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Title: Sappho
       Memoir, text, selected renderings, and a literal translation

Author: Henry Thornton Wharton

Release Date: June 25, 2018 [EBook #57390]

Language: English

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Portrait of Sappho
L. Alma Tadema
J. Cother Webb




Πάντα καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς.

First Edition. Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xii+190.

One Illustration. David Stott. 1885.

Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xvi+213.

Two Illustrations, David Stott. 1887.

Third Edition. Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xx+217.

Three Illustrations, John Lane. 1895.

Fourth Edition. Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xx+222.

Three Illustrations and Memoir of Mr.

Wharton. John Lane. 1898.

Fifth Edition. Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xxxii+217.

Three Illustrations and Memoir of Mr.

Wharton. John Lane. 1908.

Printed by Ballantyne & Co. Limited

Tavistock Street, London



I would fain have enriched this edition of my Sappho with some new words of the poetess, if only even to the slight extent which I reached in 1887; but, to the world's sorrow, that pleasure has been denied me. Still, we need not yet give up all hope, after the unexpected discovery of the unknown Mimiambi of Herondas, on a papyrus-roll used to stuff an Egyptian mummy-case, so few years ago (cf. The Academy, Oct. 11, 1890).

Neverthless, I can now present to the lovers of Sappho a good deal more than was heretofore in my power; in a new form, it is true, but with the same beautiful Greek type. And with this third edition I am enabled to give a reproduction, in photogravure, of the charming picture of Mitylene by the late Mr. Clarkson Stanfield, R.A., for which I am primarily indebted to Dr. R. Garnett, of the British Museum.

Since it was my privilege, if I may say so without arrogance, to introduce Sappho to {vi}English readers in the year 1885, in a form which they could understand, whether they knew any Greek or none, and in the entirety of every known word of hers, there has arisen a mass of literature upon the subject of the greatest lyrist of all time. To enumerate the pictures that have been painted, the articles and books and plays that have been written, which have appealed to the public in the last ten years, would be an almost impossible task. In my Bibliography I have endeavoured to give a reference to all that is of prominent and permanent interest, ranging from 'the postman poet,' Mr. Hosken, to the felicitous paraphrases—some fractions of which I have taken the liberty to quote in the text—of 'Michael Field' in her Long Ago.

The translation of the Hymn to Aphrodite, which was made for me by the late J. Addington Symonds, now appears in the amended form in which he finally printed it. Professor Palgrave has kindly allowed me to include some versions of his, made many years ago. The late Sir R. F. Burton made a metrical translation of Catullus, which has recently been published, and I am grateful to Lady Burton for allowing me to reprint his version of the Roman poet's Ode to Lesbia.

The only critical edition of the text of {vii}Sappho since that of Bergk—the text which I adopt—has been made by Mr. G. S. Farnell, headmaster of the Victoria College, Jersey; from which I have had considerable assistance.

As regards erudite scholarship, the investigations of Professor Luniak, of the Kazan University, deserve more attention than it is within the scope of my book to give them. I reviewed his essay in some detail in The Academy for July 19, 1890, p. 53. The criticisms upon it by Professor Naguiewski, in his disputation for the doctorate two years later, go far to prove that my appreciation of Sappho's character cannot be easily shaken. That rapturous fragment of Sophocles—

Ὦ θεοί, τίς ἆρα Κύπρις, ἢ τίς ἵμερος,

τοῦδε ξυνήψατο;

(O gods, what love, what yearning, contributed to this?) still remains to me the keynote of what Sappho has been through all the ages.




April 1895.



The cordial reception which the first edition of my little book met with has encouraged me to make many improvements in this re-issue. Unforeseen delays in its production have also helped me to advance upon my first essay. Among other changes, I have been able to obtain a new fount of Greek type, which has to me a peculiar beauty. Unfamiliar though some of the letters may appear at first sight, they reproduce the calligraphy of the manuscripts of the most artistic period of the Middle Ages. This type has been specially cast in Berlin, by favour of the Imperial Government. In a larger size it is not unknown to English scholars, but such as I am now enabled to present has never been used before.

Last spring a telegram from the Vienna correspondent of the Times announced that {ix}some new verses of Sappho had been found among the Fayum papyri in the possession of the Archduke Rénier. When the paper on his Imperial Highness' papyri was read before the Imperial Academy of Science by Dr. Wilhelm Ritter von Hartel on the 10th of March, it became evident that the remark was made, not in allusion to the Archduke's possessions, but to that portion of the Fayum manuscripts which had been acquired by the Imperial Museum in Berlin. The verses referred to were indeed no other than the two fragments which had been deciphered and criticised by the celebrated scholar, Dr. F. Blass, of Kiel, in the Rheinisches Museum for 1880; and further edited by Bergk in the posthumous edition of his Poetae Lyrici Graeci. I am now able, not only to print the text of these fragments and a translation of them, but also, through the courtesy of the Imperial Government of Germany, to give an exact reproduction of photographs of the actual scraps of parchment on which they were written a thousand years ago. Dr. Erman, the Director of the Imperial Egyptian Museum, kindly furnished me with the photographs; and the Autotype Company has copied them with its well-known fidelity.

Among many other additions, that which I {x}have been able to make to fragment 100 is particularly interesting. The untimely death of the young French scholar, M. Charles Graux, who found the quotation among the dry dust of Choricius' rhetorical orations, is indeed to be deplored. Had he lived longer he might have cleared up for us many another obscure passage in the course of his studies of manuscripts which have not hitherto found an editor.

The publication of the memoir on Naukratis by the Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund last autumn is an event worthy of notice, the town having been so intimately connected with Sappho's story. On one of the pieces of pottery found at Naucratis by Mr. Petrie occur the inscribed letters ΣΑΦ (pl. xxxiv., fig. 532), which some at first thought might refer to Sappho; but the more probable restoration is εἰ]ς Ἀφ[ροδίτην, 'to Aphrodite.'

Since the issue of my first edition, M. De Vries has published, at Leyden, an exhaustive dissertation upon Ovid's Epistle, Sappho to Phaon, which has caused me to modify some of my conclusions regarding it. Although Ovid's authorship of this Epistle seems to me now to be sufficiently vindicated, I still remain convinced that we are not justified in taking the statements in it as historically accurate.

It is curious also that a candidate for the {xi}degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Erlangen offered, as his inaugural dissertation, in 1885, an account of 'Sappho the Mitylenean.' The author, Joacheim I. Paulidos, is a native of Lesbos. It is a pamphlet of sixty pages, written, not in modern, but in classical Greek. His opening sentence, Μία καὶ μόνη ἐγένετο Σαπφώ—'Sappho stands alone and unique,' comes near the meaning, but misses the polish of the phrase—gives his dominant tone; his acceptance of her character greatly resembles mine.

Since the years now and then bring to light some fresh verses of Sappho's, there is a faint hope that more may still be found. The rich store of parchments and papyri discovered in the Fayum has not all been examined yet. Indeed, among a few of these which were lost in the custom-house at Alexandria in 1881-2, M. Maspero, the renowned Director of Explorations in Egypt, thought he had detected the perfume of Sappho's art.

It is pleasing to see (cf. fragment 95) that our own Poet Laureate has again recurred, in his latest volume of poems, to a phrase from Sappho which he had first used nearly sixty years ago; and that he calls her 'the poet,' implying her supremacy by the absence of any added epithet.


I am indebted to many kind friends and distinguished scholars for much assistance. Among them I must especially thank Professor Blass, of Kiel. Notwithstanding the frequent recurrence of his name on my pages, I owe more to his cordial help and criticism than I can acknowledge here.

Little more than I have given is needed to prove how transcendent an artist Sappho was; but I cannot forbear concluding with an extract from a recent essay on poetry by Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton:—

'Never before these songs were sung, and never since, did the human soul, in the grip of a fiery passion, utter a cry like hers; and, from the executive point of view, in directness, in lucidity, in that high imperious verbal economy which only Nature can teach the artist, she has no equal, and none worthy to take the place of second.'




April 1887.



Sappho, the Greek poetess whom more than eighty generations have been obliged to hold without a peer, has never, in the entirety of her works, been brought within the reach of English readers. The key to her wondrous reputation—which would, perhaps, be still greater if it had ever been challenged—has hitherto lain hidden in other languages than ours. As a name, as a figure pre-eminent in literary history, she has indeed never been overlooked. But the English-reading world has come to think, and to be content with thinking, that no verse of hers survives save those two hymns which Addison, in the Spectator, has made famous—by his panegyric, not by Ambrose Philips' translation.

My aim in the present work is to familiarise English readers, whether they understand Greek or not, with every word of Sappho, by translating all the one hundred and seventy fragments {xiv}that her latest German editor thinks may be ascribed to her:

Love's priestess, mad with pain and joy of song,

Song's priestess, mad with joy and pain of love.


I have contented myself with a literal English prose translation, for Sappho is, perhaps above all other poets, untranslatable. The very difficulties in the way of translating her may be the reason why no Englishman has hitherto undertaken the task. Many of the fragments have been more or less successfully rendered into English verse, and such versions I have quoted whenever they rose above mediocrity, so far as I have been able to discover them.

After an account of Sappho's life as complete as my materials have allowed, I have taken her fragments in order as they stand in Bergk, whose text I have almost invariably followed. I have given (1) the original fragment in Greek, (2) a literal version in English prose, distinguished by italic type, (3) every English metrical translation that seems worthy of such apposition, and (4) a note of the writer by whom, and the circumstances under which, each fragment has been preserved. Too often a fragment is only a single word, but I have omitted nothing.

It is curious to note how early in the history {xv}of printing the literature of Sappho began. The British Museum contains a sort of commentary on Sappho which is dated 1475 in the Catalogue; this is but twenty years later than the famous 'Mazarin' Bible, and only one year after the first book was printed in England. It is written in Latin by Georgius Alexandrinus Merula, and is of much interest, apart from its strange type and contractions of words.

The first edition of any part of Sappho was that of the Hymn to Aphrodite, by H. Stephanus, in his edition of Anacreon, 8vo, 1554. Subsequent editions of Anacreon contained other fragments attributed to her, including some that are now known to be by a later hand. Fulvius Ursinus wrote some comments on those then known in the Carmina Novem Illustrium Feminarum published at Antwerp, 8vo, 1568. Is. Vossius gave an amended text of the two principal odes in his edition of Catullus, London, 4to, 1684.

But the first separate edition of Sappho's works was that of Johann Christian Wolf, which was published in 4to at Hamburg in 1733, and reprinted under an altered title two years later. Wolf's work is as exhaustive as was possible at his date. He gives a frontispiece figuring all the then known coins bearing reference to the poetess; a life of her—written, like {xvi}the rest of the treatise, in Latin—occupies 32 pages; a Latin translation of all the quotations from or references to her in the Greek classics, and all the Latin accounts of her, together with the annotations of most previous writers, and copious notes by himself, in 253 pages; and the work is completed with elaborate indices.

The next important critical edition of Sappho was that of Heinrich Friedrich Magnus Volger, pp. lxviii., 195, 8vo, Leipzig, 1810. It was written on the old lines, and did not do much to advance the knowledge of her fragments. Volger added a 'musical scheme' which seems more curious than useful, and of which it is hard to understand either the origin or the intention.

But nothing written before 1816 really grasped the Sapphic question. In that year Welcker published his celebrated refutation of the long-current calumnies against Sappho, Sappho vindicated from a prevailing Prejudice. In his zeal to establish her character he may have been here and there led into extravagance, but it is certain that his searching criticism first made it possible to appreciate her true position. Nothing that has been written since has succeeded in invalidating his main conclusions, despite all the onslaughts of Colonel Mure and those few who sympathised with him.


Consequently the next self-standing edition of Sappho, by Christian Friedrich Neue, pp. 106, 4to, Berlin, 1827, embodying the results of the 'new departure,' was far in advance of its predecessors—not in cumbrous elaboration, but in critical excellence. Neue's life of the poetess was written in the light of Welcker's researches; his purification of the text was due to more accurate study of the ancient manuscripts, assisted by the textual criticisms published by Bishop Blomfield the previous year in the Cambridge Museum Criticum.

Since Neue's time much has been written about Sappho, for the most part in Latin or German. The final revision of the text, and collection of all that can now be possibly ascribed to her, was made by Theodor Bergk, in his Poetae Lyrici Graeci, pp. 82-140 of the third volume of the fourth edition, 8vo, Leipzig, 1882, which I have here, with rare exceptions, followed.

There is a noteworthy dissertation on her life by Theodor Kock, Alkäos und Sappho, 8vo, Berlin, 1862, in which the arguments and conclusions of Welcker are mainly endorsed, and elaborated with much mythological detail.

Perhaps the fullest account of Sappho which has recently appeared is that by A. Fernandez Merino, a third edition of which was published {xviii}at Madrid early last year. Written in Spanish, it discusses in an impartial spirit every question concerning Sappho, and is especially valuable for its copious references.

Professor Domenico Comparetti, the celebrated Florentine scholar, to whom I shall have occasion to refer hereafter, has recently done much to familiarise Italian readers with the chief points of Sapphic criticism. His enthusiasm for her character and genius is all that can be desired, but his acceptance of Welcker's arguments is not so complete as mine. Where truth must lie between two extremes, and evidence on either side is so hard to collect and estimate, it is possible for differently constituted minds to reach very different conclusions. The motto at the back of my title-page is the guide I am most willing to follow. But, after all, to use the words of a friend whom I consulted on the subject, 'whether the pure think her emotion pure or impure; whether the impure appreciate it rightly, or misinterpret it; whether, finally, it was platonic or not; seems to me to matter nothing.' Sappho's poetic eminence is independent of such considerations. To her,

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.


Those who wish to learn more about Sappho than is here recorded will find a guide in the Bibliography which I have added at the end of the volume. My sole desire in these pages is to present 'the great poetess' to English readers in a form from which they can judge of her excellence for themselves, so far as that is possible for those to whom Aeolic Greek is unfamiliar. Her more important fragments have been translated into German, French, Italian, and Spanish, as well as English; but all previous complete editions of her works have been written solely by scholars for scholars. Now that, through the appreciation of Sappho by modern poets and painters, her name is becoming day by day more familiar, it seems time to show her as we know her to have been, to those who have neither leisure nor power to read her in the tongue in which she wrote.

I have not concerned myself much with textual criticism, for I do not arrogate any power of discernment greater than that possessed by a scholar like Bergk. Only those who realise what he has done to determine the text of Sappho can quite appreciate the value of his work. Where he is satisfied, I am content. He wrote for the learned few, and I only strive to popularise the result of such researches as his: to show, indeed, so far as I can, that {xx}which centuries of scholarship have succeeded in accomplishing.

The translations by Mr. John Addington Symonds, dated 1883, were all made especially for this work in the early part of that year, and have not been elsewhere published. My thanks are also due to Mr. Symonds for much valuable criticism.

The medallion which forms the frontispiece has been engraved by my friend Mr. John Cother Webb, after the head of Sappho in the picture by Mr. L. Alma Tadema, R.A., exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881, as 'op. ccxxiii.,' and now in America. I trust that my readers will sympathise with me in cordial gratitude to both artist and engraver, to the one for his permission, to the other for his fidelity.




May 1885.



Mr. H. T. Wharton—known to book-lovers as 'Sappho Wharton'—died on August 22, 1895, after a lingering illness due to influenza, at his residence in West Hampstead; and he lies buried in the neighbouring cemetery of Fortune Green.

Henry Thornton Wharton was born in 1846 at Mitcham, in Surrey, of which parish his father was then vicar. His mother, who survives him, was a Courtenay, a cousin of the Earl of Devon. His elder brother, the author of Etyma Graeca and Etyma Latina, is a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford; a younger brother shares his taste for ornithology. He was educated as a day-boy at the Charterhouse, in its old Smithfield days; and after spending a short time in the classical department of King's College, he went up to Oxford in 1867, as a commoner of Wadham. That college had no more enthusiastic alumnus, and he will be greatly missed, both at the Gaudy and at the {xxii}annual dinner in London. He graduated in 1871 with honours in natural science, and then joined the medical school at University College. On qualifying as M.R.C.S. in 1875, he settled down to general practice in West Hampstead. He never earned a large income; but his devotion to all his patients, and in particular his generosity to the poor, will cause his memory to be long held in honour.

The general public first heard of him in 1885, when he brought out his Sappho—memoir, text, selected renderings, and a literal translation (David Stott). The book met with an immediate success, partly because it supplied a want, and partly from the attractive form in which it was produced. A second edition was called for within two years; and this very summer a third, with additions, has been published by Mr. John Lane. The author spared no pains to make the volume worthy of its subject. Merely as a specimen of book-making, it has few rivals. The Royal Press of Berlin lent a fount of Greek type, which had never before been used in this country. Prof. Blass, of Kiel, gave his assistance in determining the obscure text of the fragments. Mr. John Addington Symonds contributed special metrical versions of all the longer pieces. Mr. John Cother Webb engraved for frontispiece the head of Sappho in Mr. Alma {xxiii}Tadema's famous picture, the original of which has since gone to America. Of Mr. Wharton's own work we must be content to praise the memoir, marked by good sense as well as erudition; and the bibliography, which includes the latest programs of Russian universities. The result is one of the rare books that give fresh life to an ancient author, and beget other good books, such, in this case, as Michael Field's Long Ago. It appeals alike to the scholar, the bibliophile, and the general public; and by it the author's name will be preserved, along with that of the immortal poetess, when far more notorious writers of the day are forgotten.

But Mr. Wharton was by no means a man of one book. Though he had got together a choice collection of English literature, his real interest lay in natural history. It would be difficult, indeed, to say to which of its branches he was most devoted. His knowledge of ornithology was based upon observation as much as upon books. His eye and ear were both highly trained, and he always made his learning subservient to nature. So, again, with regard to botany. While he did not despise the most technical details, it was his delight to accompany gatherings of autumn fungus-hunters, and to point out what was wholesome and what poisonous. He was one {xxiv}of the joint compilers of the official List of British Birds published by the B. O. U. (1883), his special task being to supervise and elucidate the Latin nomenclature; and he contributed a chapter on the local flora to a work entitled Hampstead Hill (1889).

So much, however, summarises only what Harry Wharton did, not what he was. His was one of the bounteous natures that radiate happiness wherever they go. Men, women, and children alike brightened in his genial presence. He led a blameless and a beneficent life. He never made an enemy and he never lost a friend. He ought to have been a contemporary of Charles Lamb. It is hard to realise—especially for one who has known and loved him for nearly thirty years—that we shall never see again that os honestum, never hear again that ringing laugh.

'God be with his soul! A' was a merry man.'




Preface to Third Edition v
Preface to Second Edition ix
Preface to First Edition xv
In Memoriam xxiii
Life of Sappho 1
I. In Sapphic Metre 49
II. In Dactylic Metre 87
III. In Alcaic Metre 88
IV. In Mixed Glyconic and Alcaic Metre 89
V. In Choriambic Metre 90
VI. In Various Metres 125
VII. In the Ionic "A Minore" Metre 127
VIII. Epithalamia, Bridal Songs 130
IX. Epigrams 149
X. Miscellaneous 152
The Fayum Fragments 181
Sappho to Phaon 187
Bibliography 199


Sappho Frontispiece
Engraved by Mr. John Cother Webb, from a
picture by Sir L. Alma Tadema, R.A.
Mitylene To face page 1
The Fayum Fragments  " 181


Sappho, the one great woman poet of the world, who called herself Psappha in her own Aeolic dialect (in fragments 1 and 59), is said to have been at the zenith of her fame about the year 610 B.C.

During her lifetime Jeremiah first began to prophesy (628 B.C.), Daniel was carried away to Babylon (606 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar besieged and captured Jerusalem (587 B.C.), Solon was legislating at Athens, and Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king, is said to have been reigning over Rome. She lived before the birth of Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, the religion now professed by perhaps almost a third of the whole population of the globe.

Two centuries have sufficed to obscure most of the events in the life of Shakspere; it can hardly be expected that the lapse of twenty-five centuries should have left many authentic records of the history of Sappho. Little even of that internal evidence, upon which biography may rely, can be gathered from her {2}extant poems, in such fragmentary form have they come down to us. Save for the quotations of grammarians and lexicographers, no word of hers would have survived. Yet her writings seem to have been preserved intact till at least the third century of our era, for Athenaeus, who wrote about that time, applies to himself the words of the Athenian comic poet Epicrates in his Anti-Laïs (about 360 B.C.), saying that he too—

Had learned by heart completely all the songs,

Breathing of love, which sweetest Sappho sang.

Scaliger says, although there does not seem to exist any confirmatory evidence, that the works of Sappho and other lyric poets were burnt at Constantinople and at Rome in the year 1073, in the popedom of Gregory VII. Cardan says the burning took place under Gregory Nazianzen, about 380 A.D. And Petrus Alcyonius relates that he heard when a boy that very many of the works of the Greek poets were burnt by order of the Byzantine emperors, and the poems of Gregory Nazianzen circulated in their stead. Bishop Blomfield (Mus. Crit. i. p. 422) thinks they must all have been destroyed at an early date, because neither Alcaeus nor Sappho was annotated by any of the later Grammarians. {3}'Few indeed, but those, roses,' as the poet Meleager said, are the precious verses the zeal of anti-paganism has spared to us.

Of Sappho's parents nothing is definitely known. Herodotus calls her father Scamandrōnymus; and as he wrote within one hundred and fifty years of her death there is little reason to doubt his accuracy. But Suidas, who compiled a Greek lexicon in about the eleventh century A.D., gives us the choice of seven other names. Her mother's name was Clēis. The celebrated Epistle known as that of Sappho to Phaon, of which I subjoin a translation by Pope in the Appendix, and which is commonly ascribed to Ovid,[1] says {4}Sappho was only six years old 'when the bones of her parent, gathered up before their time, drank in her tears'; this is supposed to refer to her father, because in fr. 90 she speaks of her mother as still alive.

She had two brothers, Charaxus and Larichus; Suidas indeed names a third, Eurygius, but nothing is known of him.

Larichus was public cup-bearer at Mitylene, an office only held by youths of noble birth (cf. fr. 139), whence it is inferred that Sappho belonged to the wealthy aristocratic class.

Charaxus was occupied in carrying the highly prized Lesbian wine to Naucrătis[2] in Egypt, where he fell in love with a woman of {5}great beauty, Dōrĭcha or Rhodōpis, and ransomed her from slavery for a great sum of money. Herodotus says she came originally from Thrace, and had once served Iadmon of Samos, having been fellow-slave with Aesop the fabulist. Suidas says Charaxus married her, and had children by her; but Herodotus only says that she was made free by him, and remained in Egypt, and 'being very lovely, acquired great riches for a person of her condition.' Out of a tenth part of her gains (cf. fr. 138) she furnished the temple of Apollo at Delphi with a number of iron spits for roasting oxen on. Athenaeus, however, blames Herodotus for having confused two different persons, saying that Charaxus married Doricha, while it was Rhodopis who sent the spits to Delphi. Certainly it appears clear that Sappho in her poem called her Doricha, but Rhodopis, 'Rosy-cheek,' was probably the name by which she was known among her lovers, on account of her beauty.

Another confusion respecting Rhodopis is {6}that in Greece she was believed to have built the third pyramid; and Herodotus takes pains to show that such a work was far beyond the reach of her wealth, and was really due to kings of a much earlier date. Still the tale remained current, false as it undoubtedly was, at least till the time of Pliny (about 77 A.D.). It has been shown by Bunsen and others that it is probable that

The Rhodope that built the pyramid

was Nitocris, the beautiful Egyptian queen who was the heroine of so many legends; Mycerinus began the third pyramid, and Nitocris finished it.

Strabo and Aelian relate a story of Rhodopis which recalls that of Cinderella. One day, they say, when Rhodopis was bathing at Naucratis, an eagle snatched up one of her sandals from the hands of her female attendants, and carried it to Memphis; the eagle, soaring over the head of the king (whom Aelian calls Psammetichus[3]), who was administering justice at the time, let the sandal fall into his lap. The king, struck with the beauty {7}of the sandal and the singularity of the incident, sent over all Egypt to discover the woman to whom it belonged. The owner was found in the city of Naucratis and brought to the king; he made her his queen, and at her death erected, so the story goes, this third pyramid in her honour.

Suidas says Sappho 'married one Cercōlas, a man of great wealth, who sailed from Andros, and,' he adds, 'she had a daughter by him, named Cleïs.' In fr. 85 (cf. fr. 136) Sappho mentions this daughter Claïs by name, and Ovid, in the Epistle already alluded to, also refers to her. But the existence of such a husband has been warmly disputed, and the name (Pēnifer) and that of his country (Virīlia) are conjectured to have been invented in ribaldry by the Comic poets; certainly it was against the custom of the Greeks to amass wealth in one country and go to seek a wife in a distant island. Some authorities do not mention Andros, one of the islands of the Cyclades, but state that Sappho's family belonged to an Aeolian colony in the Troad.

The age in which Sappho flourished is mainly determined by concurrent events. Athenaeus makes her contemporary with Alyattes the father of Croesus, who reigned over Lydia from 628 to 570 B.C. Eusebius {8}mentions her in his Chronicle for the year 604 B.C. Suidas says she lived about the 42nd Olympiad (612-609 B.C.), in the time of the poets Alcaeus, Stēsichŏrus, and Pittăcus. Her own verses in fr. 28 are said to have been written in answer to those of Alcaeus addressing her—

Ἰόπλοκ' ἄγνα μελλιχόμειδε Σάπφοι,

θέλω τι ϝείπην, ἀλλά με κωλύει αἴδως,

'Violet-weaving, pure, soft-smiling Sappho, I want to say something, but shame deters me' (cf. p. 24). Athenaeus says that Hermesiănax, in an elegy (cf. fr. 26), spoke of Sappho as beloved by Anacreon, and he quotes from the third book of some elegiac poetry by Hermesianax, 'A Catalogue of things relating to Love,' these lines of his:

And well thou knowest how famed Alcaeus smote

Of his high harp the love-enlivened strings,

And raised to Sappho's praise the enamoured note,

'Midst noise of mirth and jocund revellings:

Aye, he did love that nightingale of song

With all a lover's fervour,—and, as he

Deftly attuned the lyre, to madness stung

The Teian bard with envious jealousy.

For her Anacreon, charming lyrist, wooed,

And fain would win, with sweet mellifluous chime,

Encircled by her Lesbian sisterhood;

Would often Samos leave, and many a time

{9}From vanquished Teos' viny orchards hie

To viny Lesbos' isle,—and from the shore,

O'er the blue wave, on Lectum cast his eye,

And think on bygone days and times no more.

(Translated by J. Bailey.)

Diphilus too, in his play Sappho, represented Archilochus and Hippōnax as her lovers—for a joke, as Athenaeus prudently remarks. Neither of these, however, was a contemporary of hers, and it seems quite certain that Anacreon, who flourished fully fifty years later, never set eyes on Sappho (cf. fr. 26).

How long she lived we cannot tell. The epithet γεραιτέρα, 'somewhat old,' which she applies to herself in fr. 75, may have been merely relative. The story about her brother Charaxus and Rhodopis would show she lived at least until 572 B.C., the year of the accession of Amāsis, king of Egypt, under whose reign Herodotus says Rhodopis flourished; but one can scarcely draw so strict an inference. If what Herodotus says is true, Sappho may have reached the age of fifty years. At any rate, 'the father of history' is more worthy of credence than the scandal-mongers. An inscription on the famous Parian marbles, a system of chronology compiled, perhaps by a schoolmaster, in the third century B.C. (cf. p. 17), says: 'When Aristocles reigned over the {10}Athenians, Sappho fled from Mitylene and sailed to Sicily'; but the exact date is illegible, though it may be placed between 604 and 592 B.C. It is hardly safe to refer to this Ovid's assertion that she went to Sicily in pursuit of Phaon.

