And in his play called Sappho, Antiphanes represents the poetess herself as proposing griphi, which we may call riddles, in this manner: and then some one else is represented as solving them. For she says—
S. There is a female thing which holds her youngAnd some one, solving this riddle, says—
Safely beneath her bosom; they, though mute,
Cease not to utter a loud sounding voice
Across the swelling sea, and o'er the land,
Speaking to every mortal that they choose;
But those who present are can nothing hear,
Still they have some sensation of faint sound.
B.The female thing you speak of is a city;[p. 712] And so then he introduces Sappho herself solving the riddle, thus—
The children whom it nourishes, orators;
They, crying out, bring from across the sea,
From Asia and from Thrace, all sorts of presents
The people still is near them while they feed on
And pour reproaches ceaselessly around,
While it nor hears nor sees aught that they do.
S. But how, my father, tell me, in God's name,
Can you e'er say an orator is mute,
Unless, indeed, he's been three times convicted?
B. And yet I thought that I did understand
The riddle rightly. Tell me then yourself.
S. The female thing you speak of is a letter,
The young she bears about her is the writing:
They're mute themselves, yet speak to those afar off
Whene'er they please. And yet a bystander,
However near he may be, hears no sound
From him who has received and reads the letter.