Sappho

Sappho Poems

He is more than a hero
he is a god in my eyes-
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you - he
...

Awed by her splendor
stars near the lovely
moon cover their own
bright faces
...

Some celebrate the beauty
of knights, or infantry,
or billowing flotillas
at battle on the sea.
...

It's no use
Mother dear, I
can't finish my
weaving
...

5.

Sleep, darling
I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is
...

You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
...

O Venus, beauty of the skies,
To whom a thousand temples rise,
Gaily false in gentle smiles,
...

And their feet move
rhythmically, as tender
feet of Cretan girls
danced once around an
...

Throned in splendor, immortal Aphrodite!
Child of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee
Slay me not in this distress and anguish,
Lady of beauty.
...

LEST as the immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee, all the while,
Softly speaks and sweetly smile.
...

Blest as the immortal gods is he,
The youth whose eyes may look on thee,
Whose ears thy tongue's sweet melody
...

Yes, Atthis, you may be sure

Even in Sardis
Anactoria will think often of us
...

Cytherea, thy dainty Adonis is dying!
Ah, what shall we do?
O Nymphs, let it echo, the voice of your crying,
The greenwood through!
...

It was you, Atthis, who said

"Sappho, if you will not get
up and let us look at you
...

Cyprian, in my dream
the folds of a purple
kerchief shadowed
your cheeks --- the one
...

It's no use
Mother dear, I
can't finish my
weaving
...

I have no complaint
prosperity that
the golden Muses
gave me was no
...

Sappho Biography

The only contemporary source which refers to Sappho's life is her own body of poetry, and scholars are skeptical of biographical readings of it. Later biographical traditions, from which all more detailed accounts derive, have also been cast into doubt. An Oxyrhynchus papyrus from around AD 200 and the Suda agree that Sappho had a mother called Cleïs and a daughter by the same name. Two preserved fragments of Sappho's poetry refer to a Cleïs. In fragment 98, Sappho addresses Cleïs, saying that she has no way of obtaining a decorated headband for her. Fragment 132 reads in full: "I have a beautiful child who looks like golden flowers, my darling Cleis, for whom I would not (take) all Lydia or lovely..." These fragments have often been interpreted as referring to Sappho's daughter or as confirming that Sappho had a daughter with this name. But even if a biographic reading of the verses is accepted, this is not certain. Cleïs is referred to in fragment 132 with the Greek word pais, which can as easily indicate a slave or any young person as an offspring. It is possible that these verses or others like them were misunderstood by ancient writers, leading to the biographical tradition which has come down to us. Fragment 102 has its speaker address a "sweet mother", sometimes taken as an indication that Sappho began to write poetry while her mother was still alive. The name of Sappho's father is widely given as Scamandronymus, he is not referred to in any of the surviving fragments. In his Heroides, Ovid has Sappho lament that, "Six birthdays of mine had passed when the bones of my parent, gathered from the pyre, drank before their time my tears." Ovid may have based this on a poem by Sappho no longer extant. Sappho was reported to have three brothers; Erigyius (or Eurygius), Larichus and Charaxus. The Oxyrhynchus papyrus says that Charaxus was the eldest but that Sappho was more fond of the young Larichus. According to Athenaeus, Sappho often praised Larichus for pouring wine in the town hall of Mytilene, an office held by boys of the best families. This indication that Sappho was born into an aristocratic family is consistent with the sometimes rarefied environments which her verses record. A story given by Herodotus and later by Strabo, Athenaeus, Ovid and the Suda, tells of a relation between Charaxus and the Egyptian courtesan Rhodopis. Herodotus, the oldest source of the story, reports that Charaxus ransomed Rhodopis for a large sum and that after he returned to Mitylene, Sappho scolded him in verse. Strabo, writing some 400 years later, adds that Charaxus was trading with Lesbian wine and that Sappho called Rhodopis Doricha. Athenaeus, another 200 years later, calls the courtesan Doricha and maintains that Herodotus had her confused with Rhodopis, another woman altogether. He also cites an epigram by Posidippus (3rd c. BC) which refers to Doricha and Sappho. Based on this story, scholars have speculated that references to a Doricha may have been found in Sappho's poems. None of the extant fragments have this name in full but fragments 7 and 15 are often restored to include it. Joel Lidov has criticized this restoration, arguing that the Doricha story is not helpful in restoring any fragment by Sappho and that its origins lie in the work of Cratinus or another of Herodotus' comic contemporaries. The Suda is alone in claiming that Sappho was married to a "very wealthy man called Cercylas, who traded from Andros" and that he was Cleïs' father. This tradition may have been invented by the comic poets as a witticism, as the name of the purported husband means "prick from the Isle of Man.")

The Best Poem Of Sappho

He Is More Than A Hero

He is more than a hero
he is a god in my eyes-
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you - he

who listens intimately
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast. If I meet
you suddenly, I can'

speak - my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drip with sweat;
trembling shakes my body

and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn't far from me

Sappho Comments

Bleak House 17 April 2011

An immortal goddess of inspiration from the isle of Lesbos, the tenth muse according to Plato himself and a high priestess of enchantment for the enduring beauty and contemporary appeal of her surviving fragments. She lives on eternally.

59 32 Reply
Rose Noir 04 September 2006

Here's another one, not included in this anthology: Mountain Wind Just as the wind in the mountains blows the oaks assunder, so did Eros blow my mind.

34 32 Reply
Linda Hollander 10 April 2008

I hope someone can help me. It is my understanding that Winnaretta Singer, the Princesse de Polignac, made many translations of Sappho's poems at the turn of the 20th century (Perhaps between 1900-1914, but possibly not until after WWl) . I would like to find them, but have not been successful so far. Is there a Sappho scholar reading this who can help me? If so, please feel free to email me at Linda5051@aol.com as soon as you read this. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

28 36 Reply
Robert Rorabeck 14 April 2005

does anyone know when the Sappho will be reborn and where? i can't wait

19 18 Reply
Rose Noir 04 September 2006

It's rare to find so many fragments of her divine lyrics. I'm in Arcadia.......!

16 16 Reply
Bi mess 20 July 2022

... Where are her gay poems

1 0 Reply
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0 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 07 June 2016

Such smooth flow of words in defining a human emotion. Beautiful!

14 6 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 13 January 2016

........ even after 2600 years, Sappho's verse keep being very inspirational to us all poets....

179 9 Reply
Sayeed Abubakar 09 February 2013

I am reading your poems how many years later of your death. I do not know who will read my poems two thousand years later. +8801919455479

54 34 Reply

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