by Sappho (flourished c610-c580 BCE)
Translation by Ambrose Philips (1674 - 1749)

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

A Hymn to Venus
Language: English  after the Aeolic Greek 
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.

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.


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)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Researcher for this text: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2020-02-20
Line count: 42
Word count: 256