Sappho or Catullus: Who To Believe?

Sappho: Fr. 48

You came,
I sought after you,
And you cooled my soul burnt up with longing.

Catullus 70

My woman says there’s nobody she prefers to marry
than me—not even if Jupiter himself wooed her,
She says. But what a woman says to a burning lover
One should scribble in the breeze and in the fast-flowing water.


Ἦλθες ἔγω δέ σ’ ἐμαιόμαν,
ὂν δ’ ἔψυξας ἔμαν φρένα καιομέναν πόθῳ.


Nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle
quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat.
dicit: sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti
in vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

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