For about two thousand five hundred years Sappho has held her place as not only the supreme poet of her sex, but the chief lyrist of all lyrists. Every one who reads acknowledges her fame, concedes her supremacy; but to all except poets and Hellenists her name is a vague and uncomprehended splendour, rising secure above a persistent mist of misconception.
Come, thy fleet sparrows
Beating the mid-air
Over the dark earth. 15 Suddenly near me,
Thy bright regard asked
What had befallen,--
Why I had called thee,-- 20 What my mad heart then
Most was desiring.
"What fair thing wouldst thou
Lure now to love thee?
"Who wrongs thee, Sappho? 25
If now she flies thee,
Soon shall she follow;--
Scorning thy gifts now,
Soon be the giver;--
And a loth loved one 30
"Soon be the lover."
So even now, too,
Come and release me
From mordant love pain,
And all my heart's will 35 Help me accomplish!
Peer of the gods he seems,
Who in thy presence
Sits and hears close to him
Thy silver speech-tones
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