Balancing all the evidence, Fynes-Clinton, in his Fasti Hellenici, i. p. 225, takes the years 611-592 B.C. to be the period in which Sappho flourished.

That she was a native of Lesbos, an island in the Aegean sea, is universally admitted; and all but those writers who speak of a second Sappho say she lived at Mitylēnē, the chief city of the island. The existence of a Sappho who was a courtesan of Erĕsus, a smaller Lesbian city, besides the poetess of Mitylene, is the invention of comparatively late authors; and it is probably due to their desire to detach the calumnies, which the Comic poets so long made popular, from the personality of the poetess to whose good name her own contemporaries bore witness (cf. Alcaeus' address to her, p. 8).

Strabo, in his Geography, says: 'Mitylene [Μιτυλήνη or Μυτιληνη] is well provided with everything. It formerly produced celebrated men, such as Pittacus, one of the Seven Wise Men; Alcaeus the poet, and others. Contemporary with these persons flourished Sappho, {11}who was something wonderful; at no period within memory has any woman been known who in any, even the least degree, could be compared to her for poetry.' Indeed, the glory of Lesbos was that Sappho was its citizen, and its chief fame centres in the fact of her celebrity. By its modern name Mitilene, under the dominion of the Turks, the island,

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

is now mainly known for its oil and wine and its salubrity. In ancient times its wine was the most celebrated through all Greece; and Vergil refers to its vines, which trailed like ivy on the ground, while many authors testify to the exceptional wholesomeness of Lesbian wine. But the clue to Sappho's individuality can only be found in the knowledge of what, in her age, Lesbos and the Lesbians were; around her converges all we know of the Aeolian race. As Mr. Swinburne says—

Had Sappho's self not left her word thus long

For token,

The sea round Lesbos yet in waves of song

Had spoken.

'For a certain space of time,' writes Mr. J. Addington Symonds in his Studies of Greek Poets, first series, pp. 127 ff., 'the Aeolians occupied the very foreground of Greek {12}literature, and blazed out with a brilliance of lyrical splendour that has never been surpassed. There seems to have been something passionate and intense in their temperament, which made the emotions of the Dorian and the Ionian feeble by comparison. Lesbos, the centre of Aeolian culture, was the island of overmastering passions; the personality of the Greek race burned there with a fierce and steady flame of concentrated feeling. The energies which the Ionians divided between pleasure, politics, trade, legislation, science, and the arts, and which the Dorians turned to war and statecraft and social economy, were restrained by the Aeolians within the sphere of individual emotions, ready to burst forth volcanically. Nowhere in any age of Greek history, or in any part of Hellas, did the love of physical beauty, the sensibility to radiant scenes of nature, the consuming fervour of personal feeling, assume such grand proportions did receive so illustrious an expression as they did in Lesbos. At first this passion blossomed into the most exquisite lyrical poetry that the world has known: this was the flower-time of the Aeolians, their brief and brilliant spring. But the fruit it bore was bitter and rotten. Lesbos became a byword for corruption. The passions which for a moment had flamed into {13}the gorgeousness of Art, burnt their envelope of words and images, remained a mere furnace of sensuality, from which no expression of the divine in human life could be expected. In this the Lesbian poets were not unlike the Provençal troubadours, who made a literature of Love; or the Venetian painters, who based their Art upon the beauty of colour, the voluptuous charms of the flesh. In each case the motive of enthusiastic passion sufficed to produce a dazzling result. But as soon as its freshness was exhausted there was nothing left for Art to live on, and mere decadence to sensuality ensued. Several circumstances contributed to aid the development of lyric poetry in Lesbos. The customs of the Aeolians permitted more social and domestic freedom than was common in Greece. Aeolian women were not confined to the harem like Ionians, or subjected to the rigorous discipline of the Spartans. While mixing freely with male society, they were highly educated, and accustomed to express their sentiments to an extent unknown elsewhere in history—until, indeed, the present time. The Lesbian ladies applied themselves successfully to literature. They formed clubs for the cultivation of poetry and music. They studied the art of beauty, and sought to refine metrical forms and diction. {14}Nor did they confine themselves to the scientific side of Art. Unrestrained by public opinion, and passionate for the beautiful, they cultivated their senses and emotions, and developed their wildest passions. All the luxuries and elegances of life which that climate and the rich valleys of Lesbos could afford, were at their disposal: exquisite gardens, in which the rose and hyacinth spread perfume; river-beds ablaze with the oleander and wild pomegranate; olive-groves and fountains, where the cyclamen and violet flowered with feathery maidenhair; pine-shadowed coves, where they might bathe in the calm of a tideless sea; fruits such as only the southern sea and sea-wind can mature; marble cliffs, starred with jonquil and anemone in spring, aromatic with myrtle and lentisk and samphire and wild rosemary through all the months; nightingales that sang in May; temples dim with dusky gold and bright with ivory; statues and frescoes of heroic forms. In such scenes as these the Lesbian poets lived, and thought of Love. When we read their poems, we seem to have the perfumes, colours, sounds, and lights of that luxurious land distilled in verse. Nor was a brief but biting winter wanting to give tone to their nerves, and, by contrast with the summer, to prevent the palling of so much luxury on sated senses. {15}The voluptuousness of Aeolian poetry is not like that of Persian or Arabian art. It is Greek in its self-restraint, proportion, tact. We find nothing burdensome in its sweetness. All is so rhythmically and sublimely ordered in the poems of Sappho that supreme art lends solemnity and grandeur to the expression of unmitigated passion.'

The story of Sappho's love for Phaon, and her leap from the Leucadian rock in consequence of his disdaining her, though it has been so long implicitly believed, does not seem to rest on any firm historical basis. Indeed, more than one epigrammatist in the Greek Anthology expressly states that she was buried in an Aeolic grave.[4]

Still Phaon, for all the myths that cluster round his name, for his miraculous loveliness and his insensibility to love, may yet have been a real personage. Like other heroes, he may possibly have lived at a period long anterior to {16}that of the traditions about him which have been handed down to us. He is said to have been a boatman of Mitylene (cf. fr. 140), who was endowed by Aphrodite with youth and extraordinary beauty as a reward for his having ferried her for nothing. Servius, who wrote about 400 A.D. (cf. p. 39), says she gave him an alabaster box of ointment, the effect of which was to make all women fall in love with him; and that one of these—he does not mention her name—threw herself in despair from the cliff of Leucas. Servius further states, on the authority of Menander, that the temple was founded by Phaon of Lesbos. Phaon's beauty and power of fascination passed into a proverb. Pliny, however, says he became the object of Sappho's love because he had found the male root of the plant called eryngo, probably our sea-holly, and that it acted like a love-charm. And when Athenaeus is talking about lettuces, as to their use as food and their anti-aphrodisiac properties, he says Callimachus' story of Aphrodite hiding Adonis under a lettuce is 'an allegorical statement of the poet's, intended to show that those who are much addicted to the use of lettuces are very little adapted for pleasures of love. Cratinus,' he goes on, 'says that Aphrodite when in love with Phaon hid him in the leaves of lettuces; but the younger {17}Marsyas says that she hid him amid the grass of barley.'

Those fanciful writers who assert the existence of a second Sappho say that it was not the poetess who fell in love with Phaon, but that other Sappho on whom they fasten all the absurd stories circulated by the Comic writers. The tale runs that the importunate love of Sappho caused Phaon to flee to Sicily, whither she followed him. Ovid's Epistle, before mentioned (p. 3), is the foundation for the greater part of the legend. The inscription on the Parian marbles (cf. p. 9) also mentions a certain year in which 'Sappho sailed from Mitylene and fled to Sicily.' The chronicle, however, says nothing about Phaon, nor is any reason given for her exile; some have imagined that she was obliged to leave her country on political grounds, but there is no trace in her writings, nor does any report indicate, that she ever interested herself in politics.

Strabo, in his Geography already quoted (p. 10), says: 'There is a white rock which stretches out from Leucas to the sea and towards Cephallenia, that takes its name from its whiteness. The rock of Leucas has upon it a temple of Apollo, and the leap from it was believed to stop love. From this it is said that Sappho first, as Menander says somewhere, "in {18}pursuit of the haughty Phaon, urged on by maddening desire, threw herself from its far-seen rocks, imploring thee [Apollo], lord and king."' The former promontory of Leucas is now separated from the mainland and forms one of the Ionian islands, known as Santa Maura, off the wild and rugged coast of Acarnania. The story of Sappho's having ventured the Leucadian leap is repeated by Ovid, and was never much doubted, except by those who believed in a second Sappho, till modern times. Still, it is strange that none of the many authors who relate the legend say what was the result of the leap—whether it was fatal to her life or to her love. Moreover, Ptolemy Hephaestion (about 100 A.D.), who, in the extant summary of his works published in the Myriobiblion of Photius, gives a list of many men and women who by the Leucadian leap were cured of the madness of love or perished, does not so much as mention the name of Sappho. A circumstantial account of Sappho's leap, on which the popular modern idea is chiefly founded, was given by Addison, relying to no small extent upon his imagination for his facts, 'with his usual exquisite humour,' as Warton remarks, in the 233rd Spectator, Nov. 27, 1711. 'Sappho the Lesbian,' says Addison, 'in love with Phaon, arrived at the temple of Apollo habited like a {19}bride, in garments as white as snow. She wore a garland of myrtle on her head, and carried in her hand the little musical instrument of her own invention. After having sung a hymn to Apollo, she hung up her garland on one side of his altar, and her harp on the other. She then tucked up her vestments like a Spartan virgin, and amidst thousands of spectators, who were anxious for her safety and offered up vows for her deliverance, marched directly forwards to the utmost summit of the promontory, where, after having repeated a stanza of her own verses, which we could not hear, she threw herself off the rock with such an intrepidity as was never before observed in any who had attempted that dangerous leap. Many who were present related that they saw her fall into the sea, from whence she never rose again; though there were others who affirmed that she never came to the bottom of her leap, but that she was changed into a swan as she fell, and that they saw her hovering in the air under that shape. But whether or no the whiteness and fluttering of her garments might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether she might not really be metamorphosed into that musical and melancholy bird, is still a doubt among the Lesbians. Alcaeus, the famous lyric poet, who had for some time been {20}passionately in love with Sappho, arrived at the promontory of Leucate that very evening in order to take the leap upon her account; but hearing that Sappho had been there before him, and that her body could be nowhere found, he very generously lamented her fall, and is said to have written his hundred and twenty-fifth ode upon that occasion.'

It is to be noted in this connection that the part of the cliff of Santa Maura or Leukadi, known to this day as 'Sappho's Leap,' was used, even in historical times, as a place whence criminals condemned to death were thrown into the sea. The people used, it is said, to tie numbers of birds to the limbs of the condemned and cover them with feathers to break the force of their fall, and then send boats to pick them up. If they survived, they were pardoned.

Those modern critics who reject the whole story as fabulous derive it from the myth of the love of Aphrodite and Adonis, who in the Greek version was called Phaëthon or Phaon. Theodor Kock (cf. Preface, p. xvii) is the latest exponent of these views, and he pushes them to a very fanciful extent, even adducing Minos as the sun and Britomartis as the moon to explain the Leucadian leap. Certainly the legend does not appear before the Attic Comedy, about 395 B.C., more than two centuries after {21}Sappho's death. And the Leucadian leap may have been ascribed to her from its having been often mentioned as a mere poetical metaphor taken from an expiatory rite connected with the worship of Apollo; the image occurs in Stesichorus and Anacreon, and may possibly have been used by Sappho. For instance, Athenaeus cites a poem by Stesichorus about a maiden named Calyca who was in love with a youth named Euathlus, and prayed in a modest manner to Aphrodite to aid her in becoming his wife; but when the young man scorned her, she threw herself from a precipice: and this he says happened near Leucas. Athenaeus says the poet represented the maiden as particularly modest, so that she was not willing to live with the youth on his own terms, but prayed that if possible she might become the wedded wife of Euathlus; and if that were not possible, that she might be released from life. And Anacreon, in a fragment preserved by Hephaestion, says, as if proverbially, 'Now again rising I, drunk with love, dive from the Leucadian rock into the hoary wave.'

And Sappho with that gloriole

    .        .        .        .        .       

Of ebon hair on calmëd brows—

O poet-woman, none forgoes

The leap, attaining the repose!

(Mrs. E. B. Browning.)


Sappho 'loved, and loved more than once, and loved to the point of desperate sorrow; though it did not come to the mad and fatal leap from Leucate, as the unnecessary legend pretends. There are, nevertheless,' continues Mr. Edwin Arnold, 'worse steeps than Leucate down which the heart may fall; and colder seas of despair than the Adriatic in which to engulf it.'

Seeing that six comedies are known to have been written under the title of Sappho (cf. p. 37), and that her history furnished material for at least four more, it is not strange that much of their substance should in succeeding centuries have been regarded as genuine. In a later and debased age she became a sort of stock character of the licentious drama. The fervour of her love and the purity of her life, and the very fact of a woman having been the leader of a school of poetry and music, could not have failed to have been misunderstood by the Greek comedians at the close of the fifth century B.C. The society and habits of the Aeolians at Lesbos in Sappho's time were, as M. Bournouf (Lit. Grecq. i. p. 194) has shown, in complete contrast to those of the Athenians in the period of their corruption; just as the unenviable reputation of the Lesbians was earned long after the date of Sappho. 'It is {23}not surprising,' writes Mr. Philip Smith, in his article SAPPHO in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, 'that the early Christian writers against heathenism should have accepted a misrepresentation which the Greeks themselves had invented.' The licence of the Attic comedians is testified by Athenaeus' mention that Antiochus of Alexandria, a writer otherwise unknown, whose date is quite uncertain, wrote a 'Treatise on the Poets who were ridiculed by the Comic writers of the Middle Comedy'; and by the fact that a little before 403 B.C. a law was passed which enacted that no one was to be represented on the stage by name, μὴ δεῖν ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδεῖν (cf. p. 38).

It was not till early in the present century that the current calumnies against Sappho were seriously inquired into by the celebrated scholar of Göttingen, Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, and found to be based on quite insufficient evidence. Colonel Mure endeavoured at great length, both here and in Germany, to expose fallacies in Welcker's arguments; but the bitterness of his attack, and the unfairness of much of his reasoning, go far to weaken his otherwise acknowledged authority. Professor Comparetti has recently examined the question with much fairness and erudition, and, with the possible exception referred to above (p. 3, note), has {24}done much to separate fiction from fact; but he does not endorse all Welcker's conclusions.

Sappho seems to have been the centre of a society in Mitylene, a kind of æsthetic club, devoted to the service of the Muses. Around her gathered maidens from even comparatively distant places, attracted by her fame, to study under her guidance all that related to poetry and music; much as at a later age students resorted to the philosophers of Athens.

The names of fourteen of her girl-friends (ἑταῖραι) and pupils (μαθήτριαι) are preserved. The most celebrated was Erinna of Telos, a poetess of whose genius too few lines are left for us to judge; but we know what the ancients thought of her from this Epigram in the Greek Anthology:

These are Erinna's songs: how sweet, though slight!—

For she was but a girl of nineteen years:—

Yet stronger far than what most men can write:

Had Death delayed, whose fame had equalled hers?

(J. A. Symonds.)

Probably fr. 77 refers to her. Of the other poetess, Damophyla of Pamphylia, not a word survives; but Apollonius of Tyana says she lived in close friendship with Sappho, and made poems after her model. Suidas says Sappho's 'companions and friends were three, viz., Atthis, Telesippa, and Megara; and her pupils were {25}Anagora of the territory of Miletus, Gongyla of Colophon, and Euneica of Salamis.' She herself praises Mnasidica along with Gyrinna (as Maximus Tyrius spells the name) in fr. 76; she complains of Atthis preferring Andromeda to her in fr. 41; she gibes at Andromeda in fr. 70, and again refers to her in fr. 58, apparently rejoicing over her discomfiture. Of Gorgo, in fr. 48, she seems to say, in Swinburne's paraphrase,

I am weary of all thy words and soft strange ways.

Anactoria's name is not mentioned in any fragment we have, although tradition says that fr. 2 was addressed to her; but Maximus Tyrius and others place her in the front rank of Sappho's intimates: 'What Alcibiades,' he says, 'and Charmides and Phaedrus were to Socrates, Gyrinna and Atthis and Anactoria were to the Lesbian.' Another, Dica, we find her (in fr. 78) praising for her skill in weaving coronals. And in fr. 86 a daughter of Polyanax is addressed as one of her maidens. The name is not preserved of her whom (in fr. 68) she reproaches as disloyal to the service of the Muses. The text of Ovid's Sappho to Phaon is so corrupt that we know not whom she is enumerating there of those she loved; even the name of her 'fair Cydno' varies in the MSS. Nor can we tell who 'those other hundred maidens' {26}were whom Ovid (cf. p. 188) makes her say she 'blamelessly loved' before Phaon satisfied her heart. But the preservation of the names or so many of her associates is enough to prove the celebrity of her teaching.

Little more can be learnt about Sappho's actual life. In fr. 72 she says of herself, 'I am not one of a malignant nature, but have a quiet temper.' Antiphanes, in his play Sappho, is said by Athenaeus to have represented her proposing absurd riddles,[5] so little did the Comic writers understand her genius. Fr. 79 is quoted by Athenaeus to show her love for beauty and honour. Compare also fr. 11 and 31 for his testimony to the purity of her love for her girl-friends: πάντα καθαρα τοῖς καθαροῖς, 'unto the pure all things are pure.'

Plato, in his Phaedrus, calls Sappho 'beautiful,' for the sweetness of her songs; 'and yet,' says Maximus Tyrius, 'she was small and dark,' une petite brunette,—'est etiam fusco grata colore venus':

The small dark body's Lesbian loveliness

That held the fire eternal.


The epithet 'beautiful' is repeated by so many {27}writers that it may everywhere refer only to the beauty of her writings. Even Ovid seems to think that her genius threw any lack of comeliness into the shade—a lack, however, which, if it had existed, could not have escaped the derision of the Comic writers, especially since Homer (Iliad, ix. 129, 271) had celebrated the characteristic beauty of the women of Lesbos. The address of Alcaeus to Sappho, quoted on p. 8, shows the sweetness of her expression, even if the epithet ἰόπλοκος (violet-weaving) cannot be replaced by ἰοπλόκαμος (with violet locks), as some MSS. read. And Damocharis, in the Greek Anthology, in an Epigram on a statue of Sappho, speaks of her bright eyes showing her wisdom, and compares the beauty of her face to that of Aphrodite. To another writer in the Greek Anthology she is 'the pride of the lovely-haired Lesbians.' Anacreon, as well as Philoxenus, calls her 'sweet-voiced' (cf. fr. 1).

But though we know so little of Sappho's personal appearance, the whole testimony of the ancient writers describes the charm of her poetry with unbounded praise.

Strabo, in his Geography, calls her 'something wonderful' (θαύμαστόν τι χρῆμα), and says he knew 'no woman who in any, even the least degree, could be compared to her for poetry' (cf. p. 10).


Such was her unique renown that she was called 'The Poetess,' just as Homer was 'The Poet.' Plato numbers her among the Wise. Plutarch speaks of the grace of her poems acting on her listeners like an enchantment, and says that when he read them he set aside the drinking-cup in very shame. So much was a knowledge of her writings held to be an essential of culture among the Greeks, that Philodemus, a contemporary of Cicero, in an Epigram in the Greek Anthology, notes as the mark of an ill-informed woman that she could not even sing Sappho's songs.

Writers in the Greek Anthology call her the Tenth Muse, child of Aphrodite and Erôs, nursling of the Graces and Persuasion, pride of Hellas, companion of Apollo, and prophesy her immortality. For instance, Antipater of Sidon says:

Does Sappho then beneath thy bosom rest,

Aeolian earth? That mortal Muse, confessed

Inferior only to the choir above,

That foster-child of Venus and of Love;

Warm from whose lips divine Persuasion came,

Greece to delight, and raise the Lesbian name.

O ye who ever twine the three-fold thread,

Ye Fates, why number with the silent dead

That mighty songstress whose unrivalled powers

Weave for the Muse a crown of deathless flowers?

(Francis Hodgson.)


And Tullius Laurea:

Stranger, who passest my Aeolian tomb,

Say not 'The Lesbian poetess is dead';

Men's hands this mound did raise, and mortal's work

Is swiftly buried in forgetfulness.

But if thou lookest, for the Muses' sake,

On me whom all the Nine have garlanded,

Know thou that I have Hades' gloom escaped:

No dawn shall lack the lyrist Sappho's name.

And Piny̆tus:

This tomb reveals where Sappho's ashes lie,

But her sweet words of wisdom ne'er will die.

(Lord Neaves.)

And Plato:

Some thoughtlessly proclaim the Muses nine;

A tenth is Lesbian Sappho, maid divine.

(Lord Neaves.)

Indeed, all the praises of the Epigrammatists are in the same strain; none but held her, with the poetess Nossis, 'the flower of the Graces.'

Many authors relate how the Lesbians gloried in Sappho's having been their citizen, and say that her image was engraved on the coins of Mitylene—'though she was a woman,' as Aristotle remarks. J. C. Wolf describes six extant coins which may presumably have been struck at different times in honour of her; he {30}gives a figure of each on his frontispiece, but they have little artistic merit.

It is worthy of note that no coins bearing the name or effigy of Sappho have hitherto been discovered which were current before the Christian era, so that no conclusion drawn from inscriptions on them is of any historical importance. In the time of the Antonines, from which most of these coins seem to date, her name was as much sullied by traditions as it has been to the present day.

Some busts there are of her, but none seem genuine. Perhaps the best representation of what she and her surroundings might have been is given by Mr. Alma Tadema in his 'Sappho,' exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881, which has been etched by Mr. C. O. Murray, and admirably photographed in various sizes by the Berlin Photographic Company; from the head of Sappho in this picture Mr. J. C. Webb has engraved the medallion which forms the frontispiece of this work.

A bronze statue of Sappho was splendidly made by Silanion, and stolen by Verres, according to Cicero, from the prytaneum at Syracuse. And Christodorus, in the Greek Anthology, describes a statue of her as adorning the gymnasium of Zeuxippus at Byzantium in the fifth century A.D. Pliny says that Leon, an artist {31}otherwise unknown, painted a picture of her in the garb of a lutist (psaltria).

Numerous illustrations of her still exist upon Greek vases, most of which have been reproduced and annotated upon by Professor Comparetti (see Bibliography); but they are all in a debased style, and one would feel more content if one had not seen them.

Not only do we know the general estimate of Sappho by antiquity, but her praise is also often given in great detail. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, when he quotes her Ode to Aphrodite (fr. 1), describes at length the beauty of her style. Some of Demetrius' praise is quoted as fr. 124, but he also elaborately shows her command of all the figures and arts of rhetoric. What Longinus, Plutarch, and Aristoxenus thought of her I have summarised under fr. 2. The story of Solon's praise is given under fr. 137. And Plutarch in his Life of Demetrius, telling a story of Antiochus' (324-261 B.C.) being in love with Stratonīce, the young wife of his father, and making a pretence of sickness, says that his physician Erasistratus discovered the object of the passion he was endeavouring to conceal by observing his behaviour at the entrance of every visitor to his sick chamber. 'When others entered,' says Plutarch, 'he was entirely unaffected; but when Stratonice came in, as she {32}often did, either alone or with Seleucus [his father, King of Syria], he showed all the symptoms described by Sappho, the faltering voice, the burning blush, the languid eye, the sudden sweat, the tumultuous pulse; and at length, the passion overcoming his spirits, he fainted to a mortal paleness.' The physician noted what Sappho had described as the true signs of love, and Plutarch touchingly relates how the king in consequence surrendered Stratonice to his son, and made them king and queen of Upper Asia.

Modern writers are not less unanimous than the ancients in their praise of Sappho. Addison prefixes this quotation from Phaedrus (iii. 1, 5), to his first essay on her (Spectator, No. 223): 'O sweet soul, how good must you have been heretofore, when your remains are so delicious!' 'Her soul,' he says, 'seems to have been made up of love and poetry. She felt the passion in all its warmth, and described it in all its symptoms.... I do not know,' he goes on, 'by the character that is given of her works, whether it is not for the benefit of mankind that they are lost. They are filled with such bewitching tenderness and rapture, that it might have been dangerous to have given them a reading.'

Mr. J. Addington Symonds says: 'The world has suffered no greater literary loss than the loss {33}of Sappho's poems. So perfect are the smallest fragments preserved ... that we muse in a sad rapture of astonishment to think what the complete poems must have been.... Of all the poets of the world, of all the illustrious artists of all literatures, Sappho is the one whose every word has a peculiar and unmistakable perfume, a seal of absolute perfection and illimitable grace. In her art she was unerring. Even Archilochus seems commonplace when compared with her exquisite rarity of phrase.... Whether addressing the maidens, whom even in Elysium, as Horace says, Sappho could not forget; or embodying the profounder yearnings of an intense soul after beauty which has never on earth existed, but which inflames the hearts of noblest poets, robbing their eyes of sleep, and giving them the bitterness of tears to drink—these dazzling fragments

Which still, like sparkles of Greek fire,

Burn on through Time, and ne'er expire,

are the ultimate and finished forms of passionate utterance, diamonds, topazes, and blazing rubies, in which the fire of the soul is crystallised for ever.... In Sappho and Catullus ... we meet with richer and more ardent natures [than those of Horace and Alcaeus]: they are endowed with keener sensibilities, with a sensuality {34}more noble because of its intensity, with emotions more profound, with a deeper faculty of thought, that never loses itself in the shallows of "Stoic-Epicurean acceptance," but simply and and exquisitely apprehends the facts of human life.'

And some passages from Swinburne's Notes on Poems and Reviews, showing a modern poet's endeavour to familiarise his readers with Sappho's spirit, can hardly be omitted. Speaking of his poem Anactoria, he says: 'In this poem I have simply expressed, or tried to express, that violence of affection between one and another which hardens into rage and deepens into despair. The keynote which I have here touched,' he continues, 'was struck long since by Sappho. We in England are taught, are compelled under penalties to learn, to construe, and to repeat, as schoolboys, the imperishable and incomparable verses of that supreme poet; and I at least am grateful for the training. I have wished, and I have even ventured to hope, that I might be in time competent to translate into a baser and later language the divine words which even when a boy I could not but recognise as divine. That hope, if indeed I dared ever entertain such a hope, I soon found fallacious. To translate the two odes and the remaining fragments of {35}Sappho is the one impossible task; and as witness of this I will call up one of the greatest among poets. Catullus "translated"—or as his countrymen would now say "traduced"—the Ode to Anactoria—Εἰς Ἐρωμέναν: a more beautiful translation there never was and will never be; but compared with the Greek, it is colourless and bloodless, puffed out by additions and enfeebled by alterations. Let any one set against each other the two first stanzas, Latin and Greek, and pronounce.... Where Catullus failed, I could not hope to succeed; I tried instead to reproduce in a diluted and dilated form the spirit of a poem which could not be reproduced in the body.

