ποτα κἀτέρωτα |6 τὰς ἔμας αὔδας ἀίοισα πήλοι |7 ἔκλυες, πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα |8 χρύσιον ἦλθες |9 ἄρμ’ ὐπασδεύξαισα· κάλοι δέ σ’ ἆγον |10 ὤκεες στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶς μελαίνας |11 πύκνα δίννεντες πτέρ’ ἀπ’ ὠράνωἴθε|12ρος διὰ μέσσω· |13 αἶψα δ’ ἐξίκοντο· σὺ δ’, ὦ μάκαιρα, |14 μειδιαί[σαισ’ ἀθανάτωι προσώπωι |15 ἤρε’ ὄττι δηὖτε πέπονθα κὤττι |16 δηὖτε κάλημμι |17 κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι |18 μαινόλαι θύμωι· τίνα δηὖτε πείθω |19 βαῖσ᾿ ἄγην ἐς σὰν φιλότατα; τίς σ’, ὦ |20 Ψάπφ’, ἀδικήει; |21 καὶ γὰρ αἰ φεύγει, ταχέως διώξει, |22 αἰ δὲ δῶρα μὴ δέκετ’, ἀλλὰ δώσει, |23 αἰ δὲ μὴ φίλει, ταχέως φιλήσει [ back ] |24 κωὐκ ἐθέλοισα. |25 ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, χαλέπαν δὲ λῦσον |26 ἐκ μερίμναν, ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι |27 θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον, σὺ δ’ αὔτα |28 σύμμαχος ἔσσο. On the reading βαῖσ᾿ ἄγην at line 19, see PP 98n34.
This focus passage ties in with the theme of the current Book Club discussions. Members of the community are welcome to join in the Hangout or Chatroom conversations, or to post in the Forum: see the Sappho thread in the Book Club section for details.