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Sappho, fragments 16-32 (Bergk), from Wharton's Sappho. including fragments on Anacreon, Alcaeus, and more, with translations by several hands, and contexts by Wharton.

Fr. 16

But their heart turned cold and they dropt their wings.
H. T. Wharton

In Pindar, Pyth. i. 10, the eagle of Zeus, delighted by music, drops his wings, and the Scholiast quotes this fragment to show that Sappho says the same of doves.


Fr. 17

According to my weeping: it and all care let buffeting winds bear away.
H. T. Wharton
Him the wanderer o'er the world
    Far away the winds will bear,
        And restless care.
Frederick Tennyson.

From the Etymologicum Magnum, to show that the Aeolians used z in the place of ss[?] .  Amoi is a guess of Bergk's for anemoi, 'winds.'


Fr. 18

Me just now the golden-sandalled Dawn ...
H. T. Wharton
Me but now Aurora the golden-sandalled.
J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Quoted by Ammonius of Alexandria, at the close of the fourth century A.D., to show Sappho's use of artiôs.


Fr. 19

A broidered strap of fair Lydian work covered her feet.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by the Scholiast on Aristophanes' Peace, 1174; and also by Pollux, about 180 A.D. Blass thinks the lines may have referred to an apparition of Aphrodite.


Fr. 20

Shot with a thousand hues.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by the Scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes, i. 727, in speaking of Jason's double-folded mantle having been reddish instead of flame-coloured. Some think, however, that Sappho here refers to Iris, i.e. the rainbow.


Fr. 21

... Me thou forgettest.
H. T. Wharton

From Apollonius, as is also the following, to show the Aeolic use of emethen for emou, 'of me.'


Fr. 22

Or lovest another more than me.
H. T. Wharton


Fr. 23

Ye are nought to me.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Apollonius, as is also the following fragment, to show that humeis was in Aeolic hummes, 'you.'


Fr. 24

While ye will.
H. T. Wharton


Fr. 25

I yearn and seek ...
H. T. Wharton

From the Etymologicum Magnum, to show that the Aeolians used pothêô for potheô, 'I yearn.'


Fr. 26

O Muse of the golden throne, raise that strain which the reverend elder of Teos, from the goodly land of fair women, used to sing so sweetly.
H. T. Wharton
O Muse, who sitt'st on golden throne,
Full many a hymn of dulcet tone
        The Teian sage is taught by thee;
But, goddess, from thy throne of gold,
The sweetest hymn thou 'st ever told
        He lately learned and sang for me.
T. Moore.

Athenaeus says 'Hermesianax was mistaken when he represented Sappho and Anacreon as contemporaries, for Anacreon lived in the time of Cyrus and Polycrates [probably 563-478 B.C.], but Sappho lived in the reign of Alyattes the father of Croesus. But Chamaeleon, in his treatise on Sappho, asserts that according to some these verses were made upon her by Anacreon:--

"Spirit of Love, whose tresses shine
Along the breeze in golden twine,
Come, within a fragrant cloud
Blushing with light, thy votary shroud,
And on those wings that sparkling play
Waft, oh waft me hence away!
        Love, my soul is full of thee,
Alive to all thy luxury.
But she, the nymph for whom I glow,
The pretty Lesbian, mocks my woe,
Smiles at the hoar and silvery hues
Which Time upon my forehead strews.
        Alas, I fear she keeps her charms
In store for younger, happier arms."'
T. Moore.

Then follows Sappho's reply, the present fragment. 'I myself think,' Athenaeus goes on to say, 'that Hermesianax is joking concerning the love of Anacreon and Sappho, for Diphilus the comic poet, in his play called Sappho, has represented Archilochus and Hipponax as the lovers of Sappho.'

Probably the whole is spurious, for certainly Sappho never saw Anacreon: she must have died before he was born. Even Athenaeus says that it is clear to every one that the verses are not Sappho's.



Fr. 27

When anger spreads through the breast, guard thy tongue from barking idly.
H. T. Wharton
When through thy breast wild wrath doth spread
    And work thy inmost being harm,
Leave thou the fiery word unsaid,
        Guard thee; be calm.
Michael Field, 1889.

Quoted by Plutarch, in his treatise On Restraining Anger, to show that in wrath nothing is more noble than quietness. Blass thinks that Bergk is wrong in his restoration of the verses; he considers their metre more choriambic (like fr. 64, ff.), and reads them thus:

.... skidnamenas stêthesin orgas pephulagmena (?)
glôssan mapsulakan ...

He compares fr. 72 with them.



Fr. 28

Hadst thou felt desire for things good or noble, and had not thy tongue framed some evil speech, shame had not filled thine eyes, but thou hadst spoken honestly about it.
H. T. Wharton

I fain would speak, I fain would tell,
But shame and fear my utterance quell.

If aught of good, if aught of fair
Thy tongue were labouring to declare,
Nor shame should dash thy glance, nor fear
Forbid thy suit to reach my ear.
Edin. Rev., 1832, p. 190.

Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, i. 9, about 330 B.C, says 'base things dishonour those who do or wish them, as Sappho showed when Alcaeus said [Greek omitted] -- "Violet-weaving, pure, softly-smiling Sappho, I would say something, but shame restrains me"' (cf supra, p. 8), and she answered him in the words of the present fragment.

Blass (Rhein. Mus. 1879, XXIX. p. 150) believes that these verses also are Sappho's, not Alcaeus'. Certainly they were quoted as Sappho's by Anna Comnena, about 1110 A.D., as well as by another writer whom Blass refers to. Blass would read the last line ... [Greek omitted] ... about that which thou didst pretend.



Fr. 29

Stand face to face, friend ... and unveil the grace in thine eyes.
H. T. Wharton

Athenaeus, speaking of the charm of lovers' eyes, says Sappho addressed this to a man who was admired above all others for his beauty. Bergk thinks it may have formed part of an ode to Phaon (cf. fr. 140), or of a bridal song; and A. Schoene suspects that it was possibly addressed to Sappho's brother. The metre is quite uncertain.


[This is a very unsatisfactory category. Some of the fragments, e.g. 30-43, are in Aeolian dactyls, wherein the second foot is always a dactyl; 44-49 are Glyconics; 50-54 are in the Ionic a majore metre; some others are Asclepiads, etc. But where so much is uncertain, it seems to be the simplest way to group them thus. (Wharton's brackets and note)]


Fr. 30

And golden pulse grew on the shores.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Athenaeus, when he is speaking of vetches.


Fr. 31

Leto and Niobe were friends full dear.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Athenaeus for the same reason as fr. 11. Compare also fr. 143.


Fr. 32

Men I think will remember us even hereafter.
H. T. Wharton

Compare Swinburne's--

          Thou art more than I,
Though my voice die not till the whole world die.


Memories shall mix and metaphors of me.


I Sappho shall be one with all these things,
With all high things for ever.

Dio Chrysostom, the celebrated Greek rhetorician, writing about 100 A.D., observes that Sappho says this 'with perfect beauty.'

To illustrate this use of phami, Bergk quotes a fragment preserved by Plutarch, which may have been written by Sappho: [Greek omitted]

I think I have a goodly portion in the violet-weaving Muses.

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