'Now the ode Εἰς Ἐρωμέναν—the "Ode to Anactoria" (as it is named by tradition)—the poem ... which has in the whole world of verse no companion and no rival but the Ode to Aphrodite, has been twice at least translated or traduced.... To the best (and bad is the best) of their ability, they [Nicholas Boileau-Despréaux and Ambrose Philips] have "done into" bad French and bad English the very words of Sappho. Feeling that although I might do it better I could not do it well, I abandoned the idea of translation—ἑκὼν ἀέκοντί γε θυμῷ. I tried then to write some paraphrase of the fragments which the Fates and {36}the Christians have spared us. I have not said, as Boileau and Philips have, that the speaker sweats and swoons at sight of her favourite by the side of a man. I have abstained from touching on such details, for this reason: that I felt myself incompetent to give adequate expression in English to the literal and absolute words of Sappho; and would not debase and degrade them into a viler form. No one can feel more deeply than I do the inadequacy of my work. "That is not Sappho," a friend once said to me. I could only reply, "It is as near as I can come; and no man can come close to her." Her remaining verses are the supreme success, the final achievement, of the poetic art.... I have striven to cast my spirit into the mould of hers, to express and represent not the poem but the poet. I did not think it requisite to disfigure the page with a footnote wherever I had fallen back upon the original text. Here and there, I need not say, I have rendered into English the very words of Sappho. I have tried also to work into words of my own some expression of their effect: to bear witness how, more than any other's, her verses strike and sting the memory in lonely places, or at sea, among all loftier sights and sounds—how they seem akin to fire and air, being themselves "all air and fire"; {37}other element there is none in them. As to the angry appeal against the supreme mystery of oppressive heaven, which I have ventured to put into her mouth at that point only where pleasure culminates in pain, affection in anger, and desire in despair—they are to be taken as the first outcome or outburst of foiled and fruitless passion recoiling on itself. After this, the spirit finds time to breathe and repose above all vexed senses of the weary body, all bitter labours of the revolted soul; the poet's pride of place is resumed, the lofty conscience of invincible immortality in the memories and the mouths of men.' No one who wishes to understand Sappho can afford to neglect a study of the poem thus annotated by its author. As Professor F. T. Palgrave justly says, 'Sappho is truly pictorial in the ancient sense: the image always simply presented; the sentiment left to our sensibility.'

The Greek comedies relating to the history of Sappho, referred to on previous pages, were all written by dramatists who belonged to what is known as the Middle Comedy, two centuries after her time (404-340 B.C.). The comedy of that period was devoted to satirising classes of people rather than individuals, to ridiculing stock-characters, to criticising the systems and merits of philosophers and writers, to parodies {38}of older poets, and to travesties of mythological subjects. The extent to which the licence of the comic writers of that age had reached may be judged from the passing of the law referred to on a previous page (p. 23)—μὴ δεῖν ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδεῖν—though the practice continued under ill-concealed disguise. Writers of such a temper were obviously unfit to hand down unsullied a character like Sappho's, powerful though their genius might be to make their inventions seem more true than actual history—'to make the worse appear the better reason.'

Sappho was the title of comedies by Ameipsias, Amphis, Antiphănes, Dīphĭlus, Ephippus, and Timocles, but very little is known of their contents. Of those by Ameipsias and Amphis only a single word out of each survives. Athenaeus quotes a few lines out of those by Ephippus and Timocles, for descriptions of men of contemptible character. The same writer refers to that by Diphilus for his use of the name of a kind of cup (μετανιπτρίς) which was used to drink out of when men had washed their hands after dinner, and for his having represented Archilochus and Hipponax (cf. p. 9) as lovers of Sappho. Of that by Antiphanes (cf. p. 26), who was the most celebrated and the most prolific of the playwrights of the Middle Comedy, we have, again in Athenaeus, {39}a longer passage preserved; but it is merely to show the poetess proposing and solving a wearisome riddle (γρῖφος), satirising a subtlety his grosser audience could not understand.

Besides these, Antiphanes and Plato (the Comic writer, not the philosopher) each wrote a play called Phaon. Of that by Antiphanes but three words remain. Plato's drama is several times quoted by Athenaeus, but only when he is discussing details of cookery—one passage obviously for the sake of its coarseness. Menander wrote a play called Leucadia, and Antiphanes one called Leucadius. Antiphanes' play furnishes Athenaeus with nothing but a catalogue of seasonings. Some lines out of Menander's Leucadia are quoted above (p. 17) from Strabo, and it is referred to by several authors for the sake of some word or phrase; Servius, commenting on Vergil's Aeneid, iii. 274, gives a précis of Turpilius' Latin paraphrase of it, which is mentioned above, p. 16.

Such is our knowledge of the Comic accounts of Sappho's history. When we consider the general character of the Middle Comedy, written as it was to please the Athenians after their golden time had passed, it is not unreasonable to take accounts which seem to have originated in such treatment with somewhat more than diffidence.


But it is not only the Greek dramatists who have written plays on the story of Sappho. Two have appeared in English during the last few years, one of which, by the late Mrs. Estelle Lewis ('Stella'), has been translated into modern Greek by Cambourogio for representation on the Athenian stage. The most celebrated, however, and one of considerable beauty, is by John Lilly, 'the Euphuist'; it is called Sapho and Phao, and was acted before Queen Elizabeth in 1584. The whole is allegorical, Sapho being probably meant for Elizabeth, queen of an island, and Phao is supposed to be Leicester. Lilly makes his Sapho a princess of Syracuse, and takes other liberties—though not such as the Greeks did—with her history; strangely enough, however, he makes no reference to the Leucadian leap. 'When Phao cometh,' he makes Sapho soliloquise, 'what then? Wilt thou open thy love? Yea? No, Sapho, but staring in his face till thine eyes dazzle and thy spirits faint, die before his face; then this shall be written on thy tomb, that though thy love were greater than wisdom could endure, yet thine honour was such as love could not violate.' Venus is introduced as marring their mutual love, and Phao says: 'This shall be my resolution, wherever I wander, to be as I {41}were kneeling before Sapho; my loyalty unspotted, though unrewarded.... My life shall be spent in sighing and wishing, the one for my bad fortune, the other for Sapho's good.'

In France, the first opera written by the late M. Charles Gounod was entitled Sapho. The libretto was by M. Emile Augier. It was first given at the Académie, April 16, 1851; and in Italian, as Saffo, at Covent Garden, Aug. 9, in the same year. It was reproduced in 1858, and again in the new Opera House, April 3, 1884. Each time both author and composer recast their work, which contains many brilliant scenes and melodies. The celebrated Madame de Staël wrote a drama called Sapho, but it has been long forgotten. Alphonse Daudet's novel, Sapho, mœurs Parisiennes, of which a version dramatised by M. Belot was played for the first time at the Gymnase in Paris, December 18, 1885, bears no reference to the poetess beyond the sobriquet of the heroine. The most artistically finished tragedy of the German dramatist Grillparzer is his Sappho. It was produced at Vienna in 1819, and is still played at many of the principal German theatres. An inferior Italian translation of it received a high encomium from Lord Byron. It is best known {42}to English readers by Miss Ellen Frothingham's faithful translation.

About forty years ago, however, Messrs. Thomas Constable & Co., of Edinburgh, had issued an earlier translation of the play by L. C. C. [i.e. Lucy Caroline Cumming]; and there are some others.

The Queen of Roumania, under her nom de guerre of 'Carmen Sylva,' is the most distinguished among living poets who have idealised the life of Sappho. But her poem under that title, published in her Stürme, owes more to its rich poetic charm than to the actual facts of the Greek story; in it the Lesbian seems to live in the Germany of to-day.

Although so little of Sappho remains, her complete works must have been considerable. She seems to have been the chief acknowledged writer of 'Wedding-Songs,' if we may believe Himerius (cf. fr. 93); and there is little doubt that Catullus' Epithalamia were copied, if not actually translated, from hers. Menander the Rhetorician praises her 'Invocatory Hymns,' in which he says she called upon Artemis and Aphrodite from a thousand hills; perhaps fr. 6 is taken out of one of these. Her hymn to Artemis is said to have been imitated by Damophyla (cf. p. 24). She was on all sides regarded as the greatest erotic poet of {43}antiquity; as Swinburne makes her sing of herself—

My blood was hot wan wine of love,

And my song's sound the sound thereof,

The sound of the delight of it.

Epigrams and Elegies, Iambics and Monodies, she is also reported to have written. Nine books of her lyric Odes are said to have existed, but it is uncertain how they were composed. The imitations of her style and metre made by Horace are too well known to require more than a passing reference. Some of his odes have been regarded as direct translations from Sappho; notably his Carm. iii. 12, Miserarum est neque amori dare ludum neque dulci, which Volger compares to her fr. 90. Horace looked forward to hearing her in Hades singing plaintively to the girls of her own country (Carm. ii. 13, 14[6]), and in his time

Still breathed the love, still lived the fire

To which the Lesbian tuned her lyre.

(Carm. iv. 9. 10.)


Athenaeus says that Chamaeleon, one of the disciples of Aristotle, wrote a book about Sappho; and Strabo says Callias of Lesbos interpreted her songs. Alexander the Sophist used to lecture on her; and Dracon of Stratonica, in the reign of Hadrian, wrote a commentary on her metres.

She wrote in the Aeolic dialect, the form of which Bergk has restored in almost every instance. The absence of rough breathings, the throwing back of the accent, and the use of the digamma (Ϝ) and of many forms and words unknown to ordinary Attic Greek, all testify to this. Three idyls ascribed to Theocrĭtus (cf. fr. 65) are imitations of the dialect, metre, and manner of the old Aeolic poets; and the 28th, says Professor Mahaffy, 'is an elegant little address to an ivory spindle which the poet was sending as a present to the wife of his physician friend, Nikias of Cos, and was probably composed on the model of a poem of Sappho.'

Her poems or μέλη were undoubtedly written for recitation with the aid of music; 'they were, in fact,' to quote Professor Mahaffy again, 'the earliest specimens of what is called in modern days the Song or Ballad, in which the repetition of short rhythms produces a certain pleasant monotony, easy to remember and easy to understand.'


What Melic poetry like Sappho's actually was is best comprehended in the light of Plato's definition of melos, that it is 'compounded out of three things, speech, music, and rhythm.'

Aristoxĕnus, as quoted by Plutarch, ascribes to her the invention of the Mixo-Lydian mode. Mr. William Chappell thinks the plain meaning of Aristoxenus' assertion is merely that she sang softly and plaintively, and at a higher pitch than any of her predecessors. All Greek modes can be exhibited by means of our diatonic scale—by the white keys, for example, omitting the black ones, of our modern pianofortes; the various modes having been merely divisions of the diatonic scale into certain regions each consisting of one octave. The ecclesiastical Mixo-Lydian mode, supposed to be similar to the Greek mode of the same name, is the scale of our G major without the F# or leading note. It was called in the early Christian Church 'the angelic mode,' and is now known as the Seventh of the ecclesiastical or Gregorian modes. The more celebrated instances of the use of this mode in modern church music are Palestrina's four-part motet Dies sanctificatus, the Antiphon Asperges me as given in the Roman Gradual, and the Sarum melody of Sanctorum meritis printed in the Rev. T. Helmore's Hymnal Noted. The {46}subjoined example of it is given in Sir George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians:—

Scale of natural notes
  from G to G'

together with a technical description of its construction.

Sappho is said by Athenaeus, quoting Menaechmus and Aristoxenus, to have been the first of the Greek poets to use the Pēktis (πηκτίς), a foreign instrument of uncertain form, a kind of harp (cf. fr. 122), which was played by the fingers without a plectrum. Athenaeus says the Pektis was identical with the Magădis, but in this he was plainly wrong, for Mr. William Chappell has shown that any instrument which was played in octaves was called a Magadis, and when it was in the form of a lyre it had a bridge to divide the strings into two parts, in the ratio of 2 to 1, so that the short part of each string gave a sound just one octave higher than the other. Sappho also mentions (in fr. 154) the Barōmos or Barmos, and the Sarbĭtos or Barbĭtos, kinds of many-stringed Lesbian lyres which cannot now be identified.

As to the metres in which Sappho wrote, it is unnecessary to describe them elaborately here. They are discussed in all treatises on Greek or Latin metres, and Neue has treated {47}of them at great length in his edition of Sappho. Suffice it to say that Bergk has as far as possible arranged the fragments according to their metres, of which I have given indications—often purposely general—in the headings to the various divisions. The metre commonly called after her name was probably not invented by her; it was only called Sapphic because of her frequent use of it. Its strophe is made up thus:

macronmacronmacronmacron over brevemacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron over breve

macronmacronmacronmacron over brevemacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron over breve

macronmacronmacronmacron over brevemacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron over breve

macronmacronmacronmacronmacron over breve

Professor Robinson Ellis, in the preface to his translation of Catullus, gives some examples of Elizabethan renderings of the Sapphic stanza into English; but nothing repeats its rhythm to my ear so well as Swinburne's Sapphics:

All the night sleep came not upon my eyelids,

Shed not dew, nor shook nor unclosed a feather,

Yet with lips shut close and with eyes of iron

Stood and beheld me.

With such lines as these ringing in the reader's ears, he can almost hear Sappho herself singing

Songs that move the heart of the shaken heaven,

Songs that break the heart of the earth with pity,

Hearing, to hear them.


In the face of so much testimony to Sappho's genius, and in the presence of every glowing word of hers that has been spared to us, those 'grains of golden sand which the torrent of Time has carried down to us,' as Professor F. T. Palgrave says, there is no need for me to panegyrise the poetess whom the whole world has been long since contented to hold without a parallel. What Sappho wrote, to earn such unchallenged fame, we can only vainly long to know; what still remains for us to judge her by, I am willing to leave my readers to estimate.





Ποικιλόθρον', ἀθάνατ' Ἀφρόδιτα,

παῖ Δίος, δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε

μή μ' ἄσαισι μήτ' ὀνίαισι δάμνα,

πότνια, θῦμον·

ἀλλὰ τυῖδ' ἔλθ', αἴποτα κἀτέρωτα

τᾶς ἔμας αὔδως ἀΐοισα πήλυι

ἒκλυες, πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα

χρύσιον ἦλθες

ἄρμ' ὐποζεύξαισα· κάλοι δέ σ' ἆγον

ὤκεες στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶς μελαίνας

πύκνα δινεῦντες πτέρ' ἀπ' ὠράνω αἴθε-

ρας διὰ μέσσω.

αἶψα δ' ἐξίκοντο· τὺ δ', ὦ μάκαιρα,

μειδιάσαισ' ἀθανάτῳ προσώπῳ,

ἤρε', ὄττι δηὖτε πέπονθα κὤττι

δηὖτε κάλημι,

κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι

μαινόλᾳ θύμῳ· τίνα δηὖτε Πείθω

μαῖς ἄγην ἐς σὰν φιλότατα, τίς σ', ὦ

Ψάπφ', ἀδικήει;

{50}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, χαλεπᾶν δὲ λῦσον

ἐκ μεριμνᾶν, ὄσσα δὲ μοι τελέσσαι

θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον· σὺ δ' αὔτα

σύμμαχος ἔσσο.

Immortal Aphrodite of the broidered throne, daughter of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I pray thee break not my spirit with anguish and distress, O Queen. But come hither, if ever before thou didst hear my voice afar, and listen, and leaving thy father's golden house camest with chariot yoked, and fair fleet sparrows drew thee, flapping fast their wings around the dark earth, from heaven through mid sky. Quickly arrived they; and thou, blessed one, smiling with immortal countenance, didst ask What now is befallen me, and Why now I call, and What I in my mad heart most desire to see. 'What Beauty now wouldst thou draw to love thee? Who wrongs thee, Sappho? For even if she flies she shall soon follow, and if she rejects gifts shall yet give, and if she loves not shall soon love, however loth.' Come, I pray thee, now too, and release me from cruel cares; and all that my heart desires to accomplish, accomplish thou, and be thyself my ally.



O Venus, beauty of the skies,

To whom a thousand temples rise,

Gaily false in gentle smiles,

Full of love-perplexing wiles;

O goddess, from my heart remove

The wasting cares and pains of love.

If ever thou hast kindly heard

A song in soft distress preferred,

Propitious to my tuneful vow,

O gentle goddess, hear me now.

Descend, thou bright immortal guest,

In all thy radiant charms confessed.

Thou once didst leave almighty Jove

And all the golden roofs above;

The car thy wanton sparrows drew,

Hovering in air they lightly flew;

As to my bower they winged their way

I saw their quivering pinions play.

The birds dismissed (while you remain)

Bore back their empty car again:

Then you, with looks divinely mild,

In every heavenly feature smiled,

And asked what new complaints I made,

And why I called you to my aid?

{52}What frenzy in my bosom raged,

And by what cure to be assuaged?

What gentle youth I would allure,

Whom in my artful toils secure?

Who does thy tender heart subdue,

Tell me, my Sappho, tell me who?

Though now he shuns thy longing arms,

He soon shall court thy slighted charms;

Though now thy offerings he despise,

He soon to thee shall sacrifice;

Though now he freeze, he soon shall burn,

And be thy victim in his turn.

Celestial visitant, once more

Thy needful presence I implore.

In pity come, and ease my grief,

Bring my distempered soul relief,

Favour thy suppliant's hidden fires,

And give me all my heart desires.

Ambrose Philips, 1711.


O Venus, daughter of the mighty Jove,

Most knowing in the mystery of love,

Help me, oh help me, quickly send relief,

And suffer not my heart to break with grief.

{53}If ever thou didst hear me when I prayed,

Come now, my goddess, to thy Sappho's aid.

Orisons used, such favour hast thou shewn,

From heaven's golden mansions called thee down.

See, see, she comes in her cerulean car,

Passing the middle regions of the air.

Mark how her nimble sparrows stretch the wing,

And with uncommon speed their Mistress bring.

Arrived, and sparrows loosed, hastens to me;

Then smiling asks, What is it troubles thee?

Why am I called? Tell me what Sappho wants.

Oh, know you not the cause of all my plaints?

I love, I burn, and only love require;

And nothing less can quench the raging fire.

What youth, what raving lover shall I gain?

Where is the captive that should wear my chain?

Alas, poor Sappho, who is this ingrate

Provokes thee so, for love returning hate?

Does he now fly thee? He shall soon return;

Pursue thee, and with equal ardour burn.

Would he no presents at thy hands receive?

He will repent it, and more largely give.

The force of love no longer can withstand;

He must be fond, wholly at thy command.

{54}When wilt thou work this change? Now, Venus free,

Now ease my mind of so much misery;

In this amour my powerful aider be;

Make Phaon love, but let him love like me.

Herbert, 1713.


Immortal Venus, throned above

In radiant beauty, child of Jove,

O skilled in every art of love

And artful snare;

Dread power, to whom I bend the knee,

Release my soul and set it free

From bonds of piercing agony

And gloomy care.

Yet come thyself, if e'er, benign,

Thy listening ears thou didst incline

To my rude lay, the starry shine

Of Jove's court leaving,

In chariot yoked with coursers fair,

Thine own immortal birds that bear

Thee swift to earth, the middle air

With bright wings cleaving.

Soon they were sped—and thou, most blest,

In thine own smiles ambrosial dressed,

Didst ask what griefs my mind oppressed—

What meant my song—

{55}What end my frenzied thoughts pursue—

For what loved youth I spread anew

My amorous nets—'Who, Sappho, who

'Hath done thee wrong?

'What though he fly, he'll soon return—

'Still press thy gifts, though now he spurn;

'Heed not his coldness—soon he'll burn,

'E'en though thou chide.'

—And saidst thou thus, dread goddess? Oh,

Come then once more to ease my woe:

Grant all, and thy great self bestow,

My shield and guide!

John Herman Merivale, 1833.


Golden-throned beyond the sky,

Jove-born immortality:

Hear and heal a suppliant's pain:

Let not love be love in vain!

Come, as once to Love's imploring

Accents of a maid's adoring,

Wafted 'neath the golden dome

Bore thee from thy father's home;

When far off thy coming glowed,

Whirling down th' aethereal road,

On thy dove-drawn progress glancing,

'Mid the light of wings advancing;

{56}And at once the radiant hue

Of immortal smiles I knew;

Heard the voice of reassurance

Ask the tale of love's endurance:—

'Why such prayer? And who for thee,

Sappho, should be touch'd by me;

Passion-charmed in frenzy strong—

Who hath wrought my Sappho wrong?

'—Soon for flight pursuit wilt find,

Proffer'd gifts for gifts declined;

Soon, thro' long reluctance earn'd,

Love refused be Love return'd.'

—To thy suppliant so returning,

Consummate a maiden's yearning:

Love, from deep despair set free,

Championing to victory!

F. T. Palgrave, 1854.

Splendour-throned Queen, immortal Aphrodite,

Daughter of Jove, Enchantress, I implore thee

Vex not my soul with agonies and anguish;

Slay me not, Goddess!

Come in thy pity—come, if I have prayed thee;

Come at the cry of my sorrow; in the old times

Oft thou hast heard, and left thy father's heaven,

Left the gold houses,

Yoking thy chariot. Swiftly did the doves fly,

{57}Swiftly they brought thee, waving plumes of wonder—

Waving their dark plumes all across the aether,

All down the azure.

Very soon they lighted. Then didst thou, Divine one,

Laugh a bright laugh from lips and eyes immortal,

Ask me, 'What ailed me—wherefore out of heaven

'Thus I had called thee?

'What it was made me madden in my heart so?'

Question me, smiling—say to me, 'My Sappho,

'Who is it wrongs thee? Tell me who refuses

'Thee, vainly sighing.'

'Be it who it may be, he that flies shall follow;

'He that rejects gifts, he shall bring thee many;

'He that hates now shall love thee dearly, madly—

'Aye, though thou wouldst not.'

So once again come, Mistress; and, releasing

Me from my sadness, give me what I sue for,

Grant me my prayer, and be as heretofore now

Friend and protectress.

Edwin Arnold, 1869.

Beautiful-throned, immortal Aphrodite,

Daughter of Zeus, beguiler, I implore thee,

Weigh me not down with weariness and anguish

O thou most holy!

{58}Come to me now, if ever thou in kindness

Hearkenedst my words,—and often hast thou hearkened—

Heeding, and coming from the mansions golden

Of thy great Father,

Yoking thy chariot, borne by the most lovely

Consecrated birds, with dusky-tinted pinions,

Waving swift wings from utmost heights of heaven

Through the mid-ether;

Swiftly they vanished, leaving thee, O goddess,

Smiling, with face immortal in its beauty,

Asking why I grieved, and why in utter longing

I had dared call thee;

Asking what I sought, thus hopeless in desiring,

Wildered in brain, and spreading nets of passion—

Alas, for whom? and saidst thou, 'Who has harmed thee?

'O my poor Sappho!

'Though now he flies, ere long he shall pursue thee;

'Fearing thy gifts, he too in turn shall bring them;

'Loveless to-day, to-morrow he shall woo thee,

'Though thou shouldst spurn him.'

{59}Thus seek me now, O holy Aphrodite!

Save me from anguish; give me all I ask for,

Gifts at thy hand; and thine shall be the glory,

Sacred protector!

T. W. Higginson, 1871.

O fickle-souled, deathless one, Aphrodite,

Daughter of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I pray thee,

Lady august, never with pangs and bitter

Anguish affray me!

But hither come often, as erst with favour

My invocations pitifully heeding,

Leaving thy sire's golden abode, thou camest

Down to me speeding.

Yoked to thy car, delicate sparrows drew thee

Fleetly to earth, fluttering fast their pinions,

From heaven's height through middle ether's liquid

Sunny dominions.

Soon they arrived; thou, O divine one, smiling

Sweetly from that countenance all immortal,

Askedst my grief, wherefore I so had called thee

From the bright portal?

What my wild soul languished for, frenzy-stricken?

'Who thy love now is it that ill requiteth,

Sappho? and who thee and thy tender yearning

Wrongfully slighteth?

{60}Though he now fly, quickly he shall pursue thee—

Scorns he thy gifts? Soon he shall freely offer—

Loves he not? Soon, even wert thou unwilling,

Love shall he proffer.'

Come to me then, loosen me from my torment,

All my heart's wish unto fulfilment guide thou,

Grant and fulfil! And an ally most trusty

Ever abide thou.

Moreton John Walhouse, in The

Gentleman's Magazine, 1877.

Glittering-throned, undying Aphrodite,

Wile-weaving daughter of high Zeus, I pray thee,

Tame not my soul with heavy woe, dread mistress,

Nay, nor with anguish!

But hither come, if ever erst of old time

Thou didst incline, and listenedst to my crying,

And from thy father's palace down descending,

Camest with golden

Chariot yoked: thee fair swift-flying sparrows

Over dark earth with multitudinous fluttering,

Pinion on pinion, thorough middle ether

Down from heaven hurried.

{61}Quickly they came like light, and thou, blest lady,

Smiling with clear undying eyes didst ask me

What was the woe that troubled me, and wherefore

I had cried to thee:

What thing I longed for to appease my frantic

Soul: and Whom now must I persuade, thou askedst,

Whom must entangle to thy love, and who now,

Sappho, hath wronged thee?

Yea, for if now he shun, he soon shall chase thee;

Yea, if he take not gifts, he soon shall give them;

Yea, if he love not, soon shall he begin to

Love thee, unwilling.

Come to me now too, and from tyrannous sorrow

Free me, and all things that my soul desires to

Have done, do for me, queen, and let thyself too

Be my great ally!

J. Addington Symonds, 1893.

Besides these complete versions—many others there are, but these are by far the {62}best—compare the following stanza out of Akenside's Ode on Lyric Poetry (about 1745):—

But lo, to Sappho's melting airs

Descends the radiant queen of Love:

She smiles, and asks what fonder cares

Her suppliant's plaintive measures move:

Why is my faithful maid distressed?

Who, Sappho, wounds thy tender breast?

Say, flies he?—Soon he shall pursue.

Shuns he thy gifts?—He soon shall give.

Slights he thy sorrows?—He shall grieve,

And soon to all thy wishes bow.

And Swinburne's paraphrase—

For I beheld in sleep the light that is

In her high place in Paphos, heard the kiss

Of body and soul that mix with eager tears

And laughter stinging through the eyes and ears:

Saw Love, as burning flame from crown to feet,

Imperishable, upon her storied seat;

Clear eyelids lifted toward the north and south,

A mind of many colours, and a mouth

Of many tunes and kisses; and she bowed,

With all her subtle face laughing aloud,

Bowed down upon me, saying, 'Who doth thee wrong,

Sappho?' but thou—thy body is the song,

{63}Thy mouth the music; thou art more than I,

Though my voice die not till the whole world die;

Though men that hear it madden; though love weep,

Though nature change, though shame be charmed to sleep.

Ay, wilt thou slay me lest I kiss thee dead?

Yet the queen laughed from her sweet heart and said:

'Even she that flies shall follow for thy sake,

And she shall give thee gifts that would not take,

Shall kiss that would not kiss thee' (yea, kiss me)

'When thou wouldst not'—when I would not kiss thee!

Anactoria, p. 67 f.

And his—

O thou of divers-coloured mind,[7] O thou

Deathless, God's daughter subtle-souled—lo now,

Now to the song above all songs, in flight

Higher than the day-star's height,

And sweet as sound the moving wings of night!

Thou of the divers-coloured seat—behold

Her very song of old!—

O deathless, O Gods daughter subtle-souled!

*        *        *        *        *       

{64}Child of God, close craftswoman, I beseech thee;

Bid not ache nor agony break nor master,

Lady, my spirit.

Songs of the Spring-tides: On the Cliffs.

As well as Frederick Tennyson's—

Come to me; what I seek in vain

Bring thou; into my spirit send

Peace after care, balm after pain;

And be my friend.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, writing at Rome about 25 B.C., quotes this, commonly called The Ode to Aphrodite, as a perfect illustration of the elaborately finished style of poetry, showing in detail how its grace and beauty lie in the subtle harmony between the words and the ideas. Certain lines of it, though nowhere else the whole, are preserved by Hephaestion and other authors.


Φαίνεταί μοι κήνος ἴσος θέοισιν

ἔμμεν ὤνηρ, ὄστις ἐναντίος τοι

ἰζάνει, καὶ πλασίον ἆδυ φωνεύ-

σας ὑπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμερόεν, τό μοι μάν

καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόασεν·

ὡς γὰρ εὔιδον βροχέως σε, φώνας

οὐδὲν ἔτ' εἴκει·

{65}ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα ἔαγε, λέπτον δ'

αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν,

ὀππάτεσσι δ' οὐδὲν ὄρημ', ἐπιρρόμ-

βεισι δ' ἄκουαι.

ἀ δέ μίδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δέ

παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας

ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ' ὀλίγω 'πιδεύης

φαίνομαι [ἄλλα].

