ISBN-10: 0520223128

ISBN-13: 9780520223127

Edition: 2nd 1958

List price: $15.95
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These hundred poems and fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct--the best ever published. She has rendered the beloved poet's verses, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.
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Book details

List price: $15.95
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 1958
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/8/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 124
Size: 4.75" wide x 7.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

Sappho, whom Plato (see Vols. 3 and 4) called "the tenth Muse," was the greatest of the early Greek lyric poets. She was born at Mytilene on Lesbos and was a member---perhaps the head---of a group of women who honored the Muses and Aphrodite. Her family was aristocratic; it is said that she was married and had a daughter. Her brilliant love lyrics, marriage songs, and hymns to the gods are written in Aeolic dialect in many meters, one of which is named for her---the Sapphic. Mostly fragments survive of the nine books she is thought to have authored. Her verse is simple and direct, exquisitely passionate and vivid. Catullus, Ovid, and Swinburne (see Vol. 1) were among the many later poets she influenced.

Mary E. Barnard is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at Penn State University.

Dudley Fitts (1903-1968), a renowned poet, critic and translator, authored and translated over 20 books. One of the preeminent twentieth century scholars of Greek literature, his English translations of the ancient Greek classics are much praised for their accessibility and their appeal to contemporary readers.

Tell everyone
We shall enjoy it
Standing by my bed
I asked myself
And I said
I confess
At noontime
I took my lyre and said
Although they are
That afternoon
We heard them chanting
It's no use
People do gossip
Peace reigned in heaven
When I saw Eros
You are the herdsman of evening
Sleep, darling
Although clumsy
Tomorrow you had better
We put the urn aboard ship
Cyprian, in my dream
In the spring twilight
And their feet move
Awed by her splendor
Now, while we dance
The evening star
It is time now
For her sake
Hymen Hymenaon!
We drink your health
Bridesmaids' carol I
Bridesmaids' carol II
They're locked in, oh!
Lament for a maidenhead
You wear her livery
Why am I crying?
You know the place: then
Prayer to my lady of Paphos
He is more than a hero
Yes, Atthis, you may be sure
To an army wife, in Sardis
I have had not one word from her
It was you, Atthis, who said
Without warning
If you will come
Thank you, my dear
I was so happy
Now I know why Eros
She was dressed well
But you, monkey face
I was prod of you, too
After all this
With his venom
Afraid of losing you
It is clear now
Day in, day out
You will say
Tell me
I said, Sappho
You may forget but
Pain penetrates
The nightingale's
Last night
Tonight I've watched
Many's the time
At my age
That was different
This way, that way
My lovely friends
I ask you, sir, to
Of course I love you
Yes, it is pretty
I hear that Andromeda
Sappho, when some fool
Strange to say
I taught the talented
Really, Gorgo
As you love me
Greetings to Gorgo
Rich as you are
Don't ask me what to wear
If you are squeamish
Before they were mothers
Experience shows us
We know this much
Say what you please
Then the god of war
As for the exiles
In memory
Do you remember
Be kind to me
You remind me
When they were tired
The gods bless you
I have often asked you
It is the Muses
Must I remind you, Cleis
I have no complaint
A Footnote to These Translations
Descriptive Index
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