Sappho: Poem (d. c. 570 BC)

Thorned in splendor, beauteous child of mighty

Zeus, wile weaving, immortal Aphrodite,

smile again; your frowning so affrays me

woe overweighs me.

Come to me now, if ever in the olden days

you did hear me from afar, and from the

golden halls of your father fly with all speeding

unto my pleading.

Down through mid-ether from Love's highest regions

swan-drawn in car convoyed by lovely legions

of bright-hued doves beclouding with their pinions

Earth's broad dominions.

Quickly you came; and, Blessed One, with

smiling countenance immortal, my heavy heart

beguiling, asked the cause of my pitiful condition-

why my petition:

What most I craved in brain-bewildered yearning;

whom would I win, so winsome in her spurning;

"Who is she, Sappho, so evilly requiting

fond love with slighting?

"She who flees you soon shall turn pursuing,

cold to your love now, weary with wooing,

gifts once scorned with greater gifts reclaiming

unto her shaming."

Come thus again; from cruel cares deliver;

of all that my heart wills graciously be giver-

greatest of gifts, your loving self and tender

to be my defender.



What does Sappho's poem tell us about love?