ἀλλὰ πᾶν τόλματον, [ἐπεὶ καὶ πένητα].

That man seems to me peer of gods, who sits in thy presence, and hears close to him thy sweet speech and lovely laughter; that indeed makes my heart flutter in my bosom. For when I see thee but a little, I have no utterance left, my tongue is broken down, and straightway a subtle fire has run under my skin, with my eyes I have no sight, my ears ring, sweat pours down, and a trembling seizes all my body; I am paler than grass, and seem in my madness little better than one dead. But I must dare all, since one so poor ...

The famous imitation of this ode by Catullus, li., Ad Lesbiam

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,

Ille, si fas est, superare divos,

Qui sedens adversus identidem te

Spectat et audit

{66}Dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis

Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,

Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi

*        *        *        *        *       

Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus

Flamma demanat, sonitu suopte

Tintinant aures, gemina teguntur

Lumina nocte—

is thus translated by Mr. W. E. Gladstone:—

Him rival to the gods I place,

Him loftier yet, if loftier be,

Who, Lesbia, sits before thy face,

Who listens and who looks on thee;

Thee smiling soft. Yet this delight

Doth all my sense consign to death;

For when thou dawnest on my sight,

Ah, wretched! flits my labouring breath.

My tongue is palsied. Subtly hid

Fire creeps me through from limb to limb:

My loud ears tingle all unbid:

Twin clouds of night mine eyes bedim.

and recently by the late Sir R. F. Burton:—

Peer of a god meseemeth he,

Nay, passing gods (an that can be!),

Who all the while sits facing thee,

Sees thee and hears

{67}Thy low sweet laughs which (ah me!) daze

Mine every sense, and as I gaze

Upon thee, Lesbia, o'er me strays

.        .        .        .        .        .       

My tongue is dulled, my limbs adown

Flows subtle flame; with sound its own

Rings either ear, and o'er are strown

Mine eyes with night.

Blest as the immortal gods is he,

The youth who fondly sits by thee,

And hears and sees thee all the while

Softly speak and sweetly smile.

'Twas this deprived my soul of rest,

And raised such tumults in my breast;

For while I gazed, in transport tost,

My breath was gone, my voice was lost:

My bosom glowed; the subtle flame

Ran quick through all my vital frame;

O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung;

My ears with hollow murmurs rung.

In dewy damps my limbs were chilled;

My blood with gentle horror thrilled;

My feeble pulse forgot to play;

I fainted, sank, and died away.

Ambrose Philips, 1711.


Thy fatal shafts unerring move,

I bow before thine altar, Love

I feel thy soft resistless flame

Glide swift through all my vital frame.

For while I gaze my bosom glows,

My blood in tides impetuous flows;

Hope, fear, and joy alternate roll,

And floods of transports whelm my soul.

My faltering tongue attempts in vain

In soothing murmurs to complain;

My tongue some secret magic ties,

My murmurs sink in broken sighs.

Condemned to nurse eternal care,

And ever drop the silent tear,

Unheard I mourn, unknown I sigh,

Unfriended live, unpitied die.

Smollett, in Roderick Random, 1748.

Blest as the immortal gods is he,

The youth whose eyes may look on thee,

Whose ears thy tongue's sweet melody

May still devour.

Thou smilest too?—sweet smile, whose charm

Has struck my soul with wild alarm,

And, when I see thee, bids disarm

Each vital power.

{69}Speechless I gaze: the flame within

Runs swift o'er all my quivering skin;

My eyeballs swim; with dizzy din

My brain reels round;

And cold drops fall; and tremblings frail

Seize every limb; and grassy pale

I grow; and then—together fail

Both sight and sound.

John Herman Merivale, 1833.

Peer of gods he seemeth to me, the blissful

Man who sits and gazes at thee before him,

Close beside thee sits, and in silence hears thee

Silverly speaking,

Laughing love's low laughter. Oh this, this only

Stirs the troubled heart in my breast to tremble!

For should I but see thee a little moment,

Straight is my voice hushed;

Yea, my tongue is broken, and through and through me

'Neath the flesh impalpable fire runs tingling;

Nothing see mine eyes, and a noise of roaring

Waves in my ear sounds;

Sweat runs down in rivers, a tremor seizes

All my limbs, and paler than grass in autumn,

Caught by pains of menacing death, I falter,

Lost in the love-trance.

J. Addington Symonds, 1883.


Compare Lord Tennyson:—

I watch thy grace; and in its place

My heart a charmed slumber keeps,

While I muse upon thy face;

And a languid fire creeps

Through my veins to all my frame,

Dissolvingly and slowly: soon

From thy rose-red lips my name

Floweth; and then, as in a swoon,

With dinning sound my ears are rife,

My tremulous tongue faltereth,

I lose my colour, I lose my breath,

I drink the cup of a costly death

Brimmed with delicious draughts of warmest life.

I die with my delight, before

I hear what I would hear from thee.

Eleänore, 1832.


Last night, when some one spoke his name,

From my swift blood that went and came

A thousand little shafts of flame

Were shiver'd in my narrow frame.—Fatima.[8]


And with line 14, Swinburne's—

Paler than grass in summer.—Sapphics.


Made like white summer-coloured grass.


Longinus, about 250 A.D., uses this, The Ode to Anactoria, or To a beloved Woman, or To a Maiden, as tradition variously names it, to illustrate the perfection of the Sublime in poetry, calling it 'not one passion, but a congress of passions,' and showing how Sappho had here seized upon the signs of love-frenzy and harmonised them into faultless phrase. Plutarch had, about 60 A.D., spoken of this ode as 'mixed with fire,' and quoted Philoxenus as referring to Sappho's 'sweet-voiced songs healing love.'


Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν

αἶψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος,

ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ

γᾶν [ἐπὶ πᾶσαν]

macronmacronmacronmacron ἀργυρία macronmacronmacronmacron·

The stars about the fair moon in their turn hide their bright face when she at about her full lights up all earth with silver.


Planets, that around the beauteous moon

Attendant wait, cast into shade

Their ineffectual lustre, soon

As she, in full-orbed majesty arrayed,

Her silver radiance pours

Upon this world of ours.

J. H. Merivale.

The stars around the lovely moon

Their radiant visage hide as soon

As she, full-orbed, appears to sight,

Flooding the earth with her silvery light.

? Felton.

The stars about the lovely moon

Fade back and vanish very soon,

When, round and full, her silver face

Swims into sight, and lights all space.

Edwin Arnold, 1869.

Stars that shine around the refulgent full moon

Pale, and hide their glory of lesser lustre

When she pours her silvery plenilunar

Light on the orbed earth.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

'As the stars draw back their shining faces when they surround the fair moon in her silver fulness.' F. T. Palgrave.


Quoted by Eustathius of Thessalonica, late in the twelfth century, to illustrate the simile in the Iliad, viii. 551:—

As when in heaven the stars about the moon

Look beautiful.


Julian, about 350 A.D., says Sappho applied the epithet silver to the moon; wherefore Blomfield suggested its position here.


Ἀμφὶ δὲ ψῦχρον κελάδει δι' ὔσδων

μαλίνων, αἰθυσσομένων δὲ φύλλων

κῶμα καταρρεῖ

And round about the [breeze] murmurs cool through apple-boughs, and slumber streams from quivering leaves.

Through orchard-plots with fragrance crowned

The clear cold fountain murmuring flows;

And forest leaves with rustling sound

Invite to soft repose.

J. H. Merivale.

All around through branches of apple-orchards

Cool streams call, while down from the leaves a-tremble

Slumber distilleth.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.


Professor F. T. Palgrave says:—

'We have three lines on a garden scene full of the heat and sleep of the fortunate South:—

'"Round about the cool water thrills through the apple-branches, and sleep flows down upon us in the rustling leaves."

'If there were any authority,' he adds in a note, 'I should like to translate "through the troughs of apple-wood." That Eastern mode of garden irrigation gives a much more defined, and hence a more Sappho-like, image than "through the boughs."'

From the sound of cool waters heard through the green boughs

Of the fruit-bearing trees,

And the rustling breeze,

Deep sleep, as a trance, down over me flows.

Frederick Tennyson, 1890.

Cited by Hermogenes, about 170 A.D., as an example of simple style, and to show the pleasure given by description. The fragment describes the gardens of the nymphs, which Demetrius, about 150 A.D., says were sung by Sappho. Cf. Theocritus, Idyl vii. 135: 'High above our heads waved many a poplar, many an elm-tree, while close at hand the sacred water from the Nymph's own cave welled forth {75}with murmurs musical' (A. Lang). And Ovid, Heroïd., xv. 157—

A spring there is whose silver waters show, etc.—

(cf. Pope's translation, infra, p. 194) probably refers to it.


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Ἔλθε Κύπρι

χρυσίαισιν ἐν κυλίκεσσιν ἄβρως

συμμεμιγμένον θαλίαισι νέκταρ


Come, goddess of Cyprus, and in golden cups serve nectar delicately mixed with delights.

Come, Venus, come

Hither with thy golden cup,

Where nectar-floated flowerets swim.

Fill, fill the goblet up;

These laughing lips shall kiss the brim,—

Come, Venus, come!

Anon. (Edin. Rev., 1832).

Kupris, hither

Come, and pour from goblets of gold the nectar

Mixed for love's and pleasure's delight with dainty

Joys of the banquet.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.


Athenaeus, a native of Naucratis, who flourished about 230 A.D., quotes these verses as an example of the poets' custom of invoking Aphrodite in their pledges. Applying them to himself and his fellow-guests, he adds the words τούτοισι τοῖς ἑταίροις ἐμοῖς γε καὶ σοῖς. Some scholars believe that Sappho actually wrote—

ταῖσδε ταῖς ἔμαις ἐτάραισι καὶ σαῖς,

For these my companions and thine.

Aphrodite was called Cypris, 'the Cyprian,' because it was mythologically believed that when she rose from the sea she was first received as a goddess on the shore of Cyprus (Homeric Hymns, vi.). Sappho seems to be here figuratively referring to the nectar of love.


Ἤ σε Κύπρος καὶ Πάφος ἤ Πάνορμος.

Or Cyprus and Paphos, or Panormus [holds] thee.

If thee Cyprus, or Paphos, or Panormos.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

From Strabo, about 19 A.D. Panormus (Palermo) in Sicily was not founded till after {77}Sappho's time, but it was a common name, and all seaports were under the special protection of Aphrodite.

7, 8

Σοὶ δ' ἔγω λεύκας ἐπὶ βῶμον αἶγος


κἀπιλείψω τοι macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron·

But for thee will I [lead] to the altar [the offspring] of a white goat ... and add a libation for thee.

Adduced by Apollonius of Alexandria, about 140 A.D., to illustrate similarities in dialects. The fragment is probably part of an ode describing a sacrifice offered to Aphrodite.


Αἴθ' ἔγω, χρυσοστέφαν' Ἀφρόδιτα,

τόνδε τὸν πάλον λαχόην.

This lot may I win, golden-crowned Aphrodite.

From Apollonius, to show how adverbs give an idea of prayer.



Αἴ με τιμίαν ἐπόησαν ἔργα

τὰ σφὰ δοῖσαι.

Who gave me their gifts and made me honoured.

From Apollonius, to illustrate the Aeolic dialect. Bergk thinks this fragment had some connection with fr. 68, and perhaps with fr. 32. It seems to refer to the Muses.


macronmacronmacronmacronmacron Τάδε νῦν ἐταίραις

ταῖς ἔμαισι τέρπνα κάλως ἀείσω.

This will I now sing deftly to please my girl-friends.

Quoted by Athenaeus to prove that freeborn women and maidens often called their girl associates and friends ἐταῖραι (Hetaerae), without any idea of reproach.



macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Ὄττινας γὰρ

εὖ θέω, κῆνοί με μάλιστα σίννον-

ται. macronmacronmacronmacron·

For they whom I benefit injure me most.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, a dictionary which was compiled about the tenth century A.D.


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Ἔγω δὲ κήν' ὄτ-

τω τις ἔραται.

But that which one desires I ...

From Apollonius, to illustrate the use of the verb ἐράω. Bergk now reads ἔραται instead of ἐρᾶται as formerly, on the analogy of διάκηται and δύνᾶμαι in the Fayum fragments.



Ταῖς κάλαις υμμιν [τὸ] νόημα τῶμον

οἰ διάμειπτον.

To you, fair maids, my mind changes not.

From Apollonius, to show the Aeolic use of ὔμμιν for ὑμῖν, 'to you.'


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Ἔγων δ' ἰμαύτᾳ

τοῦτο σύνοιδα.

And this I feel in myself.

From Apollonius, to show Aeolic accentuation.


Ταῖσι [δὲ] ψῦχρος μὲν ἔγεντο θῦμος,

παρ δ' ἴεισι τὰ πτέρα. macronmacronmacronmacron

But their heart turned cold and they dropt their wings.

In Pindar, Pyth. i. 10, the eagle of Zeus, delighted by music, drops his wings, and the Scholiast quotes this fragment to show that Sappho says the same of doves.



macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron κατ' ἔμον στάλαγμον·

Τον δ' ἐπιπλάζοντες ἄμοι φέροιεν

καὶ μελεδώναις.

According to my weeping: it and all care let buffeting winds bear away.

Him the wanderer o'er the world

Far away the winds will bear,

And restless care.

Frederick Tennyson.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, to show that the Aeolians used ζ in the place of σσ. Ἄμοι is a guess of Bergk's for ἄνεμοι, 'winds.'


Ἀρτίως μ' ἀ χρυσοπέδιλλος Αὔως.

Me just now the golden-sandalled Dawn ...

Me but now Aurora the golden-sandalled.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Quoted by Ammonius of Alexandria, at the close of the fourth century A.D., to show Sappho's use of ἀρτίως.



macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Πόδας δέ

ποίκιλος μάσλης ἐκάλυπτε, Λύδι-

ον κάλον ἔργον.

A broidered strap of fair Lydian work covered her feet.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Aristophanes' Peace, 1174; and also by Pollux, about 180 A.D. Blass thinks the lines may have referred to an apparition of Aphrodite.


macronmacronmacronmacron Παντοδάπαις μεμιγμέ-

να χροΐαισιν.

Shot with a thousand hues.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes, i. 727, in speaking of Jason's double-folded mantle having been reddish instead of flame-coloured. Some think, however, that Sappho here refers to Iris, i.e. the rainbow.



... Ἔμεθεν δ' ἔχεισθα λάθαν

Me thou forgettest.

From Apollonius, as is also the following, to show the Aeolic use of ἔμεθεν for ἐμοῦ, 'of me.'


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Ἤ τιν' ἄλλον

[μᾶλλον] ἀνθρώπων ἔμεθεν φίλησθα.

Or lovest another more than me.


Ου τι μοι υμμες.

Ye are nought to me.

Quoted by Apollonius, as is also the following fragment, to show that ὑμεῖς was in Aeolic ὔμμες 'you.'



Ας θέλετ' ὔμμες.

While ye will.


Καὶ ποθήω καὶ μαόμαι macronmacronmacron

I yearn and seek ...

From the Etymologicum Magnum, to show that the Aeolians used ποθήω for ποθέω, 'I yearn.'


Κεῖνον, ὦ χρυσόθρονε Μοῦσ', ἔνισπες

ὕμνον, ἐκ τᾶς καλλιγύναικος ἐσθλᾶς

Τήιος χώρας ὃν ἄειδε τερπνῶς

πρέσβυς ἀγαυός.

O Muse of the golden throne, raise that strain which the reverend elder of Teos, from the goodly land of fair women, used to sing so sweetly.


O Muse, who sitt'st on golden throne,

Full many a hymn of dulcet tone

The Teian sage is taught by thee;

But, goddess, from thy throne of gold,

The sweetest hymn thou'st ever told

He lately learned and sang for me.

T. Moore.

Athenaeus says 'Hermesianax was mistaken when he represented Sappho and Anacreon as contemporaries, for Anacreon lived in the time of Cyrus and Polycrates [probably 563-478 B.C.], but Sappho lived in the reign of Alyattes the father of Croesus. But Chamaeleon, in his treatise on Sappho, asserts that according to some these verses were made upon her by Anacreon:—

"Spirit of Love, whose tresses shine

Along the breeze in golden twine,

Come, within a fragrant cloud

Blushing with light, thy votary shroud,

And on those wings that sparkling play

Waft, oh waft me hence away!

Love, my soul is full of thee,

Alive to all thy luxury.

{86}But she, the nymph for whom I glow,

The pretty Lesbian, mocks my woe,

Smiles at the hoar and silvery hues

Which Time upon my forehead strews.

Alas, I fear she keeps her charms

In store for younger, happier arms."'

T. Moore.

Then follows Sappho's reply, the present fragment. 'I myself think,' Athenaeus goes on to say, 'that Hermesianax is joking concerning the love of Anacreon and Sappho, for Diphilus the comic poet, in his play called Sappho, has represented Archilochus and Hipponax as the lovers of Sappho.'

Probably the whole is spurious, for certainly Sappho never saw Anacreon: she must have died before he was born. Even Athenaeus says that it is clear to every one that the verses are not Sappho's.





Σκιδναμένας ἐν στήθεσιν ὄργας

μαψυλάκαν γλῶσσαν πεφύλαχθαι.

When anger spreads through the breast, guard thy tongue from barking idly.

When through thy breast wild wrath doth spread

And work thy inmost being harm,

Leave thou the fiery word unsaid,

Guard thee; be calm.

Michael Field, 1889.

Quoted by Plutarch, in his treatise On restraining anger, to show that in wrath nothing is more noble than quietness. Blass thinks that Bergk is wrong in his restoration of the verses; he considers their metre choriambic (like fr. 64, ff.), and reads them thus:

breve over macronbreve over macron σκιδναμένας στήθεσιν ὄργας πεφυλαγμένα (?)

γλῶσσαν μαψυλάκαν macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron

He compares fr. 72 with them.





Αἰ δ' ἦχες ἔσλων ἴμερον η κάλων,

καὶ μή τι ϝείπην γλῶσσ' ἐκύκα κάκον,

αἴδως κέ σ' οὐ κίχανεν ὄππατ',

ἀλλ' ἔλεγες περὶ τῶ δικαίως.

Hadst thou felt desire for things good or noble, and had not thy tongue framed some evil speech, shame had not filled thine eyes, but thou hadst spoken honestly about it.

The Loves of Sappho and Alcaeus.

Alcaeus.—I fain would speak, I fain would tell,

But shame and fear my utterance quell.

Sappho.—If aught of good, if aught of fair

Thy tongue were labouring to declare,

Nor shame should dash thy glance, nor fear

Forbid thy suit to reach my ear.

Anon. (Edin. Rev., 1832, p. 190).


Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, i. 9, about 330 B.C., says 'base things dishonour those who do or wish them, as Sappho showed when Alcaeus said—

ἰόπλοκ' ἄγνα μελλιχόμειδε Σάπφοι,

θέλω τι ϝείπην, ἀλλά με κωλύει αἴδως.

"Violet-weaving, pure, softly-smiling Sappho, I would say something, but shame restrains me"' (cf. supra, p. 8), and she answered him in the words of the present fragment.

Blass (Rhein. Mus. 1879, xxix. p. 150) believes that these verses also are Sappho's, not Alcaeus'. Certainly they were quoted as Sappho's by Anna Comnena, about 1110 A.D., as well as by another writer whom Blass refers to. Blass would read the last line περὶ ὦ δικαίως ('δικαίως) = περὶ οὗ ἐδικαίους, about that which thou didst pretend.




Στᾶθι κἄντα φίλος ...

καὶ τὰν ἐπ' ὄσσοις ἀμπέτασον χάριν.

Stand face to face, friend ... and unveil the grace in thine eyes.


Athenaeus, speaking of the charm of lovers' eyes, says Sappho addressed this to a man who was admired above all others for his beauty. Bergk thinks it may have formed part of an ode to Phaon (cf. fr. 140), or of a bridal song; and A. Schoene suspects that it was possibly addressed to Sappho's brother. The metre is quite uncertain.



[This is a very unsatisfactory category. Some of the fragments, e.g. 30-43, are in Aeolian dactyls, wherein the second foot is always a dactyl; 44-49 are Glyconics; 50-54 are in the Ionic a majore metre; some others are Asclepiads, etc. But where so much is uncertain, it seems to be the simplest way to group them thus.]


Χρύσεοι δ' ἐρέβινθοι ἐπ' ἀϊόνων ἐφύοντο.

And golden pulse grew on the shores.

Quoted by Athenaeus, when he is speaking of vetches.



Λάτω καὶ Νιόβα μάλα μὲν φίλαι ἦσαν ἔταιπαι.

Leto and Niobe were friends full dear.

Quoted by Athenaeus for the same reason as fr. 11. Compare also fr. 143.


Μνάσεσθαί τινά φαμι καὶ ὔστερον ἄμμεων.

Men I think will remember us even hereafter.

Compare Swinburne's—

Thou art more than I,

Though my voice die not till the whole world die.


Memories shall mix and metaphors of me.


I Sappho shall be one with all these things,

With all high things for ever.



Dio Chrysostom, the celebrated Greek rhetorician, writing about 100 A.D., observes that Sappho says this 'with perfect beauty.'

To illustrate this use of φαμι, Bergk quotes a fragment preserved by Plutarch, which may have been written by Sappho:

.    .    .    .    .    ἔγω φᾶμι ἰοπλόκων

Μοισᾶν εὖ λάχεμεν.

I think I have a goodly portion in the violet weaving Muses.


Ηράμαν μὲν εγω σέθεν, Ἄτθι, πάλαι πότα.

I loved thee once, Atthis, long ago.

I loved thee,—hark, one tenderer note than all—

Atthis, of old time, once—one low long fall,

Sighing—one long low lovely loveless call,

Dying—one pause in song so flamelike fast—

Atthis, long since in old time overpast—

One soft first pause and last.

One,—then the old rage of rapture's fieriest rain

Storms all the music-maddened night again.

Swinburne, Songs of the Springtides, p. 57.


Quoted by Hephaestion, about 150 A.D., as an example of metre. The verse stood at the beginning of the first ode of the second book of Sappho's poems, which Hephaestion says was composed entirely of odes in this metre: thus,

breve over macronbreve over macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron over


Σμίκρα μοι πάϊς ἔμμεν ἐφαίνεο κἄχαρις.

A slight and ill-favoured child didst thou seem to me.

Quoted by Plutarch; and by others also.

Bergk thinks it is certain that this fragment belongs to the same poem as does the preceding, judging from references to it by Terentianus Mauris, about 100 A.D., and by Marius Victorinus, about 350 A.D.


Αλλα, μη μεγαλύνεο δακτυλίω πέρι.

Foolish woman, pride not thyself on a ring.

Preserved by Herodian the grammarian, who lived about 160 A.D.



Οὐκ οἶδ' οττι θέω· δύο μοι τα νοήματα.

I know not what to do; my mind is divided.

Quoted by the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus, about 220 B.C.


Ψαύην δ' οὐ δοκίμοιμ' ὀράνω δύσι πάχεσιν.

I do not think to touch the sky with my two arms.

Quoted by Herodian. Cf. Horace, Carm. I. i. 36, Sublimi feriam sidera vertice,—

My head, exalted so, will touch the stars,

which some think a direct translation of this line of Sappho's.

Old Horace? 'I will strike,' said he,

'The stars with head sublime.'

Tennyson, Tiresias, 1885.



Ὠς δὲ παῖς πεδα μάτερα πεπτερύγωμαι.

And I flutter like a child after her mother.

Like a child whose mother's lost,

I am fluttering, terror-tost.

M. J. Walhouse.

After my mother I flew like a bird.

Frederick Tennyson.

Quoted in the Etymologicum Magnum as an example of Aeolic. It may have related to a sparrow, and been imitated by Catullus, 3, 6 ff.:

Sweet, all honey: a bird that ever hailed her

Lady mistress, as hails the maid a mother.

Nor would move from her arms away: but only

Hopping round her, about her, hence or hither

Piped his colloquy, piped to none beside her.

Robinson Ellis.


Ἦρος ἄγγελος ἰμερόφωνος ἀήδων.

Spring's messenger, the sweet-voiced nightingale.


The dear good angel of the spring,

The nightingale.

Ben Jonson, The Sad Shepherd, Act ii.

The tawny sweetwinged thing

Whose cry was but of Spring.

Swinburne, Songs of the Springtides, p. 52.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Sophocles, Electra, 149, 'the nightingale is the messenger of Zeus, because it is the sign of Spring.'


Ἔρος δαὖτέ μ' ὀ λυσιμελης δόνει,

γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον.

Now Love masters my limbs and shakes me, fatal creature, bitter-sweet.

Lo, Love once more, the limb-dissolving King,

The bitter-sweet impracticable thing,

Wild-beast-like rends me with fierce quivering.

J. Addington Symonds, 1883.



O Love, Love, Love! O withering might!

Tennyson, Fatima.

O bitterness of things too sweet!

Swinburne, Fragoletta.

Sweet Love, that art so bitter.

Swinburne, Tristram of Lyonesse.

and the song in Bothwel, act i. sc. 1:—

Surely most bitter of all sweet things thou art,

And sweetest thou of all things bitter, love.

Quoted by Hephaestion. Cf. fr. 125.


Ἄτθι, σοὶ δ' ἔμεθεν μεν ἀπήχθετο

φροντίσδην, ἐπὶ δ' Ἀνδρομέδαν πότῃ.

But to thee, Atthis, the thought of me is hateful; thou flittest to Andromeda.

Quoted by Hephaestion together with fr. 40, but it seems to be the beginning of a different ode.



Ἔρος δαὖτ' ἐτίναξεν ἔμοι φρένας,

ἄνεμος κατ' ὄρος δρύσιν ἐμπέσων.

Now Eros shakes my soul, a wind on the mountain falling on the oaks.

Love shook me like the mountain breeze

Rushing down on the forest trees.

Frederick Tennyson.

Lo, Love once more my soul within me rends,

Like wind that on the mountain oak descends.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Quoted by Maximus Tyrius, about 150 B.C., in speaking of Socrates exciting Phaedrus to Bacchic frenzy when he talked of love.


Ὄτα πάννυχος ἄσφι κατάγρει.

When all night long [sleep] holds their [eyes].

Quoted by Apollonius to show the Aeolic form of σφί. Bergk thinks that Sappho may have written—

ὄππατ' [ἄωρος,]

ὄτα πάννυχος ἄσφι κατάγρει,

therefore I translate it so.



Χειρόμακτρα δε καγγόνων

πορφυρᾶ ...

καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ἀτιμάσεις,

επεμψ' ἀπὺ Φωκάας

δῶρα τίμια καγγόνων.

And purple napkins for thy lap ... (even these wilt thou despise) I sent from Phocaea, precious gifts for thy lap.

Quoted by Athenaeus out of the fifth book of Sappho's Songs to Aphrodite, to show that χειρόμακτρα were cloths, handkerchiefs, for covering the head. But the whole passage is hopelessly corrupt.


Ἄγε δὴ χέλυ δῖά μοι

φωνάεσσα γένοιο.

Come now, divine shell, become vocal for me.

Quoted by Hermogenes and Eustathius, of Sappho apostrophising her lyre.



Κἀπάλαις ὑποθύμιδας

πλέκταις ἀμπ' ἀπάλᾳ δέρα.

And tender woven garlands round tender neck

From Athenaeus.


Γέλλως παιδοφιλωτέρα.

Fonder of maids than Gello.

Quoted as a proverb by Zenobius, about 130 A.D.; said of those who die an untimely death, or of those whose indulgence brings ruin on their children. Gello was a maiden who died in youth, whose ghost, the Lesbians said, pursued children and carried them off.



Μάλα δὴ κεκορημένας


Of Gorgo full weary.

I am weary of all thy words and soft strange ways.

Swinburne, Anactoria.

