Deathless Aphrodite on Your Lavish Throne

(Sappho, Fragment 1)

translated by Peter Saint-Andre

Deathless Aphrodite on your lavish throne,
Enchantress, daughter of Zeus: I beg you, queen,
Do not overpower my soul with heartaches
   And hardest troubles,

But come here, if ever at another time
Having heard my voice you paid me attention
And leaving the golden house of your father
   You came to my aid,

Yoking your horse and chariot: gorgeous swift
Sparrows carried you over the coal-black earth,
Thickly whirling their feathers through the middle
   Of heaven's ether.

Swiftly they arrived, and you, O blessed one,
Smiling with your immortal face, you asked for
What I suffered, and why again I call you,
And what in my maddened soul I want most
To happen to me: what dear one shall I now
Persuade to lead you back to her — who, Sappho,
   Has wronged you this time?

Even if she flees, swiftly she will pursue;
If she doesn't receive my gifts, she will give;
If she doesn't love me, swiftly she will love —
Even against her will. So come to my aid,
Release me from my grievous cares, and fulfill
What my heart yearns to be fulfilled: come and be
   My fellow-fighter.


Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire