Sappho ❤️ Paulus

An imagined situation: 

The poet Paulus Silentiarius (6th C. CE) complains to a confidant that his beloved, Sappho, is something of a cold fish. 

Meanwhile, Sappho (c.6th C. BCE) admits to the same confidant that actually, she’s overcome with lust whenever Paulus is around:  

Paulus Silentiarius 5.246 (Greek Anthology)

Soft are Sappho’s kisses!
Soft her embracing snow-white arms!
All of her body, soft.

But her heart, it’s steely and unyielding–
See how she loves to kiss, yet minds her chastity.

Who could bear this?
Perhaps, just perhaps, the stoical man
Who could easily bear Tantalus’s thirst.

Sappho Fr. 130.

Again, limb-liberating Lust rattles me.
He’s a beast both sweet and bitter
And cannot be fought off.

Paulus Silentiarius 5.246 (Greek Anthology)

μαλθακὰ μὲν Σαπφοῦς τὰ φιλήματα, μαλθακὰ γυίων
πλέγματα χιονέων, μαλθακὰ πάντα μέλη:
ψυχὴ δ᾽ ἐξ ἀδάμαντος ἀπειθέος: ἄχρι γὰρ οἴων
ἔστιν ἔρως στομάτων, τἆλλα δὲ παρθενίης.
καὶ τίς ὑποτλαίη; τάχα τις τάχα τοῦτο ταλάσσας
δίψαν Τανταλέην τλήσεται εὐμαρέως.

Sappho.Fr. 130.

Ἔρος δηὖτέ μ’ ὀ λυσιμέλης δόνει,
γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον.

Edward Munch. The Kiss. 1895.
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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