Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

Sappho of Lesbos (fragment 68)

In the cold grave where thou shalt lie
All memory too of thee shall die,
Who in this life's auspicious hours
Disdained Pieria's genial flowers;
And in the mansions of the dead,
With the vile crowd of ghosts, thy shade,
While nobler spirits point with scorn,
Shall flit neglected and forlorn.

Aspirations for immortal pursuits and other exhortations from the dreams of mere mortals... Charaxos, heed your sister's prayers and admonitions and repent by following her example...

Kypris and you Nereids, grant
that my brother arrive here unharmed
and that everything his heart wishes
be perfectly achieved;

grant too that he atone for all his past errors
and that he prove a source of joy to his friends
and sorrow to his enemies; and to us may no one
ever again bring trouble.

May he be willing to give his sister
her share of honor, and grievous sorrow . . .
. . . formerly in distress . . .

--Sappho of Lesbos

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