Quoted by Choeroboscus, about the end of the sixth century A.D., to show that the Aeolic genitive ended in -ως. Maximus Tyrius mentions this girl Gorgo along with Andromeda (cf. fr. 41) as beloved by Sappho.


Βρενθείω βασιληΐω.

Of a proud (or perfumed, or flowery) palace.

Athenaeus says Sappho here mentions the 'royal' and the 'brentheian' unguent together, as if they were one and the same thing; but the reading is very uncertain.



Ἔγω δ' ἐπὶ μαλθάκαν

τύλαν σπολέω μέλεα.

But I upon a soft cushion dispose my limbs.

From Herodian.


Κῆ δ' ἀμβροσίας μὲν κράτηρ ἐκέκρατο,

Ἐρμᾶς δ' ἔλεν ὄλπιν θέοις οἰνοχόησαι.

κῆνοι δ' ἄρα παντες καρχησιά τ' ἦχον

κἄλειβον, ἀράσαντο δὲ πάμπαν ἔσλα

τῷ γάμβρῳ.

And there the bowl of ambrosia was mixed, and Hermes took the ladle to pour out for the gods; and then they all held goblets, and made libation, and wished the bridegroom all good luck.

The first two lines are quoted by Athenaeus to show that in Sappho Hermes was cupbearer to the gods; and in another place he quotes the {103}rest to illustrate her mention of carchēsia, cups narrow in the middle, with handles reaching from the top to the bottom. Lachmann first joined the two fragments. The verses appear to belong to the Epithalamia.


Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα

καὶ Πληΐαδες, μέσαι δέ

νύκτες, πάρα δ' ἔρχετ' ὤρα,

ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω.

The moon has set, and the Pleiades; it is midnight, the time is going by, and I sleep alone.

The silver moon is set;

The Pleiades are gone;

Half the long night is spent, and yet

I lie alone.

J. H. Merivale.

The moon hath left the sky;

Lost is the Pleiads' light;

It is midnight

And time slips by;

But on my couch alone I lie.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of metre.



Πλήρης μὲν ἐφαίνετ' ἀ σελάννα,

αἰ δ' ὡς περὶ βῶμον ἐστάθησαν.

The moon rose full, and the women stood as though around an altar.

Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of Praxilleian verses, i.e. such as the Sicyonian poetess Praxilla (about B.C. 450) wrote in the metre known as the Ionic a majore trimeter brachycatalectic. Blass thinks that the lines are part of the same poem as that to which the succeeding fragment belongs.


Κρῆσσαί νύ ποτ' ὦδ' ἐμμελέως πόδεσσιν

ὠρχεῦντ' ἀπάλοις ἀμφ' ἐρόεντα βῶμον

πόας τέρεν ἄνθος μάλακον μάτεισαι.

Thus at times with tender feet the Cretan women dance in measure round the fair altar, trampling the fine soft bloom of the grass.


Mr. Moreton J. Walhouse thus combines the previous fragment with this:—

Then, as the broad moon rose on high,

The maidens stood the altar nigh;

And some in graceful measure

The well-loved spot danced round,

With lightsome footsteps treading

The soft and grassy ground.

Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of metre, vv. 1 and 2 in one place and v. 3 in another; Bergk says Santen first joined them.


Ἄβρα δηὖτε παχήᾳ σπόλᾳ ἀλλόμαν.

Then delicately in thick robe I sprang.

From Herodian, as an illustration of the Aeolic dialect. Bergk attributes this to Sappho, but Cramer and others think that Alcaeus wrote the line.



Φαῖσι δή ποτα Λήδαν ὐακινθίνων

[ὐπ' ἀνθέων] πεπυκαδμένον

εὔρην ὤϊον.

Leda they say once found an egg hidden under hyacinth-blossoms.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, Athenaeus, and others. Bergk thinks fr. 112 may be continuous with this, thus—

εὔρην ὤϊον ὠΐω

πόλυ λευκότερον macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron

since Athenaeus quotes fr. 112 after fr. 56. It is uncertain what flower the Greeks meant by 'hyacinth'; it probably had nothing in common with our hyacinth, and it seems to have comprised several flowers, especially the iris, gladiolus, and larkspur.


Ὀφθάλμοις δὲ μέλαις νύκτος ἄωρος.

And dark-eyed Sleep, child of Night.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, to show that the first letter of ἄωρος = ὦρος, 'sleep,' was redundant.



Χρυσοφάη θεράπαιναν Ἀφροδίτας.

Aphrodite's handmaid bright as gold.

Philodemus, about 60 B.C., in a MS. discovered at Herculaneum, says that Sappho thus addresses Πειθώ, Persuasion. The MS. is, however, defective, and Gomperz, the editor, thinks from the context that Hecate is here referred to. Cf. frr. 132, 125. (Bergk formerly numbered this fr. 141.)


Ἔχει μὲν Ἀνδρομέδα κάλαν ἀμοίβαν.

Andromeda has a fair requital.

Quoted by Hephaestion together with the following, although the lines are obviously out of different odes. Probably each fragment is the first line of separate poems.



Ψάπφοι, τί τὰν πολύολβον Ἀφρόδιταν;

Sappho, why [celebrate] blissful Aphrodite?


Δεῦτέ νυν, ἄβραι Χάριτες, καλλίκομοι τε Μοῖσαι.

Come now, delicate Graces and fair-haired Muses.

Come hither, fair-haired Muses, tender Graces,

Come hither to our home.

Frederick Tennyson.

Quoted by Hephaestion, Attilius Fortunatianus (about the fifth century A.D.), and Servius, as an example of Sappho's choriambic tetrameters.


Πάρθενον ἀδύφωνον.

A sweet-voiced maiden.

From Attilius Fortunatianus.



Κατθνάσκει, Κυθέρη', ἄβρος Ἄδωνις, τί κε θεῖμεν·

Καττύπτεσθε κόραι καὶ κατερείκεσθε χίτωνας.

Delicate Adonis is dying, Cytherea; what shall we do? Beat your breasts, maidens, and rend your tunics.

Quoted by Hephaestion, and presumed to be Sappho's from a passage in Pausanias, where he says she learnt the name of the mythological personage Oetolĭnus (as if οἶτος Λίνου, 'the death of Linus'), from the poems of Pamphōs, a mythical poet of Attica earlier than Homer, and so to her Adonis was just like Oetolinus. The Linus-song was a very ancient dirge or lamentation, of which a version (or rather a late rendering, apparently Alexandrian) has been preserved by a Scholiast on Homer (Iliad, xviii. 569), running thus: 'O Linus, honoured by all the gods, for to thee first they gave to sing a song to men in clear sweet sounds; Phoebus in envy slew thee, but the Muses lament thee.' A charming example of what the Linus-song was in the third century B.C., remains for us in Bion's Lament for Adonis.


The dirge was chiefly sung by the Greek peasants at vintage-time, and so may have arisen from a mythical personification of Apollo, as the burning sun of summer suddenly slaying the life and bloom of nature. It is said to have been of Phoenician origin, and to have derived its name from the words ai le nu, 'woe is us,' which may have been the burden of the song. The word αἴλινος, so frequent a refrain in the mournful choral odes of the Greek tragic poets, seems to indicate that the personality of Linus was the invention of a time when the meaning of the burden had been forgotten.


Ὦ τὸν Ἄδωνιν.

Ah for Adonis!

From Marius Plotius, about 600 A.D. It seems to be the refrain of the ode to Adonis. Cf. fr. 108.

Ah for Adonis! So

The virgins cry in woe:

Ah, for the spring, the spring,

And all fleet blossoming.

Michael Field, 1889.



Ἐλθοντ' εξ ὀράνω πορφυρίαν [ἔχοντα] περθέμενον


Coming from heaven wearing a purple mantle.

From heaven he came,

And round him the red chlamys burned like flame.

J. A. Symonds.

He came from heaven in purple mantle clad.

Frederick Tennyson.

Quoted by Pollux, about 180 A.D., who says that Sappho, in her ode to Eros, out of which this verse probably came, was the first to use the word χλαμύς, a short mantle fastened by a brooch on the right shoulder, so as to hang in a curve across the body.


Βροδοπάχεες ἄγναι Χάριτες, δεῦτε Δίος κόραι.

Come, rosy-armed pure Graces, daughters of Zeus.

Theocritus' Idyl 28, On a Distaff, according to the argument prefixed to it, was written in the dialect and metre of this fragment. And {112}Philostrătus, about 220 A.D., says 'Sappho loves the rose, and always crowns it with some praise, likening to it the beauty of her maidens; she likens it also to the arms of the Graces, when she describes their elbows bare.' Cf. fr. 146.


macronmacronmacron Ὀ δ' Ἄρευς φαῖσί κεν Ἄφαιστον ἄγην βίᾳ.

But Ares says he would drag Hephaestus by force.

From Priscian, late in the fifth century A.D.


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron Πόλλα δ' ἀνάριθμα

ποτήρια καλαίφις.

Many thousand cups thou drainest.

Quoted by Athenaeus when descanting on drinking-cups.



Κατθάνοισα δὲ κείσεαι πότα, κωὐ μναμοσύνα σέθεν

ἔσσετ' οὔτε τότ' οὔτ' ὔστερον· οὐ γὰρ πεδέχεις βρόδων

τών ἐκ Πιερίας, ἀλλ' ἀφάνης κἠν Ἀΐδα δόμοις

φοιτάσεις πεδ' ἀμαύρων νεκύων ἐκπεποταμένα.

But thou shalt ever lie dead, nor shall there be any remembrance of thee then or thereafter, for thou hast not of the roses of Pieria; but thou shalt wander obscure even in the house of Hades, flitting among the shadowy dead.

In the cold grave where thou shalt lie

All memory too of thee shall die,

Who in this life's auspicious hours

Disdained Pieria's genial flowers;

And in the mansions of the dead,

With the vile crowd of ghosts, thy shade,

While nobler spirits point with scorn,

Shall flit neglected and forlorn.

? Felton.

Unknown, unheeded, shalt thou die,

And no memorial shall proclaim

That once beneath the upper sky

Thou hadst a being and a name.

For never to the Muses' bowers

Didst thou with glowing heart repair,

Nor ever intertwine the flowers

That fancy strews unnumbered there.

{114}Doom'd o'er that dreary realm, alone,

Shunn'd by the gentler shades, to go,

Nor friend shall soothe, nor parent own

The child of sloth, the Muses' foe.

Rev. R. Bland, 1813.

Thee too the years shall cover; thou shalt be

As the rose born of one same blood with thee,

As a song sung, as a word said, and fall

Flower-wise, and be not any more at all,

Nor any memory of thee anywhere;

For never Muse has bound above thine hair

The high Pierian flowers whose graft outgrows

All Summer kinship of the mortal rose

And colour of deciduous days, nor shed

Reflex and flush of heaven about thine head, etc.

Swinburne, Anactoria.

Woman dead, lie there;

No record of thee

Shall there ever be,

Since thou dost not share

Roses in Pieria grown.

In the deathful cave,

With the feeble troop

Of the folk that droop,

Lurk and flit and crave,

Woman severed and far-flown.

William Cory, 1858.


Thou liest dead, and there will be no memory left behind

Of thee or thine in all the earth, for never didst thou bind

The roses of Pierian streams upon thy brow; thy doom

Is writ to flit with unknown ghosts in cold and nameless gloom.

Edwin Arnold, 1869.

Yea, thou shalt die,

And lie

Dumb in the silent tomb;

Nor of thy name

Shall there be any fame

In ages yet to be or years to come:

For of the flowering Rose,

Which on Pieria blows,

Thou hast no share:

But in sad Hades' house,

Unknown, inglorious,

'Mid the dim shades that wander there

Shalt thou flit forth and haunt the filmy air.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

When thou fallest in death, dead shalt thou lie, nor shall thy memory

Henceforth ever again be heard then or in days to be,

{116}Since no flowers upon earth ever were thine, plucked from Pieria's spring,

Unknown also 'mid hell's shadowy throng thou shalt go wandering.

Anon., Love in Idleness, 1883.

From Stobaeus, about 500 A.D., as addressed to an uneducated woman. Plutarch quotes the fragment as written to a certain rich lady; but in another work he says the crown of roses was assigned to the Muses, for he remembered Sappho's having said to some unpolished and uneducated woman these same words. Aristīdes, about 150 A.D., speaks of Sappho's boastfully saying to some well-to-do woman, 'that the Muses made her blest and worthy of honour, and that she should not die and be forgotten;' though this may refer to fr. 10.


Οὐδ' ἴαν δοκίμοιμι προσίδοισαν φάος ἀλίω

ἔσσεσθαι σοφίαν πάρθενον εἰς οὐδένα πω χρόνον


No one maiden I think shall at any time see the sunlight that shall be as wise as thou.


Methinks no maiden ever

Will live beneath the sun

Who is as wise as thou art,—

Not e'en till Time is done.

Quoted by Chrysippus. It is probably out of the same ode as the preceding.


Τίς δ' ἀγροιῶτίς τοι θέλγει νόον,

οὐκ ἐπισταμένα τὰ βράκε' ἔλκην ἐπὶ τῶν σφύρων;

What country girl bewitches thy heart, who knows not how to draw her dress about her ankles?

What country maiden charms thee,

However fair her face,

Who knows not how to gather

Her dress with artless grace?

Athenaeus, speaking of the care which the ancients bestowed upon dress, says Sappho thus jests upon Andromeda. Three other authors quote the same lines.



Ἤρων ἐξεδίδαξ' εκ Γυάρων τὰν τανυσίδρομον.

I taught Hero of Gyara, the swift runner.

Quoted by Choeroboscus, to show the Aeolic accusative.


macronmacron Ἀλλά τις οὐκ ἔμμι παλιγκότων

οργαν, ἀλλ' ἀβάκην τὰν φρέν' ἔχω macronmacron

I am not of a malignant nature, but have a quiet temper.

Quoted in the Etymologicum Magnum to show the meaning of ἀβάκης, 'childlike, innocent.'


macronmacron Αὐτὰρ ὀραῖαι στεφανηπλόκευν.

But charming [maidens] plaited garlands.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 401, to show that plaiting wreaths was a sign of being in love.



macronmacronmacron Σύ τε κἄμος θεράπων Ἔρος.

Thou and my servant Love.

Quoted by Maximus Tyrius to show that Sappho agreed with Diotima when the latter said to Socrates (Plato, Sympos., p. 328) that Love is not the son, but the attendant and servant, of Aphrodite. Cf. fr. 132.


Ἀλλ' ἔων φίλος ἄμμιν [ἄλλο]

λέχος ἄρνυσο νεώτερον·

οὐ γὰρ τλάσομ' ἔγω ξυνοίκην

νέῳ γ' ἔσσα γεραιτέρα.

But if thou lovest us, choose another and a younger bed-fellow; for I will not brook to live with thee, old woman with young man.

From Stobaeus' Anthology, and Apostolius.



Εὐμορφοτέρα Μνασιδίκα τᾶς ἀπάλας Γυρίννως.

Mnasidica is more shapely than the tender Gyrinno.

Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of metre (cf. p. 24).


Ἀσαροτέρας ὄυδαμ' ἐπ', ὦ ῎ραννα, σέθεν τύχοισα.

Scornfuler than thee, Eranna, have I nowhere found.

Quoted by Hephaestion with the foregoing. The MSS. do not agree; perhaps ὦ ῎ραννα is an adjective, for ὢ ἐρατεινή, O lovely—.



Σὺ δὲ στεφάνοις, ὦ Δίκα, περθέσθ' ἐράταις φόβαισιν,

ὄρπακας ἀνήτοιο συνέρραισ' ἀπαλάισι χέρσιν·

εὐάνθεσιν ἔκ γὰρ πέλεται καὶ χάριτος μακαιρᾶν

μᾶλλον προτέρην· ἀστεφανώτοισι δ' ἀπυστρέφονται.

Do thou, Dica, set garlands round thy lovely hair, twining shoots of dill together with soft hands: for those who have fair flowers may best stand first, even in the favour of Goddesses; who turn their face away from those who lack garlands.

Here, fairest Rhodope, recline,

And 'mid thy bright locks intertwine,

With fingers soft as softest down,

The ever verdant parsley crown.

The Gods are pleased with flowers that bloom

And leaves that shed divine perfume,

But, if ungarlanded, despise

The richest offered sacrifice.

J. H. Merivale.

But place those garlands on thy lovely hair,

Twining the tender sprouts of anise green

With skilful hand; for offerings and flowers

Are pleasing to the Gods, who hate all those

Who come before them with uncrowned heads.

C. D. Yonge.


Of foliage and flowers love-laden

Twine wreaths for thy flowing hair,

With thine own soft fingers, maiden.

Weave garlands of parsley fair;

For flowers are sweet, and the Graces

On suppliants wreathed with may

Look down from their heavenly places,

But turn from the crownless away.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Mr. J. A. Symonds has also thus expanded the lines into a sonnet (1883):—

Bring summer flowers, bring pansy, violet,

Moss-rose and sweet-briar and blue columbine;

Bring loveliest leaves, rathe privet, eglantine,

Brown myrtles with the dews of morning wet:

Twine thou a wreath upon thy brows to set;

With thy soft hands the wayward tendrils twine;

Then place them, maiden, on those curls of thine,

Those curls too fair for gems or coronet.

Sweet is the breath of blossoms, and the Graces,

When suppliants through Love's temple wend their way,

{123}Look down with smiles from their celestial places

On maidens wreathed with chaplets of the may;

But from the crownless choir they hide their faces,

Nor heed them when they sing nor when they pray.

Athenaeus, quoting this fragment, says:—'Sappho gives a more simple reason for our wearing garlands, speaking as follows ... in which lines she enjoins all who offer sacrifice to wear garlands on their heads, as they are beautiful things and acceptable to the Gods.'


Ἐγὼ δὲ φίλημ' ἀβροσύναν, καὶ μοι τὸ λάμπρον

ἔρος macron ἀελίω καὶ τὸ κάλον λέλογχεν.

I love delicacy, and for me Love has the sun's splendour and beauty.

In speaking of perfumes, Athenaeus, quoting Clearchus, says:—'Sappho, being a thorough woman and a poetess besides, was ashamed to separate honour from elegance, and speaks thus ... making it evident to everybody that the desire of life that she confessed had brilliancy and honour in it; and these things especially belong to virtue.'



Κὰμ μέν τε τύλαν κασπολέω.

And down I set the cushion.

Quoted by Herodian, along with fr. 50.


Ὠ πλοῦτος ἄνευ σεῦ γ' ἀρέτα 'στ' οὐκ ἀσίνης πάροικος

[ἤ δ' ἐξ ἀμφοτέρον κρᾶσις εὐδαιμονίας ἔχει τὸ ἄκρον].

Wealth without thee, Worth, is no safe neighbour [but the mixture of both is the height of happiness].

Wealth without virtue is a dangerous guest;

Who holds them mingled is supremely blest.

J. H. Merivale.

From the Scholiast on Pindar. The second line appears to be the gloss of the commentator, though Blass believes it is Sappho's.





Αὔτα δὲ σὺ Καλλιόπα.

And thou thyself, Calliope.

Quoted by Hephaestion when he is analysing a metre invented by Archilochus.


Δαύοις ἀπάλας ἐτάρας

ἐν στήθεσιν macronmacronmacronmacron.

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.



Δεῦρο δηὖτε Μοῖσαι, χρύσιον λίποισαι.

Hither now, Muses, leaving golden ...

Quoted by Hephaestion as an example of a verse made of two Ithyphallics.


Ἔστι μοι κάλα πάϊς, χρυσίοισιν ἀνθέμοισιν

ἐμφέρην ἔχοισα μόρφαν, Κλῆϊσ' ἀγαπάτα,

ἀντί τᾶς ἔγω οὐδὲ Λυδίαν παῖσαν οὐδ' ἔρανναν.

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,

In beauty like the golden sun,

Or like sweet flowers of earliest bloom;

And Claïs is her name, for whom

I Lydia's treasures, were they mine,

Would glad resign.

J. H. Merivale.

A lovely little girl is ours,

Kleïs the beloved,

Kleïs is her name,

Whose beauty is as the golden flowers.

Frederick Tennyson.


Quoted and elaborately scanned by Hephaestion, although Bergk regards the lines as merely trochaic.


Πόλλα μοι τὰν

Πωλυανάκτιδα παῖδα χαῖρην.

All joy to thee, daughter of Polyanax.

From Maximus Tyrius. It seems to be addressed to either Gorgo or Andromeda.




Ζὰ δ' ἐλεξάμαν ὄναρ Κυπρογενήᾳ.

In a dream I spake with the daughter of Cyprus.

I.e. Aphrodite. From Hephaestion.



Τί με Πανδίονις ὦ ῎ραννα χελίδων;

Why, lovely swallow, daughter of Pandīon, [weary] me?

From Hephaestion, who says Sappho wrote whole songs in this metre. Ὦ ῎ραννα is Is. Vossius' emendation; ὠράνα 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?

Thus flitting out and flitting in ...

Tease not the air with this tumultuous wing.

Michael Field, 1889.


... Ἀμφὶ δ' ἄβροις λασίοις εὖ ϝε πύκασσεν.

She wrapped herself well in delicate hairy ...

From Pollux, who says the line refers to fine closely-woven linen.



Γλύκεια μᾶτερ, οὔτοι δύναμαι κρέκην τὸν ἴστον,

πόθῳ δάμεισα παῖδος βραδίναν δι' Αφρόδιταν.

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

In love-sick languor hung her head,

Unknowing where her fingers strayed

She weeping turned away and said—]

'Oh, my sweet mother, 'tis in vain,

I cannot weave as once I wove,

So wildered is my heart and brain

With thinking of that youth I love.'

T. Moore, Evenings in

Greece, p. 18.

Mother, I cannot mind my wheel;

My fingers ache, my lips are dry:

Oh, if you felt the pain I feel!

But oh, who ever felt as I?

W. S. Landor, Simonidea, 1807.

Sweet mother, I can spin no more,

Nor ply the loom as heretofore,

For love of him.

Frederick Tennyson.


Sweet mother, I the web

Can weave no more;

Keen yearning for my love

Subdues me sore,

And tender Aphrodite

Thrills my heart's core.

M. J. Walhouse.

Cf. Mrs. John Hunter's 'My mother bids me bind my hair,' etc.

From Hephaestion, as an example of metre.




Ἴψοι δὴ τὸ μέλαθρον


ἀὲρρετε τέκτοντες ἄνδρες·


γάμβρος ἔρχεται ἶσος Ἄρευϊ,


ἄνδρος μεγάλω πόλυ μείζων·


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!

Ample scope and stately plan—

Mars-like comes the bridegroom nigh,

Loftier than a lofty man.

Anon., Edinb. Rev., 1832, p. 109.

High lift the beams of the chamber,

Workmen, on high;

Like Arés in step comes the Bridegroom;

Like him of the song of Terpander,

Like him in majesty.

F. T. Palgrave, 1854.

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.


Πέρροχος, ὠς ὄτ' ἄοιδος ὀ Λέσβιος ἀλλοδάποισιν.

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.


Οἶον τὸ γλυκύμαλον ἐρεύθεται ἄκρῳ ἐπ' ὔσδῳ

ἄκρον ἐπ' ἀκροτατῳ· λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπηες,

οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ', ἀλλ' οὐκ ἐδύναντ' ἐπίκεσθαι.

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!

As the sweet apple blooms high on the bough,

High as the highest, forgot of the gatherers:

So thou:—

Yet not so: nor forgot of the gatherers;

High o'er their reach in the golden air,

—O sweet—O fair!

F. T. Palgrave, 1854.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Hermogenes, and by others, to explain the word γλυκύμαλον, 'sweet-apple,' an apple grafted on a quince; {133}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 {134}the meadows bloom.' These last words especially—

Ὦ κάλα, ὦ χαρίεσσα.

O fair, O lovely ...

seem taken out of one of Sappho's hymeneal odes, although they also occur in Theocritus, Idyl xviii. 38.


Οἴαν τὰν ὐάκινθον ἐν οὔρεσι ποίμενες ἄνδρες

πόσσι καταστείβοισι, χάμαι δ' ἐπιπορφύρει ἄνθος.

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'

Love; thy own sin slew it, as on the meadow's

Verge declines, un-gently beneath the ploughshare

Stricken, a flower.

(Robinson Ellis.)


And Vergil, Aeneid, ix. 435, of Euryalus dying:—

And like the purple flower the plough cuts down

He droops and dies.

Pines she like to the hyacinth out on the path by the hill top;

Shepherds tread it aside, and its purples lie lost on the herbage.

Edwin Arnold, 1869.

One Girl.

(A combination from Sappho.)


Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost bough,

A-top on the topmost twig,—which the pluckers forgot, somehow,—

Forgot it not, nay, but got it not, for none could get it till now.


Like the wild hyacinth flower which on the hills is found,

Which the passing feet of the shepherds for ever tear and wound,

Until the purple blossom is trodden into the ground.

D. G. Rossetti, 1870;


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.


Ϝέσπερε, πάντα φέρων, ὄσα φαίνολις ἐσκέδασ' αὔως,

φέρεις οἶν, φέρες αἶγα, φέρεις ἄπυ ματέρι παῖδα.

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—

Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,

To the young bird the parent's brooding wings,

The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer;

Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,

Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,

Are gathered round us by thy look of rest;

Thou bring'st the child too to its mother's breast.

Don Juan, iii. 107.


And by Tennyson:—

The ancient poetess singeth, that Hesperus all things bringeth,

Smoothing the wearied mind: bring me my love, Rosalind.

Thou comest morning or even; she cometh not morning or evening.

False-eyed Hesper, unkind, where is my sweet Rosalind?

Leonine Elegiacs, 1830-1884.

Hesperus brings all things back

Which the daylight made us lack,

Brings the sheep and goats to rest,

Brings the baby to the breast.

Edwin Arnold, 1869.

Hesper, thou bringest back again

All that the gaudy daybeams part,

The sheep, the goat, back to their pen,

The child home to his mother's heart.

Frederick Tennyson, 1890.

Evening, all things thou bringest

Which dawn spread apart from each other;

The lamb and the kid thou bringest,

Thou bringest the boy to his mother.

J. A. Symonds, 1883.


Hesper, whom the poet call'd the Bringer home of all good things.

Tennyson, Locksley Hall Sixty Years After, 1886.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, where it is adduced to show the meaning of αὔως, '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.


Ἀϊπάρθενος ἔσσομαι.

I shall be ever maiden.

From a Parisian MS. edited by Cramer, adduced to show the Aeolic form of ἀεί, 'ever.'



Δώσομεν, ησι πάτηρ.

We will give, says the father ...

From a Parisian MS. edited by Cramer.


Θυρώρῳ πόδες ἐπτορόγυιοι,

τὰ δὲ σάμβαλα πεμπεβόηα,

πίσυγγοι δὲ δέκ' ἐξεπόνασαν.

To the doorkeeper feet seven fathoms long, and sandals of five bulls' hides, the work of ten cobblers.

From Hephaestion, as an example of metre. Demetrius says: 'And elsewhere Sappho girds at the rustic bridegroom and the doorkeeper ready for the wedding, in prosaic rather than poetic phrase, as if she were reasoning rather than singing, using words out of harmony with dance and song.'



Ὄλβιε γάμβρε, σοὶ μὲν δὴ γάμος, ὠς ἄραο,

ἐκτετέλεστ', ἔχης δὲ πάρθενον, ἂν ἄραο.

Happy bridegroom, now is thy wedding come to thy desire, and thou hast the maiden of thy desire.

Happy bridegroom, thou art blest

With blisses far beyond the rest,

For thou hast won

The chosen one,

The girl thou lovest best.

Frederick Tennyson.

Quoted by Hephaestion, along with the following, to exemplify metres; both fragments seem to belong to the same ode.


Μελλίχιος δ' ἐπ' ἰμέρτῳ κέχυται προσώπῳ.

