No woman can say she’s been truly loved
As my Lesbia has been loved by me.
Nothing counted on in any compact
Was ever so assured as what’s been found,
On my side, in my love, for you.
Sappho, Fr. 94 (strophes 1-3)
To be honest, I wish I were dead.
With a lot of crying, she left me,
And had this to say:
“How dreadful a thing we’ve suffered, Sappho!
On my word, I left you reluctantly.”
This was my reply:
“Farewell! Go! But remember me,
For you know how we cared for you.”
Nulla potest mulier tantum se dicere amatam
vere, quantum a me Lesbia amata mea es
nulla fides ullo fuit unquam in foedere tanta
quanta in amore tuo ex parte reperta mea est.
τεθνάκην δ’ ἀδόλως, θέλω·
ἀ με ψισδομένα κατελίμπανεν
πόλλα καὶ τόδ’ ἔειπέ [. .
ὤιμ’ ὠς δεῖνα πεπ[όνθ]αμεν,
Ψάπφ’, ἦ μάν σ’ ἀέκοισ’ ἀπυλιμπάνω.
τὰν δ’ ἔγω τάδ’ ἀμειβόμαν·
χαίροισ’ ἔρχεο κἄμεθεν
μέμναισ’, οἶσθα γὰρ ὤς σε πεδήπομεν·
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 featsofgreek.blogspot.com.