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Fragment 1, Hymn to Aphrodite by Sappho


"Hymn to Aphrodite", which is sometimes referred to as "Fragment 1", is a poem written by Sappho. This poem is about a man who Sappho fell in love with. She begs Aphrodite to come and bring her love and beauty so that her man will return to her and bring her gifts and also fall in love. Aphrodite is the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty.

This poem is made up of seven stanzas of four lines each. The poem is written as somewhat of a prayer to the goddess Aphrodite. The first three lines of each stanza are much longer than the fourth.


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 hast thou hearkened--
Heeding, and coming from the mansions golden
          Of thy great Father,

Yoking thy chariot, borne by the most lovely
Consecrated birds, with dusky-tinted pinions,
Waving swift wings from utmost heights of heaven
          Through the mid-ether;

Swiftly they vanished, leaving thee, O goddess,
Smiling, with face immortal in its beauty,
Asking why I grieved, and why in utter longing
          I had dared call thee;

Asking what I sought, thus hopeless in desiring,
Wildered in brain, and spreading nets of passion--
Alas, for whom? and saidst thou, 'Who has harmed thee?
          'O my poor Sappho!

'Though now he flies, ere long he shall pursue thee;
'Fearing thy gifts, he too in turn shall bring them;
'Loveless to-day, to-morrow he shall woo thee,
          'Though thou shouldst spurn him.'

Thus seek me now, O holy Aphrodite!
Save me from anguish; give me all I ask for,
Gifts at thy hand; and thine shall be the glory,
          Sacred protector!

Translated by Edwin Arnold, 1869

Next: The Moon
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Literary Movement
7th Century B.C.

Love, Beauty

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