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Sappho, fragments 96-120 (Bergk), from Wharton's Sappho. including fragments on A bridegoom's blessing, Maidenhood lost, Timas, Pelagon, and more, with translations by several hands, and contexts by Wharton.

Fr. 96

I shall be ever maiden.
H. T. Wharton

From a Parisian MS. edited by Cramer, adduced to show the Aeolic form of aei, 'ever.'

Fr. 97

We will give, says the father . . .
H. T. Wharton

From a Parisian MS. edited by Cramer.

Fr. 98

To the doorkeeper feet seven fathoms long, and sandals of five bulls' hides, the work of ten cobblers.
H. T. Wharton

From Hephaestion, as an example of metre. Demetrius says: 'And elsewhere Sappho girds at the rustic bridegroom and the doorkeeper ready for the wedding, in prosaic rather than poetic phrase, as if she were reasoning rather than singing, using words out of harmony with dance and song.'

Fr. 99

Happy bridegroom, now is thy wedding come to thy desire, and thou hast the maiden of thy desire.
H. T. Wharton
Happy bridegroom, thou art blest
With blisses far beyond the rest,
        For thou hast won
        The chosen one,
The girl thou lovest best.
Frederick Tennyson

Quoted by Hephaestion, along with the following, to exemplify metres; both fragments seem to belong to the same ode.

Fr. 100

And a soft [paleness] is spread over the lovely face.
H. T. Wharton

In the National Library of Madrid there is a MS. of an epithalamium by Choricius, a rhetorician of Gaza, who flourished about 520 A.D., in which the lamented Ch. Graux (Revue de Philologie, 1880, p. 81) found a quotation from Sappho which is partly identical with this fragment preserved by Hephaestion. H. Weil thus attempts to restore the passage:--[Greek omitted]

Well favoured is thy form, and thine eyes . . .
honeyed, and love is spread over thy fair face . . .
Aphrodite has honored thee above all.

Two apparent imitations by Catullus are quoted by Weil to confirm his restoration of Sappho's verses; viz., mellitos oculos, honeyed eyes (48, 1), and pulcher es, neque te Venus negligit, fair thou art, nor does Venus neglect thee (61, 194).

Fr. 101

He who is fair to look upon is [good], and he who is good will soon be fair also.
H. T. Wharton
Beauty, fair flower, upon the surface lies;
But worth with beauty e'en in aspect vies.

Galen, the physician, writing about 160 A.D., says: 'It is better therefore, knowing that the beauty of youth is like Spring flowers, its pleasure lasting but a little while, to approve of what the Lesbian [here] says, and to believe Solon when he points out the same.'

Fr. 102

Do I still long for maidenhood?
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Apollonius, and by the Scholiast on Dionysius of Thrace, to illustrate the interrogative particle ara, Aeolic êra and as an example of the catalectic iambic.

Fr. 103

The bride [comes] rejoicing; let the bridegroom rejoice.
H. T. Wharton

From Hephaestion, as a catalectic iambic.

Fr. 104

Whereunto may I well liken thee, dear bridegroom?
To a soft shoot may I best liken thee.
H. T. Wharton

From Hephaestion, as an example of metre.

Fr. 105

Hail, bride! noble bridegroom, all hail!
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Servius, about 390 A.D., on Vergil, Georg. i. 31; also referred to by Pollux and Julian.

Fr. 106

For there was no other girl, O bridegroom, like her.
H. T. Wharton

From Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Fr. 107, 108

Sing Hymenaeus!
Ah for Adonis!
H. T. Wharton

From Plotius, about the fifth or sixth century A.D., to show the metre of Sappho's hymeneal odes. The text is corrupt; the first verse is thus emended by Bergk, the second by Scaliger. Cf. fr. 63


Fr. 109

A. Maidenhood, maidenhood, whither art thou gone away from me!
B. Never again will I come to thee, never again.
H. T. Wharton
'Sweet Rose of May, sweet Rose of May,
Whither, ah whither fled away?'
'What's gone no time can e'er restore--
I come no more, I come no more.'
J. H. Merivale

From Demetrius, who quoted the fragment to show the grace of Sappho's style and the beauty of repetition.

