Hymn to Aphrodite  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hymn to Aphrodite is a poem by Sappho. It is the only complete poem called "Fragment 1, the Hymn to Aphrodite", quoted in its entirety as a model of the "polished and exuberant" style of composition by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, with admiration of its consummate artistry:

"Here the euphonious effect and the grace of the language arise from the coherence and smoothness of the junctures. The words nestle close to one another and are woven together according to certain affinities and natural attractions of the letters."

English

translated by Edwin Marion Cox

Shimmering-throned immortal Aphrodite,
Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee,
Spare me, O queen, this agony and anguish,
Crush not my spirit.
Whenever before thou has hearkened to me—
To my voice calling to thee in the distance,
And heeding, thou hast come, leaving thy father's
Golden dominions,
With chariot yoked to thy fleet-winged coursers,
Fluttering swift pinions over earth's darkness,
And bringing thee through the infinite, gliding
Downwards from heaven,
Then, soon they arrived and thou, blessed goddess,
With divine contenance smiling, didst ask me
What new woe had befallen me now and why,
Thus I had called thee.
What in my mad heart was my greatest desire,
Who was it now that must feel my allurements,
Who was the fair one that must be persuaded,
Who wronged thee Sappho?


For if now she flees, quickly she shall follow
And if she spurns gifts, soon shall she offer them
Yea, if she knows not love, soon shall she feel it
Even reluctant.


Come then, I pray, grant me surcease from sorrow,
Drive away care, I beseech thee, O goddess
Fulfil for me what I yearn to accomplish,
Be thou my ally.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hymn to Aphrodite" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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