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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays 2 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, Sappho. (search)
entombed with her. This dust was Timas'; ere her bridal hour She lies in Proserpina's gloomy bower; Her virgin playmates from each lovely head Cut with sharp steel their locks, the strewments for the dead. These are only fragments; but of the single complete poem that remains to us from Sappho, I shall venture on a translation, which can claim only to be tolerably literal, and to keep, in some degree, to the Sapphic metre. Yet I am cheered by the remark of an old grammarian, Demetrius Phalereus, that Sappho's whole poetry is so perfectly musical and harmonious, that even the harshest voice or most awkward recital can hardly render it unpleasing to the ear. Let us hope that the Muses may extend some such grace, even to a translation. Hymn to Aphrodite. Beautiful-throned, immortal Aphrodite! Daughter of Zeus, beguiler, I implore thee, Weigh me not down with weariness and anguish, O thou most holy! Come to me now! if ever thou in kindness Hearkenedst my words,--and often