And a soft [paleness] is spread over the lovely face.

In the National Library of Madrid there is a MS. of an epithalamium by Choricius, a {141}rhetorician of Gaza, who flourished about 520 A.D., in which the lamented Ch. Graux (Revue de Philologie, 1880, p. 81) found a quotation from Sappho which is partly identical with this fragment preserved by Hephaestion. H. Weil thus attempts to restore the passage:—

Σοὶ χάριεν μὲν εἶδος, ὄππατα δ' macronmacronmacronmacron over breve

μέλλιχρ', ἔρος δ' ἐπ' ἰμέρτῳ

κέχυται προσώπῳ·

macronmacron τετίμακ' ἐξοχά σ' Ἀφροδίτα.

Well favoured is thy form, and thine eyes ... honeyed, and love is spread over thy fair face ... Aphrodite has honoured thee above all.

Two apparent imitations by Catullus are quoted by Weil to confirm his restoration of Sappho's verses; viz., mellitos oculos, honeyed eyes (48, 1), and pulcher es, neque te Venus negligit, fair thou art, nor does Venus neglect thee (61, 194).


Ὀ μὲν γὰρ κάλος, ὄσσον ἴδην, πέλεται [ἄγαθος],

ὀ δὲ κἄγαθος αὔτικα καὶ κάλος ἔσσεται.

He who is fair to look upon is [good], and he who is good will soon be fair also.


Beauty, fair flower, upon the surface lies;

But worth with beauty e'en in aspect vies.

? Felton.

Galen, the physician, writing about 160 A.D., says: 'It is better therefore, knowing that the beauty of youth is like Spring flowers, its pleasure lasting but a little while, to approve of what the Lesbian [here] says, and to believe Solon when he points out the same.'


Ἦρ' ἔτι παρθενίας ἐπιβάλλομαι;

Do I still long for maidenhood?

Quoted by Apollonius, and by the Scholiast on Dionysius of Thrace, to illustrate the interrogative particle ἆρα, Aeolic ἦρα, and as an example of the catalectic iambic.


Χαίροισα νύμφα, χαιρέτω δ' ὀ γάμβρος.

The bride [comes] rejoicing; let the bridegroom rejoice.

From Hephaestion, as a catalectic iambic.



Τίῳ σ', ὦ φίλε γάμβρε, κάλως ἐϊκάσδω;

ὄρπακι βραδίνῳ σε κάλιστ' ἐϊκάσδω.

Whereunto may I well liken thee, dear bridegroom? To a soft shoot may I best liken thee.

From Hephaestion, as an example of metre.


... Χαῖρε, νύμφα,

χαῖρε, τίμιε γάμβρε, πόλλα.

Hail, bride! noble bridegroom, all hail!

Quoted by Servius, about 390 A.D., on Vergil, Georg. i. 31; also referred to by Pollux and Julian.



Οὐ γαρ ἦν ἀτέρα πάϊς, ὦ γάμβρε, τοιαύτα.

For there was no other girl, O bridegroom, like her.

From Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

107, 108

Ἐσπετ' ᾿Υμήναον.

Ὦ τὸν Ἀδώνιον.

Sing Hymenaeus!

Ah for Adonis!

From Plotius, about the fifth or sixth century A.D., to show the metre of Sappho's hymeneal odes. The text is corrupt; the first verse is thus emended by Bergk, the second by Scaliger. Cf. fr. 63.



A. Παρθενία, παρθενία, ποῖ με λίποισ' ἀποίχῃ;

B. Οὐκέτι ἥξω πρὸς σε, οὐκέτι ἥξω.

A. Maidenhood, maidenhood, whither art thou gone away from me?

B. Never again will I come to thee, never again.

'Sweet Rose of May, sweet Rose of May,

Whither, ah whither fled away?'

'What's gone no time can e'er restore—

I come no more, I come no more.'

J. H. Merivale.

From Demetrius, who quoted the fragment to show the grace of Sappho's style and the beauty of repetition.


Ἄλλαν μὴ καμεστέραν φρένα.

Fool, faint not thou in thy strong heart.

From a very corrupt passage in Herodian. The translation is from Bergk's former emendation—

Ἄλλα μὴ κάμε τὺ στερέαν φρένα.



Φαίνεταί ϝοι κῆνος.

To himself he seems ...

From Apollonius, to show that the Aeolians used the digamma, ϝ. Bergk says this fragment does not belong to fr. 2.


Ὠΐω πόλυ λευκότερον.

Much whiter than an egg.

From Athenaeus; cf. frs. 56 and 122.


Μήτ' ἔμοι μέλι μήτε μέλισσα

Neither honey nor bee for me.

A proverb quoted by many late authors, referring to those who wish for good unmixed with evil. They seem to be the words of the bride. This, and the second line of fr. 62, and {147}many other verses, show Sappho's fondness for alliteration; frs. 4 and 5, among several others, show that she did not ignore the charm of assonance.


Μὴ κίνη χέραδας.

Stir not the shingle.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius to show that χεράδες were 'little heaps of stones.'


Ὄπταις ἄμμε.

Thou burnest us.

Compare Swinburne's—

My life is bitter with thy love; thine eyes

Blind me, thy tresses burn me, thy sharp sighs

Divide my flesh and spirit with soft sound, etc.


Quoted by Apollonius to show the Aeolic form of ἡμᾶς, 'us.'



Ἠμιτύβιον σταλάσσον.

A napkin dripping.

From the Scholiast on Aristophanes' Plutus, quoted to show the meaning of ἡμιτύβιον, 'a half worn out shred of linen with which to wipe the hands.'


Τὸν ϝὸν παῖδα κάλει.

She called him her son.

Quoted by Apollonius to show the Aeolic use of the digamma.




All three are preserved only in the Greek Anthology. The authenticity of the last, fr. 120, is doubtful. To none of them does Bergk restore the form of the Aeolic dialect.


Παῖδες, ἄφωνος ἐοῖσα τόδ' ἐννεπω, αἴ τις ἔρηται,

φωνὰν ἀκαμάταν κατθεμένα πρὸ ποδῶν·

Αἰθοπίᾳ με κόρᾳ Λατοῦς ἀνέθηκεν Ἀρίστα

Ἑρμοκλειδαία τῶ Σαοναϊάδα,

σὰ πρόπολος, δέσποινα γυναικῶν· ᾇ σὺ χαρεῖσα

πρόφρων ἁμετέραν εὐκλέϊσον γενεάν.

Maidens, dumb as I am, I speak thus, if any ask, and set before your feet a tireless voice: To Leto's daughter Aethopia was I dedicated by Arista daughter of Hermocleides son of Saonaïades, thy servant, O queen of women; whom bless thou, and deign to glorify our house.


On a Priestess of Diana.

Does any ask? I answer from the dead;

A voice that lives is graven o'er my head:

To dark-eyed Dian, ere my days begun,

Aristo vowed me, wife of Saon's son:

Then hear thy priestess, hear, O virgin Power,

And thy best gifts on Saon's lineage shower.


The goddess here invoked as the 'queen of women' appears to have been Artĕmis, the Diana of the Romans.


Τιμάδος ἅδε κόνις, τὰν δὴ πρὸ γάμοιο θανοῦσαν

δέξατο Φερσεφόνας κυάνεος θάλαμος,

ἇς καὶ ἀποφθιμένας πᾶσαι νεοθᾶγι σιδάρῳ

ἄλικες ἱμερτὰν κρατὸς ἔθεντο κόμαν.

This is the dust of Timas, whom Persephone's dark chamber received, dead before her wedding; when she perished, all her fellows dressed with sharpened steel the lovely tresses of their heads.


This dust was Timas'; ere her bridal hour

She lies in Proserpina's gloomy bower;

Her virgin playmates from each lovely head

Cut with sharp steel their locks, their strewments for the dead.

Sir Charles A. Elton.

This is the dust of Timas, whom unwed

Persephone locked in her darksome bed:

For her the maids who were her fellows shore

Their curls, and to her tomb this tribute bore.

J. A. Symonds.


Τῷ γριπεῖ Πελάγωνι πατὴρ ἐπέθηκε Μενίσκος

κύρτον καὶ κώπαν, μνάμα κακοζοΐας.

Over the fisherman Pelagon his father Meniscus set weel and oar, memorial of a luckless life.

On a Fisherman.

This oar and net and fisher's wickered snare

Meniscus placed above his buried son—

Memorials of the lot in life he bare,

The hard and needy life of Pelagon.

Sir Charles A. Elton.


Here, to the fisher Pelagon, his sire Meniscus laid

A wicker-net and oar, to show his weary life and trade.

Lord Neaves.

Above a fisher's tomb

Were set his withy-basket and his oar,

The tokens of his doom,

Of how in life his labour had been sore:

A father put them up above his son,

Meniscus over luckless Pelagon.

Michael Field, 1889.

Bergk sees no reason to accept the voice of tradition in attributing this epigram to Sappho.




Athenaeus says:—

'It is something natural that people who fancy themselves beautiful and elegant should be fond of flowers; on which account the companions of Persephone are represented as gathering flowers. And Sappho says she saw—

ἄνθε' αμέργουσαν παῖδ' ἄγαν ἁπαλάν,

'A maiden full tender plucking flowers.'


122, 123

Πόλυ πάκτιδος ἀδυμελεστέρα, χρύσω χρυσοτέρα.

Far sweeter of tone than harp, more golden than gold.

Quoted by Demetrius as an example of hyperbolic phrase. A commentator on Hermogenes the rhetorician says: 'These things basely flatter the ear, like the erotic phrases which Anacreon and Sappho use, γάλακτος λευκοτέρα whiter than milk, ὕδατος ἁπαλωτέρα fresher than water, πηκτίδων ἐμμελεστέρα more musical than the harp, ἵππου γαυροτέρα more skittish than a horse, ῥόδων ἁβροτέρα more delicate than the rose, ἱματίου ἑανοῦ μαλακωτέρα softer than a fine robe, χρυσοῦ τιμιωτέρα more precious than gold.'


Demetrius says:—

'Wherefore also Sappho is eloquent and sweet when she sings of Beauty, and of Love and Spring and the Kingfisher; and every beautiful expression is woven into her poetry, besides what she herself invented.'



Maximus Tyrius says:—

'Diotima says that Love flourishes in prosperity, but dies in adversity; a sentiment which Sappho comprehends when she calls Love γλυκίπικρος bitter-sweet [cf. fr. 40] and ἀλγεσίδωρος giver of pain. Socrates calls Love the wizard, Sappho μυθοπλόκος the weaver of fictions.'


Τὸ μέλημα τοὐμόν.

My darling.

Quoted by Julian, and by Theodoras Hyrtacenus in the twelfth century A.D., as of 'the wise Sappho.' Bergk says Sappho would have written τὸ μέλημα ὦμον in her own dialect.



Aristides says:—

Το γάνος the brightness standing over the whole city, οὐ διαφθεῖρον τὰς ὄψεις not destroying the sight, as Sappho says, but developing at once and crowning and watering with cheerfulness; in no way ὑακινθίνω ἄνθει ὅμοιον like a hyacinth-flower, but such as earth and sun never yet showed to men.'


Pollux writes:—

'Anacreon ... says they are crowned also with dill, as both Sappho [cf. fr. 78] and Alcaeus say; though these also say σελίνοις with parsley.'



Philostratus says:—

'Thus contend [the maidens] ῥοδοπήχεις καὶ ἑλικώπιδες καὶ καλλιπάρῃοι καὶ μελίφωνοι with rosy arms and glancing eyes and fair cheeks and honeyed voices—this indeed is Sappho's sweet salutation.'

And Aristaenĕtus:—

'Before the porch the most musical and μειλιχόφωνοι soft-voiced of the maidens sang the hymeneal song; this indeed is Sappho's sweetest utterance.'

Antipater of Sidon, Anthol. Pal. ix. 66, and others, call Sappho sweet-voiced.


Libanius the rhetorician, about the fourth century A.D., says:—

'If therefore nought prevented Sappho the Lesbian from praying νύκτα αὐτῇ γενέσθαι διπλασίαν that the night might be doubled for her, let me also ask for something similar. Time, father of {157}year and months, stretch out this very year for us as far as may be, as, when Herakles was born, thou didst prolong the night.'

Bergk thinks that Sappho probably prayed for νύκτα τριπλασίαν a night thrice as long as an ordinary night, in reference to the myth of Jupiter and Alcmene, the mother of Hercules.


Strabo says:—

'A hundred furlongs further (from Elaea, a city in Aeolis) is Cané, the promontory opposite to Lectum, and forming the Gulf of Adramyttium, of which the Elaïtic Gulf is a part. Canae is a small city of the Locrians of Cynus, over against the most southerly extremity of Lesbos, situated in the Canaean territory, which extends to Arginusae and the overhanging cliff which some call Aega, as if "a goat," but the second syllable should be pronounced long, Aegā, like ἀκτά and ἀρχά, for this was the name of the whole mountain which at present is called Cané or Canae ... and the promontory itself seems afterwards to have been called Aega, as Sappho says the rest Canē or Canae.'



The Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius says:—

'Apollonius calls Love the son of Aphrodite, Sappho of Earth and Heaven.'

But the Argument prefixed to Theocritus, Idyl xiii., says:—

'Sappho called Love the child of Aphrodite and Heaven.'

And Pausanias, about 180 A.D., says:—

'On Love Sappho the Lesbian sang many things which do not agree with one another.' Cf. fr. 74.


Himerius says:—

'Thou art, I think, an evening-star, of all stars the fairest: this is Sappho's song to Hesperus.' And again: 'Now thou didst appear like that fairest of all stars; for the Athenians call thee Hesperus.'

Bergk thinks Sappho's line ran thus:—

Ἀστέρων πάντων ὁ κάλιστος ...

Of all stars the fairest.


Elsewhere Himerius refers to what seems an imitation of Sappho, and says: 'If an ode had been wanted, I should have given him such an ode as this—

Νύμφα ῥοδέων ἐρώτων βρύουσα, Νύμφα Παφίης ἄγαλμα κάλλιστον, ἴθι πρὸς εὐνήν, ἴθι πρὸς λέχος μείλιχα παίζουσα, γλυκεῖα νυμφίῳ· Ἕσπερος σ' ἑκοῦσαν ἄγοι, ἀργυρόθρονον ζυγίαν Ἥραν θαυμάζουσαν.'

Bride teeming with rosy loves, bride, fairest image of the goddess of Paphos, go to the couch, go to the bed, softly sporting, sweet to the bridegroom. May Hesperus lead thee rejoicing, honouring Hera of the silver throne, goddess of marriage.

Bride, in whose breast haunt rosy loves!

Bride, fairest of the Paphian groves!

Hence, to thy marriage rise, and go!

Hence, to thy bed, where thou shalt show

With honeyed play thy wedded charms,

Thy sweetness in the bridegroom's arms!

Let Hesper lead thee forth, a wife,

Willing and worshipping for life,

The silver-throned, the wedlock dame,

Queen Hera, wanton without shame!

J. A. Symonds, 1883.



The Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius says:—

'The story of the love of Selēnē is told by Sappho, and by Nicander in the second book of his Europa; and it is said that Selene came to Endymion in the same cave' (on Mount Latmus in Caria).


The Scholiast on Hesiod, Op. et D., 74, says:—

'Sappho calls Persuasion Ἀφροδίτης θυγατέρα Daughter of Aphrodite.' Cf. fr. 141.


Maximus Tyrius says:—

'Socrates blames Xanthippe for lamenting his death, as Sappho blames her daughter—

Οὐ γὰρ θέμις ἐν μουσοπόλων οἰκίᾳ θρήνον εἶναι· οὐκ ἄμμι πρέπει τάδε.

For lamentation may not be in a poet's house: such things befit not us.'

In the home of the Muses 'tis bootless to mourn.

Frederick Tennyson.



Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, ii. 23, writes:—

ἢ ὥσπερ Σαπφώ, ὅτι το ἀποθνήσκειν κακόν· οἱ θεοὶ γὰρ οὕτω κεκρίκασιν· ἀπέθνησκον γὰρ ἄν.

Gregory, commenting on Hermogenes, also quotes the same saying:—

οἷον φησιν ἡ Σαπφώ, ὅτι τὸ ἀποθνήσκειν κακόν· οἱ θεοὶ γὰρ οὕτω κεκρίκασιν· ἀπέθνησκον γὰρ ἄν, εἴπερ ἦν καλὸν τὸ ἀποθνήσκειν.

Several attempts have been made to restore these words to a metrical form, and this of Hartung's appears to be the simplest:—

Τὸ θνάσκειν κακόν· οὕτω κεκρίκασι θεοί·

ἔθνασκον γὰρ ἄν εἴπερ κάλον ἦν τόδε.

Death is evil; the Gods have so judged: had it been good, they would die.

The preceding fragment (136) seems to have formed part of the same ode as the present. Perhaps it was this ode, which Sappho sent to her daughter forbidding her to lament her mother's death, that Solon is said to have so highly praised. The story is quoted from Aelian {162}by Stobaeus thus: 'Solon the Athenian [who died about 558 B.C.], son of Execestĭdes, on his nephew's singing an ode of Sappho's over their wine, was pleased with it, and bade the boy teach it him; and when some one asked why he took the trouble, he said, ἵνα μαθὼν αὐτὸ ἄποθανω. 'That I may not die before I have learned it.'


Athenaeus says:—

'Naucratis has produced some celebrated courtesans of exceeding beauty; as Dōricha, who was beloved by Charaxus, brother of the beautiful Sappho, when he went to Naucratis on business, and whom she accuses in her poetry of having robbed him of much. Herodotus calls her Rhodōpis, not knowing that Rhodopis was different from the Doricha who dedicated the famous spits at Delphi.'

Herodotus, about 440 B.C., said:—

'Rhodopis came to Egypt with Xanthes of Samos; and having come to make money, she was ransomed for a large sum by Charaxus of Mitylene, son of Scamandronymus and brother {163}of Sappho the poetess. Thus Rhodopis was made free, and continued in Egypt, and being very lovely acquired great riches for a Rhodopis, though no way sufficient to erect such a pyramid [as Mycerīnus'] with. For as any one who wishes may to this day see the tenth of her wealth, there is no need to attribute any great wealth to her. For Rhodopis was desirous of leaving a monument to herself in Greece, and having had such a work made as no one ever yet devised and dedicated in a temple, to offer it at Delphi as a memorial of herself: having therefore made from the tenth of her wealth a great number of iron spits for roasting oxen, as far as the tenth allowed, she sent them to Delphi; and they are still piled up behind the altar which the Chians dedicated, and opposite the temple itself. The courtesans of Naucratis are generally very lovely: for in the first place this one, of whom this account is given, became so famous that all the Greeks became familiar with the name Rhodopis; and in the next place, after her another whose name was Archidĭce became celebrated throughout Greece, though less talked about than the former. As for Charaxus, after ransoming Rhodopis he returned to Mitylene, where Sappho ridiculed him bitterly in an ode.'


And Strabo:—

'It is said that the tomb of the courtesan was erected by her lovers: Sappho the lyric poet calls her Dōricha. She was beloved by Sappho's brother Charaxus, who traded to the port of Naucratis with Lesbian wine. Others call her Rhodopis.'

And another writer (Appendix Prov., iv. 51) says:—

'The beautiful courtesan Rhodopis, whom Sappho and Herodotus commemorate, was of Naucratis in Egypt.'


Athenaeus says:—

'The beautiful Sappho in several places celebrates her brother, Larĭchus, as cup-bearer to the Mitylenaeans in the town-hall.'

The Scholiast on the Iliad, xx. 234, says:—

'It was the custom, as Sappho also says, for well-born and beautiful youths to pour out wine.'

Cf. fr. 5.



Palaephătus, probably an Alexandrian Greek, says:—

'Phaon gained his livelihood by a boat and the sea; the sea was crossed by a ferry; and no complaint was made by any one, since he was just, and only took from those who had means. He was a wonder among the Lesbians for his character. The goddess—they call Aphrodite "the goddess"—commends the man, and having put on the appearance of a woman now grown old, asks Phaon about sailing; he was swift to wait on her and carry her across and demand nothing. What thereupon does the goddess do? They say she transformed the man and restored him to youth and beauty. This is that Phaon, her love for whom Sappho several times made into a song.'

The story is repeated by many writers. Cf. fr. 29.


[Fr. 141 now appears as fr. 57A, q.v.]



Pausanias says:—

'Yet that gold does not contract rust the Lesbian poetess is a witness, and gold itself shows it.'

And the Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth., iv. 407:—

'But gold is indestructible; and so says Sappho,

Διὸς παῖς ὁ χρυσός, κείνον οὐ σης οὐδε κὶς δάπτει,

Gold is son of Zeus, no moth nor worm devours it.'

Sappho's own phrase is lost.


Aulus Gellius, about 160 A.D., writes:—

'Homer says Niobe had six sons and six daughters, Euripides seven of each, Sappho nine, Bacchylides and Pindar ten.'

Cf. fr. 31, the only line extant from the ode here referred to.



Servius, commenting on Vergil, Aeneid, vi. 21, says:—

'Some would have it believed that Theseus rescued along with himself seven boys and seven maidens, as Plato says in his Phaedo, and Sappho in her lyrics, and Bacchylides in his dithyrambics, and Euripides in his Hercules.'

No such passage from Sappho has been preserved.


Servius, commenting on Vergil, Eclog., vi. 42, says:—

'Prometheus, son of Iapĕtus and Clymĕne, after he had created man, is said to have ascended to heaven by help of Minerva, and having applied a small torch [or perhaps 'wand'] to the sun's wheel, he stole fire and showed it to men. The Gods being angered hereby sent two evils upon the earth, fevers and disease [the text is here obviously corrupt; it ought to be 'women and disease' or 'fevers and women'], as Sappho and Hesiod tell.'



Philostratus says:—

'Sappho loves the Rose, and always crowns it with some praise, likening beautiful maidens to it.'

This remark seems to have led some of the earlier collectors of Sappho's fragments to include the 'pleasing song in commendation of the Rose' quoted by Achilles Tatius in his love-story Clitophon and Leucippe, but there is no reason to attribute it to Sappho. Mrs. E. B. Browning thus translated it:—

Song of the Rose.

If Zeus chose us a king of the flowers in his mirth,

He would call to the Rose and would royally crown it,

For the Rose, ho, the Rose, is the grace of the earth,

Is the light of the plants that are growing upon it.

{169}For the Rose, ho, the Rose, is the eye of the flowers,

Is the blush of the meadows that feel themselves fair—

Is the lightning of beauty that strikes through the bowers

On pale lovers who sit in the glow unaware.

Ho, the Rose breathes of love! Ho, the Rose lifts the cup

To the red lips of Cypris invoked for a guest!

Ho, the Rose, having curled its sweet leaves for the world,

Takes delight in the motion its petals keep up,

As they laugh to the wind as it laughs from the west!

And Mr. J. A. Symonds (1883):—

The Praise of Roses.

If Zeus had willed it so

That o'er the flowers one flower should reign a queen,

I know, ah well I know

The rose, the rose, that royal flower had been!

She is of earth the gem,

Of flowers the diadem;

And with her flush

The meadows blush:

{170}Nay, she is beauty's self that brightens

In Summer, when the warm air lightens!

Her breath's the breath of Love,

Wherewith he lures the dove

Of the fair Cyprian queen;

Her petals are a screen

Of pink and quivering green,

For Cupid when he sleeps,

Or for mild Zephyrus, who laughs and weeps.

'Sappho loves flowers with a personal sympathy,' writes Professor F. T. Palgrave. "Cretan girls," she says, "with their soft feet dancing lay flat the tender bloom of the grass" [fr. 54]: she feels for the hyacinth "which shepherds on the mountain tread under foot, and the purple flower is on the ground" [fr. 94]: she pities the wood-doves (apparently) as their "life grows cold and their wings fall" before the archer' [fr. 16].


Himerius says:—

'These gifts of yours must now be likened to those of the leader of the Muses himself, as Sappho and Pindar, in an ode, adorn him with {171}golden hair and lyres, and attend him with a team of swans to Helicon while he dances with Muses and Graces; or as poets inspired by the Muses crown the Bacchanal (for thus the lyre calls him, meaning Dionȳsos), when Spring has just flashed out for the first time, with Spring flowers and ivy-clusters, and lead him, now to the topmost heights of Caucasus and vales of Lydia, now to the cliffs of Parnassus and the rock of Delphi, while he leaps and gives his female followers the note for the Evian tune.'


Eustathius says:—

'There is, we see, a vagabond friendship, as Sappho would say, καλὸν δημόσιον, a public blessing.'

This appears to have been said against Rhodopis. Cf. fr. 138.


The Lexicon Seguerianum defines—

'Ἄκακος one who has no experience of ill, not, one who is good-natured. So Sappho uses the word.'



The Etymologicum Magnum defines—

Ἀμαμαξύς a vine trained on long poles, and says Sappho makes the plural ἀμαμάξυδες. So Choeroboscus, late in the sixth century A.D., says 'the occurrence of the genitive ἀμαμαξύδος [the usual form being ἀμαμάξυος] in Sappho is strange.'


The Etymologicum Magnum says of Ἀμάρα, a trench for watering meadows, 'because it is raised by a water-bucket, ἄμη being a mason's instrument'—that it is a word Sappho seems to have used; and Orion, about the fifth century A.D., also explains the word similarly, and says Sappho used it.



Apollonius says:—

'And in this way metaplasms of words [i.e., tenses or cases formed from non-existent presents or nominatives] arise, like ἐρυσάρματες [chariot-drawing], λῖτα [cloths], and in Sappho τὸ αὔα, Dawn.'

And the Etymologicum Magnum says:—

'We find παρὰ τὴν αὔαν [during the morning] in Aeolic, for "during the day."'


The Etymologicum Magnum says:—

'Αὔως or ἠώς, that is, the day; thus we read in Aeolic. Sappho has—

πότνια αὔως,

Queen Dawn.'

The solemn Dawn.

Frederick Tennyson.



Athenaeus says:—

'The βάρωμος [baromos] and σάρβιτος [sarbĭtos], both of which are mentioned by Sappho and Anacreon, and the Magădis and the Triangles and the Sambūcae, are all ancient instruments.'

Athenaeus in another place, apparently more correctly, gives the name of the first as βάρμος [barmos].

What these instruments precisely were is unknown. Cf. p. 46.


Pollux says:—

'Sappho used the word βεῦδος for a woman's dress, a kimberĭcon, a kind of short transparent frock.'



Phrynĭchus the grammarian, about 180 A.D., says:—

'Sappho calls a woman's dressing-case, where she keeps her scents and such things, γρύτη.'


Hesychius, about 370 A.D., says Sappho called Zeus Ἕκτωρ, Hector, i.e. 'holding fast.'


A Parisian MS. edited by Cramer says:—

'Among the Aeolians ζ is used for δ, as when Sappho says ζάβατον for διάβατον, fordable.'



A Scholiast on Homer quotes ἀγαγοίην, may I lead, from Sappho.


Eustathius, commenting on the Iliad, quotes the grammarian Aristophanes [about 260 B.C.] saying that Sappho calls a wind that is as if twisted up and descending, a cyclone, ἄνεμον κατάρη, a wind rushing from above.

Nauck would restore the epithet to verse 2 of fr. 42.


Choeroboscus says:—

'Sappho makes the accusative of κίνδυνος danger κίνδυν.'

Another writer, in the Codex Marc., says:—

'Sappho makes the accusative κίνδυνα.'



Joannes Alexandrinus, about the seventh century A.D., says:—

'The acute accent falls either on the last syllable or the last but one or the last but two, but never on the last but three; the accent of Μήδεϊα [Medeia the sorceress, wife of Jason] in Sappho is allowed by supposing the ει to form a diphthong.'


An unknown author, in Antiatticista, says:—

'Sappho, in her second book, calls σμίρνα myrrh μύρρα.'


