Sappho, fragments 82-95 (Bergk), from Wharton's Sappho. including fragments on Kleïs, the distractions of love, the unpicked apple, Hesperus (evening), and more, with translations by several hands, and contexts by Wharton.
IN VARIOUS METRES
And thou thyself, Calliope.
Quoted by Hephaestion when he is analysing a metre invented by Archilochus.
Sleep thou in the bosom of thy tender girlfriend.
From the Etymologicum Magnum. Blass thinks that the proper place for this fragment is among the Epithalamia.
Hither now, Muses, leaving golden ...
Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of a verse made of two Ithyphallics.
I have a fair daughter with a form like a golden flower, Cleïs the beloved, above whom I [prize] nor all Lydia nor lovely [Lesbos] . . .
I have a child, a lovely one,
A lovely little girl is ours,
Quoted and elaborately scanned by Hephaestion, although Bergk regards the lines as merely trochaic.
All joy to thee, daughter of Polyanax.
From Maximus Tyrius. It seems to be addressed to either Gorgo or Andromeda.
IN THE IONIC A MINORE METRE
In a dream I spake with the daughter of Cyprus.
I.e. Aphrodite. From Hephaestion.
Why, lovely swallow, daughter of Pandion, [weary] me?
From Hephaestion, who says Sappho wrote whole songs in this metre. Hô ranna is Is. Vossius' emendation; hôrana is the ordinary reading, which Hesychius explains as perhaps an epithet of the swallow 'dwelling under the roof.'
Ah, Procne, wherefore dost thou weary me?
She wrapped herself well in delicate hairy . . .
From Pollux, who says the line refers to fine closely-woven linen.
Sweet Mother, I cannot weave my web, broken as I am by longing for a boy, at soft Aphrodite's will.
[As o'er her loom the Lesbian maid
Mother, I cannot mind my wheel;
Sweet mother, I can spin no more,
Sweet mother, I the web
Cf. Mrs. John Hunter's 'My mother bids me bind my hair,'etc.
From Hephaestion, as an example of metre.
EPITHALAMIA, BRIDAL SONGS
Raise high the roof-beam, carpenters. (Hymenaeus!) Like Ares comes the bridegroom, (Hymenaeus!) taller far than a tall man. (Hymenaeus!)
Artists, raise the rafters high!
Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of a mes-hymnic poem, where the refrain follows each line. The hymenaeus or wedding-song was sung by the bride's attendants as they led her to the bridegroom's house, addressing Hymen the god of marriage. The metre seems, says Professor Mahaffy (Hist. of Class. Greek Lit., i., p. 20, 1880), to be the same as that of the Linus song; cf. fr. 62.
Towering, as the Lesbian singer towers among men of other lands.
Quoted by Demetrius, about 150 A.D. It is uncertain what 'Lesbian singer' is here referred to; probably Terpander, but Neue thinks it may mean the whole Lesbian race, from their pre-eminence in poetry.
As the sweet-apple blushes on the end of the bough, the very end of the bough, which the gatherers overlooked, nay overlooked not but could not reach.
--O fair--O sweet!
Quoted by the Scholiast on Hermogenes, and by others, to explain the word glukumalon, 'sweet-apple,' an apple grafted on a quince; it is used as a term of endearment by Theocritus (Idyl xi. 39), 'Of thee, my love, my sweet-apple, I sing.' Himerius, writing about 360 A.D., says: 'Aphrodite's orgies we leave to Sappho of Lesbos, to sing to the lyre and make the bride-chamber her theme. She enters the chamber after the games, makes the room, spreads Homer's bed, assembles the maidens, leads them into the apartment with Aphrodite in the Graces' car and a band of Loves for playmates. Binding her tresses with hyacinth, except what is parted to fringe her forehead, she lets the rest wave to the wind if it chance to strike them. Their wings and curls she decks with gold, and drives them in procession before the car as they shake the torch on high.' And particularly this: 'It was for Sappho to liken the maiden to an apple, allowing to those who would pluck before the time to touch not even with the finger-tip, but to him who was to gather the apple in season to watch its ripe beauty; to compare the bridegroom with Achilles, to match the youth's deeds with the hero's.' Further on he says: 'Come then, we will lead him into the bride-chamber and persuade him to meet the beauty of the bride. O fair and lovely, the Lesbian's praises appertain to thee: thy play-mates are rosy-ankled Graces and golden Aphrodite, and the Seasons make the meadows bloom.' These last words especially--
O fair, O lovely . . .
seem taken out of one of Sappho's hymeneal odes, although they also occur in Theocritus, Idyl xviii. 38.
As on the hills the shepherds trample the hyacinth under foot, and the flower darkens on the ground.
Compare Catullus, xi. 21-24:--
Think not henceforth, thou, to recall Catullus'
And Vergil, Aeneid, ix. 435, of Euryalus dying:--
And like the purple flower the plough cuts down
In 1881 he altered the title to Beauty.(A combination from Sappho.)
Quoted by Demetrius, as an example of the ornament and beauty proper to a concluding sentence. Bergk first attributed the lines to Sappho.
Evening, thou that bringest all that bright morning scattered; thou bringest the sheep, the goat, the child back to her mother.
Thus imitated by Byron:--
O Hesperus, thou bringest all good things--
And by Tennyson:--
The ancient poetess singeth, that Hesperus all things bringeth,
Hesperus brings all things back
Hesper, thou bringest back again
Evening, all things thou bringest
Hesper, whom the poet call'd the Bringer
From the Etymologicum Magnum, where it is adduced to show the meaning of aiôs, 'dawn.' The fragment occurs also in Demetrius, as an example of Sappho's grace. One cannot but believe that Catullus had in his mind some such hymeneal ode of Sappho's as that in which this fragment must have occurred when he wrote his Vesper adest, juvenes, consurgite: Vesper Olympo, etc. (lxii.), part of which was imitated in the colloquy between Opinion and Truth in Ben Jonson's The Barriers.
|From Peithô's Web||Index|