Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sappho's girl-garden

This is my painting of Eranna Gyrinna Gyara and Gorgo, the young girls Sappho has written the poem below for.


This is my song of maidens dear to me.
Eranna, a slight girl I counted thee,
When first I looked upon thy form and face,
Slim as a reed, and all devoid of grace.
But stately stature, grace and beauty came
Unto thee with the years — O, dost not shame
For this, Eranna, that thy pride hath grown
Therewith? Alas for thee ! I have not known
One beauty ever of more scornful mien,
As though thou wert of all earth's daughters queen!
Mnasidica is comelier, perchance,
Than my Gyrinna — ah, but sweetly rings
Gyrinna's matchless voice ! In rapture-trance
I listen, listen, while Gyrinna sings.
Hero of Gyara is fleet of foot
As fawns, and as light-footed in the dance,
The dance taught by the measures of my lute.
Ever-impassioned Gorgo! — is it strange
That I grow weary of the change on change
Of thine adored ones? — of thy rhapsodies
O'er each new girlfriend, while the old love dies?
Joy to thee, daughter of a princely race,
For thy last dear one! Lie in her embrace —
Till shines a new star on thy raptured eyes!
Fonder of maids thou art, I trow, than she.
The ghost who nightly steal young girls, to be
In Hades of her woeful company.
This is my fair girl-garden: sweet they grow —
Rose, violet, asphodel and lily's snow;
And which the sweetest is, I do not know;
For rosy arms and starry eyes are there.
Honey-sweet voices and cheeks passing fair.
And these shall men, I ween, remember long;
For these shall bloom for ever in my song. 

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