A treatise on grammar edited by Cramer says:—

'The genitive plural of Μοῦσα is Μωσάων among the Laconians, Μοισάων of the Muses in Sappho.'



Phrynichus says:—

Νίτρον natron (carbonate of soda) is the form 'an Aeolian would use, such as Sappho, with a ν; but,' he goes on, 'an Athenian would spell it with a λ, λίτρον.'


A Scholiast on Homer, Iliad, iii. 219, says:—

'Sappho said πολυΐδριδι of much knowledge as the dative of πολύϊδρις.'


Photius, in his Lexicon, about the ninth century A.D., says:—

'Θάψος is a wood with which they dye wool and hair yellow, which Sappho calls Σκυθικόν ξύλον Scythian wood.'


And the Scholiast on Theocritus, Idyl ii. 88, says:—

'Θάψος is a kind of wood which is also called σκυθάριον or Scythian wood, as Sappho says; and in this they dip fleeces and make them of a quince-yellow, and dye their hair yellow; among us it is called χρυσόξυλον gold-wood.'

Ahrens thinks that here the Scholiast quoted Sappho, and he thus restores the verses:—

macronmacronmacron Ζκύθικον ξύλον,

τῷ βάπτοισί τε τἤρια

ποΐεισι δὲ μάλινα

ξανθίσδοισί τε τὰς τρίχας.

Scythian wood, in which they dip fleeces and make them quince-coloured, and dye their hair yellow.

Thapsus may have been box-wood, but it is quite uncertain.


The Etymologicum Magnum says:—

'The Aeolians say Τίοισιν ὀφθάλμοισιν with what eyes ... [using τίοισι for τίσι, the dative plural of τίς] as Sappho does.'



Orion of Thebes, the grammarian, about 450 A.D., says:—

'In Sappho χελώνη is χελύνη a tortoise'; which is better written χελύνα, or rather χέλυνα, as other writers imply.


Pollux says:—

'Bowls with a boss in the middle are called βαλανειόμφαλοι, circular-bottomed, from their shape, χρυσόμφαλοι, gold-bottomed, from the material, like Sappho's χρυσαστράγαλοι, with golden ankles.'

Some few other fragments are attributed to Sappho, but Bergk admits none as genuine. Above is to be seen every word which he considered hers. An account of some which have recently been brought to light is given on the succeeding pages.



In the Egyptian Museum at Berlin there are some ancient manuscripts which were bought in the summer of 1879, and which are believed to have come from Medînet-el-Fayûm in Central Egypt, near the ancient Arsinoë or Crocodilopolis. A tiny scrap of parchment among these was deciphered by Professor F. Blass of Kiel, and described by him with much minuteness in the Rheinisches Museum for 1880, vol. xxxv. pp. 287-290. Through the kindness of Dr. Erman, the Director of the Museum, and Professor of Egyptian Archæology in the University, I have been favoured with photographs of each side of this piece of parchment, exactly the size of the original. These have been reproduced in facsimile by the Autotype Company upon the accompanying plate. Some of the minutiæ of the manuscript are lost in the copy, but it gives a fair general idea of the precious relic, and exhibits the manner in which it has been torn and perforated and defaced. It also shows some of the difficulties with which those who decipher {182}ancient manuscripts have to contend. Few, at the first glance, would guess how much could be made out of so little.

The letters on each side of the parchment are clearly written, punctuated, and accented. They appear to belong to the eighth century A.D., so that the writing is at least a thousand years old. The actual letters are these, those which are not decipherable with certainty being marked off by brackets:—

(A.) δωσην (B.) θεθυμομ
ύτωνμέντ' επ μιπάμπαν
άλων κἄσλων· (σ δύναμαι
· λοις. λυτης τε μ
5 μ' ονειδος 5 ασκενῆμοι
οιδήσαις. επι τ (α ς) αντιλάμπην
ἰα(νἄσαιο. το γαρ λονπροσωπον
μ) ονουκ' ούτω (μ
διάκηται· γχροΐσθεις
10 μ (ηδ 10     ... (ρος

The two fragments, distinguished by Blass as A. and B., occur, the one on the front, the other on the back of the scrap of parchment. They were edited by Bergk, in the fourth (posthumous) edition of his Poetae Lyrici Graeci, 1882, vol. iii. pp. 704, 705. Blass ascribed the verses to Sappho, and he is still of opinion that they are hers, from the metre, the dialect, and 'the colour of the diction,' to use his own expression in a letter to me.

Fragment A
Fragment A

Indeed, every word of them makes one feel that no poet or poetess save Sappho could have so exquisitely combined simplicity and beauty. Bergk, however, prints them as of uncertain origin, fragmenta adespota (56 A., 56 B). He agrees with Blass that they are in the Lesbian dialect and the Sapphic metre, but he thinks that they may have been written by Alcaeus. Bergk's decision partly rests upon the statement of Suidas, that Horapollo, the Greek grammarian, who first taught at Alexandria and afterwards at Constantinople, in the reign of Theodosius, about 400 A.D., wrote a commentary on Alcaeus; but he gives no reason for believing that these Fayum manuscripts necessarily come from Alexandria: their history is very uncertain. Blass thinks that the greater fame, especially in later times, of Sappho, strongly favours his own view. To my mind there is little doubt that we have herein none but her very words.

A restoration of such imperfect fragments must needs be guess-work. Bergk has, however, attempted it in part, and he has accepted the emendations of Blass in lines 3-5 of fragment A. Bücheler, one of the editors of the Rheinisches Museum, has also expressed his views with regard to some of the lines; but {185}they are not endorsed by the authority of Bergk. According to the latter distinguished scholar, fragment A may have run thus:—


macronmacronmacronmacronmacron δοκίμοις χάριν μοι οὐκ ἀπυδώσην·

macron κλύτων μέν τ' ἐπτερύγης macronmacronmacron

macron κάλων κἄσλων macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron

φίλοις, λύπης τέ με κἀπορίπτης


εἰς εμ' ὄνειδος.

ἦ κεν οἰδήσαις, ἐπί τ' αἶγ' ἀμέλγων

Σκυρίαν ἄσαιο· τὸ γαρ νόημα

τὦμον οὐκ οὔτω μαλακόφρον, ἔχθρως

τοῖς διάκηται.


macronmacron μηδ' macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron

In which case it might have had this meaning:—

Thou seemest not to care to return my favour; and indeed thou didst fly away from famous ... of the fair and noble ... to thy friends, and painest me, and castest reproach at me. Truly thou mayst swell, and sate thyself with milking a goat of Scyros. For my mood is not so soft-hearted to those soever to whom it is disposed unfriendly ... nor ....

The words which are here italicised are those which alone are extant in full in the manuscript; the others are only plausible guesses, though some of them are indicated by the existence of accents and portions of letters.


Bergk's ingenious restoration of lines 6 and 7 is founded on a fragment of Alcaeus (fr. 110), wherein Chrysippus explains αἴξ Σκυρία, a goat of Scyros, as a proverb of those who spoil kindness (ἐπὶ τῶν τὰς εὐεργεσίας ἀνατρεπόντων), as a goat upsets her milking pail (ἐπειδὴ πολλάκις τὰ ἀγγεῖα ἀνατρέπει ἡ αἴξ). Blass would, however, complete the phrase thus:—

ἐπὶ τ (ᾷ τε λώβᾳ

καρδ) ίαν ἄσαιο,

And with the outrage sate thy heart.

Disappointing as this is, the restoration of fragment B. is yet more hopeless. Authorities are agreed as to the position of the words in the Sapphic stanza, thus:—

macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron θε θῦμον

macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron μι πάμπαν

macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron δύναμαι



macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron ἆς κεν ἦ μοι

macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron ἀντιλάμπην

macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron κά) λον πρόσωπον


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron συ) γχροΐσθεις


macronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacronmacron ἔται) ρος.

The only additions hazarded by Bergk, or accepted by him from Blass, are given on the left of the brackets. Bergk says that δύναμαι (as if macronmacronmacron; cf. fr. 13) is an old form of the {187}conjunctive for δύνωμαι. He reads line 5, ἆς κεν ἦ μοι, comparing Theocritus, 29, 20, ἆς κεν ἔρης, 'as long as thou lovest': Bergk and Blass alike consider as a later form of . The words may mean:

... soul ... altogether ... I should be able ... as long indeed as to me ... to flash back ... fair face ... stained over ... friend.

But in the absence of any context the very meaning of the separate words is uncertain.

Bergk thinks that the fragments belong to different poems, unless we read fragment A. after fragment B.; there is nothing on the parchment to indicate sequence.

In fragment B. it will be seen that a space occurs in each place where the last (or Adonic) verses of each Sapphic stanza would have been, as if they had been written more to the left in the manuscript; they probably therefore ranged with the long lines, of which we have only some of the last syllables preserved. Indenting the shorter verses is a modern fashion; the ancient way was to begin each one at the same distance from the margin.




Say, lovely youth that dost my heart command,

Can Phaon's eyes forget his Sappho's hand?

Must then her name the wretched writer prove,

To thy remembrance lost as to thy love?

Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose,

The lute neglected and the lyric Muse:

Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow,

And tuned my heart to elegies of woe.

I burn, I burn, as when through ripened corn

By driving winds the spreading flames are borne.

Phaon to Aetna's scorching fields retires,

While I consume with more than Aetna's fires.

{189}No more my soul a charm in music finds;

Music has charms alone for peaceful minds:

Soft scenes of solitude no more can please;

Love enters there, and I'm my own disease.

No more the Lesbian dames my passion move,

Once the dear objects of my guilty love:[9]

All other loves are lost in only thine,

Ah, youth ungrateful to a flame like mine!

Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise,

Those heavenly looks and dear deluding eyes?

The harp and bow would you like Phoebus bear,

A brighter Phoebus Phaon might appear.

Would you with ivy wreathe your flowing hair,

Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare:

Yet Phoebus loved, and Bacchus felt the flame;

One Daphne warmed and one the Cretan dame;

Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me

Than e'en those gods contend in charms with thee.

The Muses teach me all their softest lays,

And the wide world resounds with Sappho's praise.

{190}Though great Alcaeus more sublimely sings,

And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings,

No less renown attends the moving lyre

Which Venus tunes and all her Loves inspire.

To me what Nature has in charms denied

Is well by wit's more lasting flames supplied.

Though short my stature, yet my name extends

To heaven itself and earth's remotest ends:

Brown as I am, an Aethiopian dame

Inspired young Perseus with a generous flame:

Turtles and doves of different hue unite,

And glossy jet is paired with shining white.

If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign

But such as merit, such as equal thine,

By none, alas, by none thou canst be moved;

Phaon alone by Phaon must be loved.

Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ;

Once in her arms you centred all your joy:

No time the dear remembrance can remove,

For oh how vast a memory has love!

My music then you could for ever hear,

And all my words were music to your ear:

You stopt with kisses my enchanting tongue,

And found my kisses sweeter than my song.

In all I pleased, but most in what was best;

And the last joy was dearer than the rest:

Then with each word, each glance, each motion fired,

{191}You still enjoyed, and yet you still desired,

Till all dissolving in the trance we lay,

And in tumultuous raptures died away.

The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame:

Why was I born, ye gods, a Lesbian dame?

But ah, beware, Sicilian nymphs, nor boast

That wandering heart which I so lately lost;

Nor be with all those tempting words abused:

Those tempting words were all to Sappho used.

And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,

Have pity, Venus, on your poet's pains.

Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run

And still increase the woes so soon begun?

Inured to sorrow from my tender years,

My parent's ashes drank my early tears:

My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,

Ignobly burned in a destructive flame:

An infant daughter late my griefs increased,

And all a mother's cares distract my breast.

Alas, what more could Fate itself impose,

But thee, the last and greatest of my woes?

No more my robes in waving purple flow,

Nor on my hand the sparkling diamonds glow;

No more my locks in ringlets curled diffuse

The costly sweetness of Arabian dews;

Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind

That fly disordered with the wanton wind.

For whom should Sappho use such arts as these?

{192}He's gone whom only she desired to please!

Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move;

Still is there cause for Sappho still to love;

So from my birth the Sisters fixed my doom,

And gave to Venus all my life to come:

Or, while my Muse in melting notes complains,

My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains.

By charms like thine, which all my soul have won,

Who might not—ah, who would not be undone?

For those, Aurora Cephalus might scorn,

And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn:

For those, might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's sleep,

And bid Endymion nightly tend his sheep:

Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies,

But Mars on thee might look with Venus' eyes.

O scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy!

O useful time for lovers to employ!

Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,

Come to these arms and melt in this embrace!

The vows you never will return, receive;

And take at least the love you will not give.

See, while I write, my words are lost in tears:

The less my sense, the more my love appears.

Sure 'twas not much to bid one kind adieu:

At least, to feign was never hard to you.

'Farewell, my Lesbian love,' you might have said;

Or coldly thus, 'Farewell, O Lesbian maid.'

{193}No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,

Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve.

No lover's gift your Sappho could confer;

And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.

No charge I gave you, and no charge could give

But this—'Be mindful of our loves, and live.'

Now by the Nine, those powers adored by me,

And Love, the god that ever waits on thee;—

When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)

That you were fled and all my joys with you,

Like some sad statue, speechless, pale I stood;

Grief chilled my breast and stopt my freezing blood;

No sigh to rise, no tear had power to flow,

Fixed in a stupid lethargy of woe.

But when its way the impetuous passion found,

I rend my tresses and my breasts I wound;

I rave, then weep; I curse, and then complain;

Now swell to rage, now melt in tears again.

Not fiercer pangs distract the mournful dame

Whose first-born infant feeds the funeral flame.

My scornful brother with a smile appears,

Insults my woes, and triumphs in my tears;

His hated image ever haunts my eyes;—

'And why this grief? thy daughter lives,' he cries.

Stung with my love and furious with despair,

All torn my garments and my bosom bare,

{194}My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim;

Such inconsistent things are love and shame.

'Tis thou art all my care and my delight,

My daily longing and my dream by night.—

O night, more pleasing than the brightest day,

When fancy gives what absence takes away,

And, dressed in all its visionary charms,

Restores my fair deserter to my arms!

Then round your neck in wanton wreath I twine;

Then you, methinks, as fondly circle mine:

A thousand tender words I hear and speak;

A thousand melting kisses give and take:

Then fiercer joys; I blush to mention these,

Yet, while I blush, confess how much they please.

But when with day the sweet delusions fly,

And all things wake to life and joy, but I;

As if once more forsaken, I complain,

And close my eyes to dream of you again:

Then frantic rise; and, like some fury, rove

Through lonely plains, and through the silent grove,

As if the silent grove and lonely plains,

That knew my pleasures, could relieve my pains.

I view the grotto, once the scene of love,

The rocks around, the hanging roofs above,

That charmed me more, with native moss o'ergrown,

Than Phrygian marble or the Parian stone:

{195}I find the shades that veiled our joys before;

But, Phaon gone, those shades delight no more.

Here the pressed herbs with bending tops betray

Where oft entwined in amorous folds we lay;

I kiss that earth which once was pressed by you,

And all with tears the withering herbs bedew.

For thee the fading trees appear to mourn,

And birds defer their song till thy return:

Night shades the groves, and all in silence lie,—

All but the mournful Philomel and I:

With mournful Philomel I join my strain;

Of Tereus she, of Phaon I complain.

A spring there is whose silver waters show,

Clear as a glass, the shining sands below:

A flowery lotus spreads its arms above,

Shades all the banks and seems itself a grove;

Eternal greens the mossy margin grace,

Watched by the sylvan genius of the place:

Here as I lay, and swelled with tears the flood

Before my sight a watery virgin stood:

She stood and cried,—'O you that love in vain,

Fly hence and seek the fair Leucadian main:

There stands a rock from whose impending steep

Apollo's fane surveys the rolling deep;

There injured lovers, leaping from above,

Their flames extinguish and forget to love.

Deucalion once with hopeless fury burned;

{196}In vain he loved, relentless Pyrrha scorned.

But when from hence he plunged into the main,

Deucalion scorned, and Pyrrha loved in vain.

Haste, Sappho, haste, from high Leucadia throw

Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below.'

She spoke, and vanished with the voice: I rise,

And silent tears fall trickling from my eyes.

I go, ye nymphs, those rocks and seas to prove:

How much I fear, but ah, how much I love!

I go, ye nymphs, where furious love inspires;

Let female fears submit to female fires:

To rocks and seas I fly from Phaon's hate,

And hope from seas and rocks a milder fate.

Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow,

And softly lay me on the waves below.

And thou, kind Love, my sinking limbs sustain,

Spread thy soft wings and waft me o'er the main,

Nor let a lover's death the guiltless flood profane.

On Phoebus' shrine my harp I'll then bestow,

And this inscription shall be placed below:—

'Here she who sung, to him that did inspire,

Sappho to Phoebus consecrates her lyre:

What suits with Sappho, Phoebus, suits with thee;

The gift, the giver, and the god agree.'

But why, alas, relentless youth, ah, why

To distant seas must tender Sappho fly?

{197}Thy charms than those may far more powerful be,

And Phoebus' self is less a god to me.

Ah, canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea,

O far more faithless and more hard than they?

Ah, canst thou rather see this tender breast

Dashed on these rocks that to thy bosom pressed?

This breast, which once, in vain! you liked so well;

Where the Loves played, and where the Muses dwell.

Alas, the Muses now no more inspire:

Untuned my lute, and silent is my lyre:

My languid numbers have forgot to flow,

And fancy sinks beneath the weight of woe.

Ye Lesbian virgins and ye Lesbian dames,

Themes of my verse and objects of my flames,

No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring;

No more these hands shall touch the trembling string:

My Phaon's fled, and I those arts resign:

(Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!)

Return, fair youth, return, and bring along

Joy to my soul and vigour to my song.

Absent from thee, the poet's flame expires;

But ah, how fiercely burn the lover's fires!

{198}Gods, can no prayers, no sighs, no numbers move

One savage heart, or teach it how to love?

The winds my prayers, my sighs, my numbers bear;

The flying winds have lost them all in air.

Or when, alas, shall more auspicious gales

To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails?

If you return, ah, why these long delays?

Poor Sappho dies while careless Phaon stays.

O launch the bark, nor fear the watery plain:

Venus for thee shall smooth her native main.

O launch thy bark, secure of prosperous gales:

Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling sails.

If you will fly—(yet ah, what cause can be,

Too cruel youth, that you should fly from me?)

If not from Phaon I must hope for ease,

Ah, let me seek it from the raging seas:

To raging seas unpitied I'll remove;

And either cease to live or cease to love.



The following list comprises most of the books and articles in Sapphic literature which I have consulted. I have added a few to which I have had reference, but which I have not succeeded in seeing: many of them are mere curiosities. I could have still further extended the bibliography, if I had taken more on trust. I have not generally thought it necessary to quote well-known histories of Greece and Greek literature, nor such translations as throw no light upon her beyond what this list contains.

Addison, John: The Works of Anacreon translated into English Verse; with Notes explanatory and poetical. To which are added the Odes, Fragments, and Epigrams of Sappho. With the original Greek placed opposite to the Translation. 8vo, London, 1735.

Addison, Joseph: Spectator, No. 223, Nov. 15, 1711 and No. 233, Nov. 27, 1711.

Ahrens, Heinrich Ludolf: De Graecae Linguae Dialectis, Sapphus fragmenta, pp. 256-274 of Lib. I. 8vo, Göttingen, 1839.

Ahrens, Heinrich Ludolf: Conjecturen in Alcäus und Sappho, Rheinisches Museum, 1842, pp. 388-401.


Anacreontis Carmina, cum Sapphonis et Alcaei fragmentis. Glasgow, 1744, 1757, 1761 and 1783.

Anacreontis et Sapphonis Carmina. Cum virorum doctorum notis et emendationibus, in usum juventutis Academiae Salfordiensis, Com. Lancastriae. 8vo, London, 1754.

Andreas, Elias: Anacreontis Teii antiquissimi poëtae Lyrici Odae, ab Helia Andrea Latinae factae. 16mo, Lutetiae, 1556.

Andreas, Elias: Anacreontis, Sapphus, et Erinnae Carmina interpretibus Henrico Stephano et Elia Andrea. 64mo, Edinburgh, 1766.

Arnold, Dr. Bernhard: Sappho. Vortrag, gehalten zu München am 25. März 1870. Aus Sammlung gemeinverständlicher Vorträge herausg. v. Rud. Virchow und Fr. von Holtzendorff. Berlin, 1871.

Arnold, Edwin, M.A., C.S.I.: The Poets of Greece [pp. 105-118]. 8vo, London, 1869.

Baxter, William: see Vossius, Isaac (1695).

Baxter, William: Anacreontis Teii Carmina Graece e Recensione Guilielmi Baxteri cum ejusdem Henr. item Stephani atque Tanegvidi Fabri notis accesserunt duo Sapphus Odaria [pp. 167-172; 249-254] et Theocriti Anacreonticum in mortuum Adonin. Iterum edidit varietatemque lectionibus cum suis animadversionibus et Anacreontis fragmenta adjecit Joh. Frider. Fischerus. 8vo, Leipzig, 1776.

Beau, Gabriel: La Grèce Poétique. Anacréon—Sappho [pp. 81-97]—Bion—Moschus—Théocrite. 12mo, Paris, 1884.

Bentley, Richard, D.D.: in Graevius' Callimachi Fragmenta, 8vo, Utrecht, 1697, ad. fr. 417, de Sapphus fragm. 118.


Bergk, Theodor: De aliquot fragmentis Sapphonis et Alcaei. Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, 8vo, Bonn, 1835, pp. 209-231.

Bergk, Theodor: Anthologia Lyrica. 8vo, Leipzig, 1854, pp. 261-273 (text only).

Bergk, Theodor: Poetae Lyrici Graeci, ed. 4, vol. 3, pp. 82-140. 8vo, Leipzig, 1882.

Bibliothèque Universelle des Dames; alias Bibliothèque de Mesdemoiselles Eulalie, Félicité, Sophie, Emilie De Marcilly. Mélanges. Tom. viii. pp. 95-130. 24mo, Paris, 1787.

Bland, Rev. Robert: see Merivale, J. H.

Blass, Friedrich, of Kiel: Zu den Griechischen Lyrikern. Rhein. Mus., vol. xxix., 1874: Sappho, pp. 149-151.

Blass, Friedrich, of Kiel: Neue Fragmente ... der Sappho. Rhein. Mus., vol. xxxv. 1880; pp. 287-290.

Blomfield, Charles James, Bishop of London: Cambridge Museum Criticum, vol. i., pp. 1-31, 250-252, 421, 422. 8vo, 1826.

Blomfield, Charles James: see Gaisford.

Blum, Johann Christian: in Olearius' De Poetriis Graecis. 4to, Leipzig, 1712.

Boetticher, K.: Zwei Hermenbildnisse der Sappho; with a photograph. Archäologische Zeitung, 4to, Berlin, 1872, pp. 83-86.

Born, Friedrich Gottlieb, Ph.D.: Anacreontis et Sapphus [pp. 219-227] Carmina Graece recensuit notisque illustravit ex optimis interpretibus, quibus et suas adjecit. 8vo, Leipzig, 1789.

Bothe, Fridericus Henricus: Anacreontica Graece recensuit notisque criticis instruxit. Σαπφοῦς λείψανα pp. 77-81. 16mo, Leipzig, 1805.


Braun, G. C.: Die Fragmente der Sappho, übersetzt von G. C. B[raun]. 8vo, Wetzlar, 1815.

Brockhausen, R.: Sappho's Lieder in deutschen Versen nachgebildet. Lemgo, 1827.

Brunck, Richard François Philippe: Analecta veterum poetarum Graecorum: i., pp. 54-57; ii., p. 8. 8vo, Strassburg, 1772.

Brunck, Richard François Philippe: Anacreontis Carmina: accedunt quaedam e lyricorum reliquiis pp. 82-86. Ed. 2, 12mo, Strassburg, 1786.

Brunck, Richard François Philippe: see Weise, G. H. (1844).

Bürger, Eduard: Anacreon und andere lyrische Dichter Griechenlands in deutschen Reimen. 32mo, Stuttgart, 1855.

Bustelli, Giuseppe: Vita e Frammenti di Saffo de Mitilene. Discorso e versione (prima intera). Pp. 104. 8vo, Bologna, 1863.

Cappone, Francesco Antonio: Liriche Parafrasi di D. Francesco Antonio Cappone, Academico ozioso. Sopra tutte l'Ode d'Anacreonte, e sopra alcune altre Poesie di diversi Lirici Poeti Greci. Secundo la preposta version Latina de'l'or più celebri Traduttori. pp. 190-200. 24mo, Venice, 1670.

Comparetti, Professor Domenico: Saffo e Faone dinanzi alla critica storia, in the Nuova Antologia di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, anno xi., seconda serie, vol. i., fasc. ii., pp. 253-288. 8vo, Florence, Febr. 1876.

Comparetti, Professor Domenico: Sulla Epistola Ovidiana di Saffo a Faone, studico critio. Published by the R. Istituto di Studi Superiori pratici e di perfezionamento in Firenze, Sezione di Filosofia e Filologia, vol. ii., dispensa prima, 8vo, pp. 53, Florence, 1876.


Comparetti, Professor Domenico: Sappho nelle Antiche Rappresentanze Vascolari. Published in the Museo Italiano di Antichita Classica, pp. 41-80, with 4 plates, 4to, Firenze, 1886.

Coupin: see Girodet de Roussy.

Courier, P.-L.: Daphnis et Chloé, traduit par P.-L. Courier. Suivi des Poésies d'Anacréon et de Sappho [Odes I. and II. in French prose, pp. 45-49] traduction nouvelle d'après un Manuscrit de l'école d'Athènes. 8vo, Paris, 1878.

Cramer, John Antony, D.D.: Anecdota Graeca e codd. manuscriptis Bibliothecarum Oxoniensium descripsit. Frag. 95, vol. i., p. 444; frag. 158, vol. ii., p. 325. 2 vols. 8vo, Oxford, 1835-6.

Cramer, J. Chr.: Diatribe chronologico-critica de patriâ Sapphus. 4to, Jena, N.D.

Cramer, J. Chr.: Diatribe chronologico-critica de συγφρονισμῷ Sapphus et Anacreontis. 4to, Jena, 1755.

Dacier, Anne Lefèvre [10]: Les Poésies d'Anacréon et de Sapho, traduites de Grec en François, avec des Remarques. Les Poésies de Sapho de Lesbos, pp. 387-429. 12mo, Paris, 1681.

Dacier, Anne Lefèvre: Les Poésies d'Anacréon et de Sapho traduites de Grec en François, avec des Remarques par Mademoiselle Le Fèvre, pp. 387-429, 12mo, Lyons, 1696.

Dacier, Anne Lefèvre: Les poésies d'Anacréon et de Sapho traduites de Grec en François, avec des Remarques, par Madame Dacier. Nouvelle édition augmentée des Notes Latines de Mr. le Fèvre. 12mo, Amsterdam, 1699.


Dacier, Anne Lefèvre: Les Poésies d'Anacréon et de Sapho traduites de Grec en François, avec des Remarques, par Madame Dacier. Nouvelle édition, augmentée des Notes Latines de Mr. le Fèvre, et de la Traduction en vers François de Mr. de la Fosse. 8vo, Amsterdam, 1716.

Degen, J. F.: Anacreon and Sappho's Lieder nebst and. lyr. Gedichten, Text und Übers. Altenburg, 1787.

Die Gedichte Anakreons und der Sappho Oden aus dem Griechischen übersetzt, und mit Anmerkungen begleitet, pp. 205-216. 8vo, Carlsruhe, 1760.

Discours sur la Poësie lyrique, avec les modèles du genre tirés de Pindare, d'Anacréon, de Sapho [pp. 137-140], de Malherbe, etc. 24mo, Paris, 1761.

Du Bois, Edward: The Wreath; composed of Selections from Sappho, etc., ... accompanied by a prose translation, with notes. 8vo, London, 1799.

