by Sappho (flourished c610-c580 BCE)
Translation by Edwin Marion Cox (1869 - 1942)

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.

About the headline (FAQ)


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

Shimmering‑throned immortal Aphrodite
Language: English  after the Aeolic Greek 
Shimmering-throned immortal Aphrodite,
Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee,
Spare me, O Queen, this agony and anguish,
⁠Crush not my spirit.

Whenever before thou hast hearkened to me—
To my voice calling to thee in the distance,
And heeding, thou hast come, leaving thy father’s
⁠Golden dominions,

With chariot yoked to thy fleet-winged coursers,
Fluttering swift pinions over earth’s darkness,
And bringing thee through the infinite, gliding
⁠Downwards from heaven,

Then, soon they arrived and thou, blessed goddess,
With divine countenance smiling, didst ask me
What new woe had befallen me now and why,
⁠Thus I had called thee.

What in my mad heart was my greatest desire,
Who was it now that must feel my allurements,
Who was the fair one that must be persuaded,
⁠Who wronged thee Sappho?

For if now she flees, quickly she shall follow
And if she spurns gifts, soon shall she offer them,
Yea, if she knows not love, soon shall she feel it
⁠Even reluctant.

Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow,
Drive away care, I beseech thee, O goddess
Fulfil for me what I yearn to accomplish,
⁠Be thou my ally.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with The Poems of Sappho. With Historical and Critical Notes, Translations, and a Bibliography by Edwin Marion Cox, London: Williams and Norgate; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924, page 60.


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: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2020-02-20
Line count: 28
Word count: 192