by Sappho (flourished c610-c580 BCE)
Translation by John Addington Symonds (1840 - 1893)

Ποικιλόθρον’ ἀθάνατ’, Ἀφρόδιτα
Language: Aeolic Greek 
Ποικιλόθρον’ ἀθάνατ’, Ἀφρόδιτα,
παῖ Дίος δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε,
μή μ’ ἄσαισι μηδ’  ὀνίαισι δάμνα,
πότνια, θῦμον·  

ἀλλὰ  τυίδ’    ἔλθ’ , αἴ  ποτα κἀτέρωτα
τὰς  ἔμας  αὔδας  ἀίοισα πήλοι
ἔκλυες, πάτρος δὲ  δόμον λίποισα
χρύσιον  ἦλθες

ἄρμ’ ὐπασδεύξαισα· καλοι δέ  σ’ ἆγον
ὤκεες στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶς μελαίνας
πύκνα δίννεντες  πτέρ’ ἀπ’ ὠράνωἴθερος
διὰ  μέσσω.

αἶψα  δ’  ἐξίκοντο·  σὺ  δ’, ὦ  μάκαιρα,
μειδιαίσαισ’  ἀθανάτωι προσώπωι
ἤρε’, ὄττι  δηὖτε  πέπονθα κὤττι
δηὖτε  κάλημμι

κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι
μαινόλαι θύμωι.   ῾τίνα  δηὖτε  Πείθω
μαῖσ’  ἄγην ἐς  σὰν φιλότατα, τίς  σ’, ὦ
Ψάπφ’, ἀδικήει;

καὶ  γὰρ αἰ  φεύγει, ταχέως διώξει,
αἰ δὲ δῶρα  μὴ δέκετ’, ἀλλὰ  δώσει,
αἰ δὲ  μὴ  φίλει, ταχέως φιλήσει
κωὐκ  ἐΘέλοισα.  ᾽

ἔλΘε μοι καὶ  νῦν,  χαλέπαν  δὲ  λῦσον
ἐκ  μερίμναν, ὄσσα  δὲ  μοι  τέλεσσαι
θῦμος  ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον,  σὺ  δ’  αὔτα
σύμμαχος  ἔσσο.

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Henry Thornton Wharton)
  • ENG English (John Addington Symonds) , "Ode to Aphrodite", first published 1893
  • ENG English (Edwin Marion Cox) , first published 1924
  • ENG English (Ambrose Philips) , "A Hymn to Venus", written 1711
  • FRE French (Français) (Pauline Mary Tarn) , "à l’Aphrodita", first published 1903

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2007-12-10
Line count: 28
Word count: 133

Ode to Aphrodite
Language: English  after the Aeolic Greek 
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, through middle ether
      Down from heaven hurried.

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!


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Researcher for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2018-10-23
Line count: 28
Word count: 204