Dubois-Guchan, E.-P.: La Pléiade Grecque: Traductions contenant Les Odes et Fragments d'Anacréon, Les Poésies de Sapho, etc., pp. 71-88. 8vo, Paris, 1873.

Easby-Smith, James S.: The Songs of Sappho. 8vo, pp. ix. 97, Washington, 1891.

Egerton, The Honourable Francis Henry: A Fragment of an Ode of Sappho, from Longinus: also, an Ode of Sappho from Dionysius Halicarn. Pp. 26. 8vo, Paris, 1815.

Elton, Sir Charles Abraham, Bart.: Specimens of the Classic Poets ... translated into English verse, and illustrated with biographical and critical notices; vol. i., pp. 99-111. 8vo, London, 1814.


Faber, Tanaquillus: Anacreontis et Sapphonis Carmina. Notas et Animadversiones addidit Tanaquillus Faber; in quibus multa Veterum emendantur. 24mo, Saumur, 1670.

Faber, Tanaquillus: see Baxter, William (1776).

Fard, Le poëte Sans: see Gaçon, François.

Farnell, George S.: Greek Lyric Poetry; pp. 148-167, 327-342. 8vo, London, 1891.

Fawkes, Rev. Francis, M.A.: The Works of Anacreon, Sappho [pp. 169-196], Bion, Moschus, and Musaeus. Translated into English by a Gentleman of Cambridge. 12mo, London, 1760. Often reprinted, e.g. 1789; 1810; 1832; in Anderson's Poets of Great Britain, vol. xiii., 1793; Chalmers' Works of the English Poets, vol. xx., 1810, etc.

Felton, Cornelius Conway, LL.D.: Greece, Ancient and Modern. Lectures delivered before the Lowell Institute [1852-1854]. (Sappho, vol. i. pp. 171-180). 2 vols., 8vo, Boston, 1867.

Fèvre, Mademoiselle le: see Dacier, Madame.

Field, Michael: Long Ago. 8vo, pp. 132, London, 1889.

Finkenstein, F. L. K.: Sappho, Ode aus Aphrodita übers. Berlin, 1810.

Fischer, Joh. Fridr.: see Baxter, William (1776).

Fonvielle, B. F. A.: Sapho, ou Le Saut de Leucate, tragédie lyrique en trois actes. 8vo, Paris, 1816.

Fosse, De La: see Dacier, Madame (1716).

Friedrich: Bion, Anacreon, und Sappho. Aus d. Griech. übers. Libau, 1787.

Frothingham, Ellen: Sappho, a tragedy in five acts. A translation from the German play by Franz Grillparzer. 16mo, Boston, U.S.A., 1876.


Gaçon, François: Les Odes d'Anacréon et de Sappho [pp. 343-354] en vers François par le poète Sans Fard. 12mo, Rotterdam, 1712; also Les Poésies d'Anacréon, etc., 32mo, Paris, 1754.

Gaçon, François: Ἀνακρεοντος Τηιου μελη. Σαπφους Ἀσματα. 16mo, Paris, 1754.

Gaisford, Thomas, D.D.: Sapphonis Fragmenta, edited by Charles James Blomfield, and reprinted from the Cambridge Museum Criticum, fasc. i., in Gaisford's Poetae Minores Graeci, vol. iii., pp. 289-314. 8vo, Leipzig, 1823.

Gerhard, W.: Anacreon und Sappho. Freie Nachbildung für den deutschen Gesang. Leipzig, 1847.

Giles, J. A.: see Hainebach, J. H.

Gilliver: Anacreontis carmina, etc. ... et poetriae Sapphus quae supersunt. London, 1733.

Girodet de Roussy, Anne Louis: Sappho, Bion, Moschus, Recueil de Compositions dessinées par Girodet, et gravées par M. Chatillon, son élève, avec la traduction en vers par Girodet, et une Notice sur la Vie et les Œuvres de Sappho, par Coupin. 4to, Paris, 1829.

Gleim, J. W. L.: Die Oden Anakreons in reimlosen Versen. Nebst einigen andern Gedichten. Die 2 Oden der Dichterin Sappho, pp. 45-48. 8vo, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1746.

Goldmann, C. A. F.: Bion, nebst einigen Gedichten der Sappho, der Erinna, und des Mimnermus übers. Soest, 1808.

Grainville, J. B.: Les hymnes de Sapho, nouvellement découvertes et traduites pour la première fois en françois, avec des notes et une version italienne. 8vo, Paris, 1796.


Graux, Charles: Revue de Philologie, 1880, pp. 81, ff.

Greek Authoresses, an anonymous article in the Edinburgh Review, vol. lv., No. cix., April, 1832, pp. 182-208.

Greene, E. B.: The Works of Anacreon and Sappho [pp. 127-169] ... illustrated by observations on their lives and writings, explanatory notes from established commentators, and additional remarks by the Editor; with the Classic, an introductory Poem. 8vo, London, 1768.

Grillparzer, Franz: see Frothingham.

Grosset: see Marcelot et Grosset.

Gunther Waht, F. L.: Anacreon und Sappho, Lieder der Liebe aus dem Griech. Erfurt, 1783.

Gyraldus, Lilius Greg.: see Stephanus, H. (1566, 1660).

Hainebach, J. H.: Specimen Scriptorum Graecorum minorum, quorum reliquias, fere omnium melioris notae, ex editionibus variis excerptas ab J. A. Giles recognoscet et supplebit J. H. Hainebach. 8vo, Frankfort, 1834.

Harles [alias Harless], Gottlieb Christopher: Anthologia Graeca Poetica, pp. 239-249. 8vo, Baruthi, 1792.

Harrison, Frederic: The New Calendar of Great Men, pp. 46, 47. 8vo, London, 1892.

Hartel, W.: Die Sappho und die Sappho-Sage, in the Oesterr. Wochenschrift f. Wissenschaft und Kunst v. W. Bucher, N. F., 1872.

Hartung, J. A.: Die Griechischen Lyriker, vol. vi., pp. 63-110. 8vo, Leipzig, 1857.

Hauteroche, Allier de: Notizie intorno a Saffo de Ereso. Paris, 1822.


Heller, H. J.: Carmen Sapphus Secundum, in Philologus, pp. 431-437, 8vo, Göttingen, 1856. (Heller reads the last line thus: πᾶν δὲ τολματέον ἐπὶ τᾷ 'γαπήτᾳ, i.e. amicae causâ, ad amicam mihi conciliandam).

Hermann, G.: Bermerkungen über Homer und die Fragmente der Sappho, in his Works, vol. vi., pp. 70-141. 1835.

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, Colonel: Sappho, an article published in the Atlantic Monthly for 1871, and reprinted in Atlantic Essays, pp. 299-324. Boston, 1882.

Hoffmann, S. F. W.: Lexicon Bibliographicum, sive Index Editionum et Interpretationum Scriptorum Graecorum, tum sacrorum tum profanorum. V. sub voce Sappho, vol. iii. 8vo, Leipzig, 1832.

Hosken, James Dryden, 'the Postman-Poet': Phaon and Sappho, a Play. 8vo, Penzance, 1891.

Hübner, E.: Die Madrider Sapphoherme. Archäologische Zeitung, 8vo, Berlin, 1872, pp. 86-87; 1873, pp. 46, 47.

Hudson, John, D.D.: Dionysius Longinus de Sublimitate, cum praefationibus, notis, et variis lectionibus. 8vo, Oxford, 1710.

Imperiale, G. V.: see Verri, A.

Jaeger, W.: Sappho, poésies françaises et allemandes. Berlin, 1852.

Kannegiesser, K. L.: Anacreon und Sappho, übers. Prenzlau, 1827.

Kock, Theodor: Alkäos und Sappho, pp. 22-98. 8vo, Berlin, 1862.

Koechly, H.: Über Sappho, mit Rücksicht auf die gesellschaftliche Stellung der Frauen bei den Griechen: Academische Vorträge, Zürich, 1859, pp. 155-277, 406-412.


Langapetraeus = Longepierre, q.v.

Le Fèvre, Tanneguy: see Dacier, 1699.

Lefèvre, Anne: see Dacier.

Lewis, Mrs. Estelle: Sappho: a Tragedy in five Acts, by 'Stella.' Ed. 6th, 8vo, London, 1881.

Lilly, John, 'the Euphuist': Sapho and Phao, played before the Queen's Majesty on Shrove Tuesday, by her Majesty's children and the Boys of St. Paul's. 4to, London, 1584.

Longepierre, Mr. de: Les Oeuvres d'Anacréon et de Sapho, contenant leurs Poësies, et les galanteries de l'ancienne Grèce. Traduites de Grec en vers François par Mr. de Longepierre, avec des Notes curieuses sur tout l'ouvrage.—Les Poésies de Sapho de Lesbos, pp. 347-398. 12mo, Paris, 1692.

Luniak (Lunák), John, Phil. Mag.: Quaestiones Sapphicae; accedit Corollarium criticum atque exegeticum ad Ovidianam Sapphus Epistulam. 8vo, pp. vi. 115, Kazan, Russia, 1888.

Lut, C. Breghot du: Poésies de Sapho, traduites en François, avec le texte en regard, précédées d'une notice sur la vie de cette femme célèbre, accompagnées de notes et d'un choix polyglotte d'imitations en vers des principales pièces. Pp. 18, 8vo, Lyons, 1835.

Luzan, Don Ignacio de: Las dos Odas de Safo, in vol. iv., pp. 169-171, of J. J. Lopez de Sedano's Parnasso Español. Coleccion de Poesias escogidas de los mas celebres poetas Castellanos. 8vo, Madrid, 1776.

Mähly, J.: Sappho bei Himerius. Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, Neue Folge, pp. 301-308. 8vo, Frankfort, 1866.


Manna, Antonio La: Le Odi di Anacreonte tradotte in versi Siciliani, con altre poesie; Sappho's fragm. 1, 2, and 52 on pp. 129-131. 12mo, Palermo, 1843.

Marcelot et Grosset: Odes d'Anacréon et de Sapho, traduction française avec le texte en regard. Paris, 1847.

Marcilly, De: see Bibliothèque Univ. des Dames.

Merino, A. Fernandez: Estudios de Literatura Griega. Safo ante la critica moderna. Ed. 3, pp. 80. 8vo, Madrid, 1884.

Merivale, John Herman: Collections from the Greek Anthology, by the late Rev. Robert Bland and others, pp. 12-22. 8vo, London, 1833.

Merula Alexandrinus, Georgius: Commentarium in Sapphus epistolam. 4to, Venice, 1475. Reprinted, with alterations and additions, in 1499, 1510, 1528, etc., along with commentaries by Badius, Calderinus, and Egnatius.

Michaelis, Adolf Theodor Friedrich: Thamyris und Sappho auf einem Vasenbilde. 1 plate, pp. 18. 4to, Leipzig, 1865.

Milesi, Bianca: Vita di Saffo, scritto da Bianca Milesi. 8vo, Paris, 1824.

Modona, Leonello: La Saffo storica, ed il mito di Saffo e Faone, published in the Rivista Internazionale, April 16, 1878, and reprinted, pp. 25, 8vo, Florence, 1878.

Moebius, Ernst Anton Ludwig: Anacreontis, quae feruntur, Carmina, Sapphus [pp. 104-110], et Erinnae fragmenta. Textum passim refinxit brevique annotatione illustravit Ernst Ant. Moebius. Forming vol. 19 of Frid. Jacobs' and Val. Chr. Fr. Rost's Bibliotheca Graeca. 8vo, Gotha and Erfurt, 1826.


Moore, Thomas: Odes of Anacreon translated into English verse, with Notes. 4to, London, 1800.

Moutonnet-Clairfons, J. J.: Anacréon, Sapho [pp. 95-118], Bion et Moschus, traduction nouvelle en Prose. 4to, Paphos and Paris, 1773. (In 1780 another edition was issued, with illustrations by Eisen.)

Mure, Colonel William: Sappho, and the ideal love of the Greeks: in the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, 1847, pp. 564-593.

Neander, Michael: Aristologia Pindarica Graecolatina ... Ad finem accesserunt Sententiae quaedam utiles et sapientes Novem Lyricorum, ex variis tum Patrum tum Ethnicorum libris collectae, pp. 427-430. 8vo, Basle, 1556.

Neue, Christian Friedrich: Sapphonis Mytilenaeae Fragmenta: specimen operae in omnibus artis Graecorum Lyricae reliquiis excepto Pindaro collocandae proposuit D. Christianus Fridericus Neue, Professor Portensis. Pp. 106. 4to, Berlin, 1827.

Okes, Holt: Quaedam Fragmenta Lyrica Sapphus, Alcaei, et aliorum; numeris suis restituta et recensita. Pp. 11. 8vo, Cambridge, 1809.

Olearius, Gottfried: see Blum.

Orger, Thomas, LL.D.: The Odes of Anacreon, with the fragments of Sappho [pp. 81-85] and Alcaeus, literally translated into English prose. 8vo, London, 1825.

Pagnini, G. M.: Poesie di Anacreonte recate in versi Italiani da Eritisco Pilenejo [a pseudonym]. Le Poesie di Saffo di Lesbo, pp. 91-99. 8vo, Parma, 1793.


Pagnini, G. M.: Le Poesie di Anacreonte, di Saffo [pp. 46-49], e di Erinna dal Greco trasportate in rime Toscano per opera di Eritisco Pilenejo, P.A. 8vo, Lucca, 1794.

Palgrave, Francis Turner, Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford: a Lecture on Poetry and the other Fine Arts, 'The National Review,' Oct 1887, vol. x., pp. 202-218.

Paulidos, Joacheim J., of Lesbos, Ph.D.: Σαπφὼ ἡ Μυτιληναία. Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doctorwürde der hohen philosophischen Facultät der Universität Erlangen vorgelegt. 8vo, Leipzig, 1885.

Pelayo, Menendez y: Translation in Spanish verse of the Ode to Aphrodite, in the first edition of his Las Poesias de tan docto academico. Madrid, 1877.

Pember, E. H., Q.C.: The Tragedy of Lesbos. 8vo, London, 1870.

Philips, Ambrose: The Works of Anacreon and Sappho [pp. 61-75 by Ambrose Philips]. Done from the Greek, by several hands. 12mo, London, 1715. See also Addison, Joseph.

Pilenejo, Eritisco: pseudonym of G. M. Pagnini, whom see.

Plehn, Severus Lucianus: Lesbiacorum Liber, pp. 175-196. 8vo, Berlin, 1826.

Poestion, Joseph Calasanz: Griechische Dichterinnen, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Frauenliteratur. Pp. 33-92. 8vo, Wien, Pest, Leipzig, 1876.

Poetae Graeci: sive Selecta ex Homeri Odyss. ... Sapphone [p. 168] ... Musaeo, cum vulgata versione emendata, ac variis partim Scholiastarum Graecorum, partim Doctorum recentiorum notis. In usum Regiae Scholae Etonensis. Edito altera. 8vo, Eton, 1777.


Pomtow, Joh.: Poetae Lyrici Graeci minores [vol. i., pp. 100-116, 341, 343]. 2 vols., 16mo, Leipzig, 1885.

Prien, Dr. Carl: Die Symmetrie und Responsion der Sapphischen und Horazischen Ode. 4to, Lübeck, 1865.

Raabe, A.: Interpretatio odarii Sapphici in Venerem. Leipzig, 1794.

Ramler, Karl Wilhelm: Anakreons auserlesene Oden, und die zwey noch übrigen Oden der Sappho. 8vo, Berlin, 1801.

Reenen, J. H. van: Anacreontis et Sapphus Reliquiae, ad fidem optimarum editionum recensitae, pp. 95-123. 4to, Amsterdam, 1807.

Reinhold, J. L.: Anacreon und der Sappho, Lieder, Text, und Übersetz. Riga, 1826.

Richepin, Jean: Sapphô; illustrations par MM. Hector Leroux, D. Vierge, Kauffman. Pp. 36. 8vo, Paris, 1866?

Richter, Professor Frz. W.: Sappho und Erinna nach ihrem Leben beschrieben und in ihren poëtischen Überresten übersetzt und erklärt. 8vo, Quedlinburg and Leipzig, 1833.

Robinson, Mrs. Mary: Sappho and Phaon, in a series of legitimate Sonnets, etc. 16mo, London, 1796.

Roche-Aymon, De la: Poësies de Anacréon et de Sapho [pp. 89-97]. Traduction en vers de M. de la Roche-Aymon, ancien professeur de rhétorique. Illustrations de P. Avril. 32mo, Paris, 1882.

Rogati, Francesco Saverio de': Le Odi di Anacreonte e di Saffo [vol. ii., pp. 193-217] recate in versi Italiani. 2 vols., 8vo, Colle, 1782; ed. 2, 1818.


Rossey, Henri: Mélanges Poétiques, suivis de quelques traductions d'Horace, Sapho [pp. 223-228] et Anacréon. 12mo, Paris, 1863.

Rubio y Lluch, Antonio: Trad. catalana de la oda á Afrodita y de frag. cons. por Longino. Barcelona, 1880.

Sacy, C. L. M.: Les Amours de Sapho et de Phaon. Pp. 180. 8vo, Amsterdam, 1775.

Saint-Remy, Redarez: Les Poésies de Sapho de Lesbos. Pp. 120. 8vo, Paris, 1852.

Sans Fard: see Gaçon, François.

Sauvigny, E. Billardon de: Poésies de Sapho, suivies de différentes poésies dans le même genre. 12mo, Amsterdam, 1777; London, 1781, 1792.

Schneider, A.: Μουσων Ἀνθη. sive selecta Poetriarum Graecarum Carmina et Fragmenta edidit, earum vitas, animadversiones et indices adjecit A. Schneider; pp. 3-82. 8vo, Giessen, 1802.

Schneidewin, F. G.: Delectus Poesis Graecorum Elegiacae, Iambicae, Melicae.—Sapphonis Mitylenaeae Carmina, pp. 289-322. 8vo, Göttingen, 1838.

Schoene, Alfred: Untersuchungen über das Leben der Sappho, pp. 731-762 of Symbola Philologorum Bonnensium in honorem Friderici Ritschelii collecta. 8vo, Leipzig, 1864-7.

Seidler: Über einige Fragmente der Sappho und des Alcäus, von Herrn Hofrath Seidler, in the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, pp. 153-228. 8vo, Bonn, 1829.

Sivry, Poinsinet de: Anacréon, Sapho, etc., traduits en vers Français. Poésies de Sapho de Mytilene, pp. viii., 24. 8vo, Nancy, 1758.

Smith, Philip: art. Sappho, in Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. iii., pp. 707-711. 8vo, London, 1870.


Stadelmann, Heinrich: Aus Tibur und Teos. Eine Auswahl lyrischer Gedichte von Horaz, Anakreon, Catull, Sappho [pp. 87-95] u. A. In deutscher Nachdichtung von Heinrich Stadelmann. 32mo, Halle, 1868.

Stephanus, Henricus: Ἀνακρέοντος μέλη. 8vo, Paris, 1554. Editio princeps.

Stephanus, Henricus: Anacreontis et aliorum Lyricorum aliquot poetarum Odae. In easdem Henr. Stephani observationes. Eadem Latinae. 16mo, Paris, 1556.

Stephanus, Henricus: Carminum Poetarum novem, lyricae poeseos principū fragmenta ... Sapphus [pp. 33-71] ... nonnulla etiam aliorum. Editio secunda, 16mo, Paris, 1566. Prefixed to the text is: Sapphus vita, ex Lilii Greg. Gyraldi dialogo IX. De poetarum historia. Reprinted in 1660 and other years.

Stephanus, Henricus: see Andreas, Elias (1766).

Symonds, John Addington: Studies of the Greek Poets, first series, pp. 114-136. 8vo, London, 1873; 3rd ed., 1893.

Tennyson, Frederick: The Isles of Greece. Sappho and Alcaeus. 8vo, London, 1890.

Thompson, Maurice: The Sapphic Secret. The Atlantic Monthly, March 1894, pp. 365-372.

Traner, J.: Sapphus, graecanicae Poetriae, quae exstant, Residua. Progrr. acadd. Upsalae, par. x. 8vo, 1824.

Trapp, J.: Anacreontis Teii Carmina: accurate edita; cum notis perpetuis; et versione Latina ... Accedunt ejusdem, ut perhibentur, Fragmenta et Poetriae Sapphus [pp. 224-233] quae supersunt. Ed. 2. 12mo, London, 1742.


Tresham, Enrico: Le Avventure di Saffo. Fol., Rome, 1784. 18 plates, drawn and engraved by Enrico Tresham; no text.

Ursinus, Fulvius: Carmina novem illustrium feminarum, Sapphus [pp. 2-36], etc. 8vo, Antwerp, 1568.

Verri, Alessandro: Le Avventure di Saffo poetessa di Mitilene, traduzione dal Greco originale nuovamente scoperto. [Or rather an original romance in Italian by A. V.] Pp. 188. 8vo, Vercelli, 1780-1804.

Verri, Alessandro: Le Avventure di Saffo poetessa di Mitilene, e la Faoniade [by G. V. Imperiale] inni ed odi, traduzioni dal greco. 24mo, Paris, 1790.

Volger, Heinrich Friedrich Magnus: Diatribe historico-critica de Sapphus Poetriae vita et scriptis. 8vo, Gotha, 1809. (Reprinted in a more extended form in his subsequent edition of Sappho.)

Volger, Heinrich Friedrich Magnus: Sapphus Lesbiae Carmina et Fragmenta recensuit, commentario illustravit, schemata musica adjecit, et indices confecit Henr. Frid. Magnus Volger, Paedagogii Regii Ilfeldensis Collaborator. Pp. lxviii., 195. 8vo, Leipzig, 1810.

Vossius, Isaac: Catullus et in eum observationes. Pp. 112-117. 4to, London, 1684.

Vossius, Isaac: Anacreontis Teii Carmina ... Willielmus Baxter. Subjiciuntur autem duo vetustissimae Poetriae Sapphus [pp. 122-131] elegantissima odaria, una cum correctione Isaaci Vossii. 8vo, London, 1695.

Vries, S. G. de: Epistula Sapphus ad Phaonem apparatu critico instructa, commentario illustrata, et Ovidio vindicata. An inaugural dissertation for the doctorate. Pp. ix. 155. 8vo, Leyden, 1885.


Walhouse, Moreton John: The Nine Greek Lyric Poets, in The Gentleman's Magazine, pp. 433-451, April, 1877.

Weil, H.: quoted by Graux, q.v.

Weise, C. H.: Anacreontis Carmina, cum Sapphus aliorumque reliquiis. Adjectae sunt integrae Brunckii notae. Nova editio stereotypa curante C. H. Weise. 32mo, Leipzig (Tauchnitz), 1844-1878.

Weisse, C. F.: Eine Ode, übersetz. von C. F. Weisse. Vid. Schmidii Anthologie, tom. ii. Leipzig.

Welcker, Friedrich Gottlieb: Sappho von einem herrschenden Vorurtheil befreyt. Pp. 150. 8vo, Göttingen, 1816. Reprinted in his Kleine Schriften, vol. ii., p. 80 f., 1846.

Welcker, Friedrich Gottlieb: Sappho, a review of Neue's edition, in Jahn's Jahrbuch. Pp. 394-408, 1828. Reprinted in his Kleine Schriften, vol. i., pp. 110-125. 8vo, Bonn, 1844.

Welcker, Friedrich Gottlieb: Sappho und Phaon, in the Rheinisches Museum, pp. 242-252, 1863. Reprinted in his Kleine Schriften, vol. v., pp. 228-242. 8vo, Elberfeld, 1867. A review of Mure and Koch.

Westphal, K.: Zwei Strophen der Sappho, in the Jahrbuch für class. Philologie, pp. 690-694, 1860.

Wolf, Johann Christian: Sapphus, poetriae Lesbiae, fragmenta et elogia, quotquot in auctoribus antiquis Graecis et Latinis reperiuntur, cum virorum doctorum notis integris, cura et studio Jo. Christiani Wolfii, in Gymnasio Hamburgensi Professoris Publici. Qui vitam Sapphonis et Indices adjecit. Pp. xxxii., 279. 8vo, Hamburg, 1733.




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HERESY OF JOB: A Study of the Argument. Illustrated with the "Inventions" of William Blake. Fcap. 4to. 5s. net.

THE SONG OF SONGS, WHICH IS SOLOMON'S. A Lyrical Folk-Play of the Ancient Hebrews, arranged in Seven Scenes. With Illustrations by Henry Ospovat. 1s. net.



Prof. Domenico Comparetti has lately (1876) published an essay on the authenticity of this Epistle and on its value in elucidating the history of Sappho. After minutely examining all the evidence against it, he concludes that it is the genuine work of Ovid. And in 1885 De Vries brought out an elaborate dissertation on the same subject; he proves, almost to a certainty, that Ovid wrote the Epistle in question. But the fact remains that it is absent from all the oldest and best MSS., and was only given its present place in Ovid's Heroic Epistles by Heinsius in 1629. Even if it be genuine, we may safely aver that in Ovid's day it was far more difficult to estimate Sappho's character rightly than it is now. The Romans, we can well believe, were likely to regard her in no other light than that in which she had been portrayed by the facile and unscrupulous comedians of Athens.


The exact site of Naucrătis was unknown until December 1884, when Mr. W. M. Flinders Petrie, acting as agent for the Egypt Exploration Fund, discovered it at Nebireh, or rather close to El Gaief, a modern Arab village on the Rosetta mouth of the Nile, about forty miles from the present sea-coast. It is near the edge of the Delta, some six miles N.E. of Tel-el-Barûd, a railway station nearly midway between Alexandria and Cairo. Before Mr. Petrie's explorations, Naucrătis had been sought for several miles nearer the sea than it actually lay, and its identification had been despaired of. For centuries it was the only city in Egypt in which the Greeks were permitted to settle and carry on commerce unmolested. Ionians, Dorians, and Aeolians there united in a sort of Hanseatic league, with special representatives and a common sanctuary, the Panhellēnion—which served as a tie among them. This rich colony remained in faithful connection with the mother-country, contributed to public works in Hellas, received political fugitives from that home as guests, and made life fair for them, as for its own children, after the Greek model. The women and the flower-garlands of Naucrătis were unsurpassed in beauty.


Psammetichus flourished about 588 B.C. He was the Pharaoh-hophra mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah (xliv. 30), whose house in Tahpanhes has been recently discovered by Mr. Petrie.


Such light as can be thrown upon the legend from Comparative Mythology, and from the possible etymologies of the names of Sappho and Phaon, has been, I fear rather inconclusively, gathered by Leonello Modona in his La Saffo storica (Florence, 1878). Human nature, however, varies so little from age to age, that I think it better to judge the story as it has come down to us, than to resort to the most erudite guessing.


Sappho's riddle is translated in full by Colonel Higginson in his Atlantic Essays, p. 321.


A quaint mediæval commentator on Horace, quoted by Professor Comparetti, says this passage (querentem Sappho puellis de popularibus) refers to Sappho's complaining, even in Hades, of her Lesbian fellow-maidens for not loving the youth with whom she was herself so much in love.


ποικιλόθρον' = richly worked throne, is by some read ποικιλόφρον = full of various wiles, subtle-minded.


When Fatima was first published (1832) this motto was prefixed—

Φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θεοῖσιν 

ἔμμεν ἀνήρ,

showing Tennyson's acknowledgments to Sappho.


Line 19, 'quas non sine crimine amavi,' which Pope translates thus, is read in many old texts 'quas hic sine crimine amavi' = whom here I blamelessly loved; and even if the former reading be adopted, it must be remembered that crimen means 'an accusation' more often than it does 'a crime.'


Anne Lefèvre, daughter of Tanneguy Lefèvre [Tanaquillus Faber], born at Saumur about 1654, married André Dacier in 1683 and died at the Louvre, 1720.

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