Fr. 110

Fool, faint not thou in thy strong heart.
H. T. Wharton

From a very corrupt passage in Herodian. The translation is from Bergk's former emendation--

'Alla mê kame sterean phrena.

Fr. 111

To himself he seems . . .
H. T. Wharton

From Apollonius, to show that the Aeolians used the digamma. Bergk says this fragment does not belong to fr. 2.

Fr. 112

Much whiter than an egg.
H. T. Wharton

From Athenaeus; cf. frs. 56 and 122.

Fr. 113

Neither honey nor bee for me.
H. T. Wharton

A proverb quoted by many late authors, referring to those who wish for good unmixed with evil. They seem to be the words of the bride. This, and the second line of fr. 62, and many other verses, show Sappho's fondness for alliteration; frs. 4 and 5, among several others, show that she did not ignore the charm of assonance.

Fr. 114

Stir not the shingle.

Quoted by the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius to show that cherades were 'little heaps of stones.'

Fr. 115

Thou burnest us.
H. T. Wharton

Compare Swinburne's--

My life is bitter with thy love; thine eyes
Blind me, thy tresses burn me, thy sharp sighs
Divide my flesh and spirit with soft sound, etc.

Quoted by Apollonius to show the Aeolic form of hêmas, 'us.'

Fr. 116

A napkin dripping.
H. T. Wharton

From the Scholiast on Aristophanes' Plutus, quoted to show the meaning of hêmitubion, 'a half worn out shred of linen with which to wipe the hands.'

Fr. 117

She called him her son.
H. T. Wharton

Quoted by Apollonius to' show the Aeolic use of the digamma.


All three are preserved only in the Greek Anthology. The authenticity of the last, fr. 120, is doubtful. To none of them does Bergk restore the form of the Aeolic dialect.

Fr. 118

Maidens, dumb as I am, I speak thus, if any ask, and set before your feet a tireless voice: To Leto's daughter Aethopia was I dedicated by Arista daughter of Hermocleides son of Saonaiades, thy servant, O queen of women; whom bless thou, and deign to glorify our house.
H. T. Wharton

Does any ask? I answer from the dead;
A voice that lives is graven o'er my head:
To dark-eyed Dian, ere my days begun,
Aristo vowed me, wife of Saon's son:
Then hear thy priestess, hear, O virgin Power,
And thy best gifts on Saon's lineage shower.

The goddess here invoked as the 'queen of women' appears to have been Artemis, the Diana of the Romans.

Fr. 119

This is the dust of Timas, whom Persephone's dark chamber received, dead before her wedding; when she perished, all her fellows dressed with sharpened steel the lovely tresses of their heads.
H. T. Wharton
This dust was Timas'; ere her bridal hour
She lies in Proserpina's gloomy bower;
Her virgin playmates from each lovely head
Cut with sharp steel their locks, their strewments for the dead.
Sir Charles Elton
This is the dust of Timas, whom unwed
Persephone locked in her darksome bed:
For her the maids who were her fellows shore
Their curls, and to her tomb this tribute bore.
J. A. Symonds

Fr. 120

Over the fisherman Pelagon his father Meniscus set weel and oar, memorial of a luckless life.
H. T. Wharton
This oar and net and fisher's wickered snare
    Meniscus placed above his buried son--
Memorials of the lot in life he bare,
    The hard and needy life of Pelagon.
Sir Charles A. Elton.

Here, to the fisher Pelagan, his sire Meniscus laid
A wicker-net and oar, to show his weary life and trade.
Lord Neaves
Above a fisher's tomb
Were set his withy-basket and his oar,
The tokens of his doom,
Of how in life his labour had been sore:
A father put them up above his son,
Meniscus over luckless Pelagon.
Michael Field, 1889.

Bergk sees no reason to accept the voice of tradition in attributing this epigram to Sappho.

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