But in this Hermesianax is mistaken where he represents Sappho and Anacreon as contemporaries. For the one lived in the time of Cyrus and Polycrates; but Sappho lived in the reign of Alyattes, the father of Croesus. But Chameleon, in his treatise on Sappho, does assert that some people say that these verses were made upon her by Anacreon—
Love, the golden-haired god,And he says, too, that Sappho says this to him—
Struck me with his purple ball,
[p. 956] And with his many wiles doth seize
And challenge me to sport with him.
But she-and she from Lesbos comes,
That populous and wealthy isle—
Laughs at my hair and calls it grey,
And will prefer a younger lover.
You, O my golden-throned muse,But it is plain enough in reality that this piece of poetry is not Sappho's. And I think myself that Hermesianax is joking concerning the love of Anacreon and Sappho. For Diphilus the comic poet, in his play called Sappho, has represented Archilochus and Hipponax as the lovers of Sappho. Now it appears to me, my friends, that I have displayed some diligence in getting up this amorous catalogue for you, as I myself am not a person so mad about love as Cynulcus, with his calumnious spirit, has represented me. I confess, indeed, that I am amorous, but I do deny that I am frantic on the subject.
Did surely dictate that sweet hymn,
Which the noble Teian bard,
From the fair and fertile isle,
Chief muse of lovely womanhood,
Sang with his dulcet voice.
And why should I dilate upon my sorrows,as Aeschylus the Alexandrian has said in his Amphitryon. And this is the same Aeschylus who composed the Messenian poems—a man entirely without any education.
When I may hide them all in night and silence?