Thursday, January 14, 2016

Untitled Lyric by Sappho

Untitled Lyric by Sappho

[Text of the poem in the original Greek]

[Prose translation by David A. Campbell]

Hither to me from Crete to this holy temple, where is your delightful grove of apple-trees, and altars smoking with incense; therein cold water babbles through apple-branches, and the whole place is shadowed by roses, and from the shimmering leaves the sleep of enchantment comes down; therein too a meadow, where horses graze, blossoms with spring flowers, and the winds blow gently . . .; there, Cypris, take . . . and pour gracefully into golden cups nectar that is mingled with our festivities.

Source of the text in Greek and prose translation - Greek Lyric with an English Translation by David A. Campbell, Volume I: Sappho Alcaeus.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982, p. 56-57.

[Translation by Mary Barnard]

You know the place: then

Leave Crete and come to us
waiting where the grove is
pleasantest, by precincts

sacred to you; incense
smokes on the altar, cold
streams murmur through the

apple branches, a young
rose thicket shades the ground
and quivering leaves pour

down deep sleep; in meadows
where horses have grown sleek
among spring flowers, dill

scents the air. Queen! Cyprian!
Fill our gold cups with love
stirred into clear nectar

Source of the text – Mary Barnard, Sappho: A New Translation.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1958.

[Translation by Anne Carson]

here to me from Krete to this holy temple
where is your graceful grove
of apple trees and altars smoking
            with frankincense.

And in it cold water makes a clear sound through
apple branches and with roses the whole place
is shadowed and down from radiant-shaking leaves
            sleep comes dropping.

And in it a horse meadow has come into bloom
with spring flowers and breezes
like honey are blowing
            [                     ]

In this place you Kypris taking up
in gold cups delicately
nectar mingled with festivities:

Source of the text – Anne Carson, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf: distributed by Random House, 2002.

[Translation by Willis Barnstone]

Afroditi of the Flowers at Knossos

Leave Kriti and come here to this holy
temple with your graceful grove
of apple trees and altars smoking
             with frankincense.

Icy water babbles through apple bracnehs
and roses leave shadow on the ground
and bright shaking leaves pour down
             profound sleep.

Here is a meadow where horses graze
amid wild blossoms of the spring and soft winds
             blow aroma

of honey. Afroditi, take the nectar
and delicately pour it into gold
wine cups and mingle joy with
             our celebration.

Source of the text – The Complete Poems of Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone.  Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2009.

TJB: Booty call? Sappho qua priestess puts the come-hither on Aphrodite, tempting her with springtime sights, sounds, & smells of Sappho’s hood.

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