Author Topic: Sappho poetry and quotes  (Read 13410 times)

stupor

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Sappho poetry and quotes
« on: 04 Feb, 2009, 05:45:53 »
i am pleased to say that i've read all 114 pages of this forum over the past few hours, and MAN this is a generous bunch of antiquity scholars. while my request is for only a temporary tattoo i hope you won't mind addressing it in this thread (i intend on writing these poems on my body with indelible marker for valentine's day as a gift to my girlfriend, a greek philosophy grad student). i'm also aware that my request is enthusiastically over the 12-word allowance, but hopefully my project is simple enough that you won't mind that too much either.

my handwriting is shaky at best and no way will i be able to make the diacritical marks etc legible on my skin, so if you wouldn't mind transliterating these verses into capital letters the bittersweet arrow of love will surely thank you. it may seem like a heap of text but i have some creative ideas as to body placement; i hope you will also understand if i don't offer to send jpgs of the finished work.

(i've appended the wharton translation in all cases. it seems the most authoritative?)

    Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν
    αἶψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος,
    ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ
            γᾶν [ἐπὶ πᾶσαν]

        ...     ἀργυρία   ...

    The stars about the fair moon in their turn hide their bright face when she at about her full lights up all earth with silver.


Ερος δαὖτέ μ' ὀ λυσιμέλης δόνει,
γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον.

    Now Love masters my limbs and shakes me, fatal creature, bitter-sweet.


Ἔρος δαὖτ' ἐτίναξεν ἔμοι φρένας,
ἄνεμος κατ' ὄρος δρύσιν ἐμπέσων.

    Now Eros shakes my soul, a wind on the mountain falling on the oaks.

Δαύοις ἀπάλας ἐτάρας
ἐν στήθεσιν ...

    Sleep thou in the bosom of thy tender girlfriend.



with much sapphic appreciation!
stu
« Last Edit: 22 Mar, 2009, 15:32:38 by spiros »


billberg23

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #1 on: 04 Feb, 2009, 06:37:51 »
my handwriting is shaky at best and no way will i be able to make the diacritical marks etc legible on my skin, so if you wouldn't mind transliterating these verses into capital letters the bittersweet arrow of love will surely thank you.
For such a flagrant devotee of Sappho, we gotta bend the rules.  Here you go:

Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν                   ΑΣΤΕΡΕΣ ΜΕΝ ΑΜΦΙ ΚΑΛΑΝ ΣΕΛΑΝΝΑΝ
    αἶψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος,                 ΑΨ ΑΠΥΚΡΥΠΤΟΙΣΙ ΦΑΕΝΝΟΝ ΕΙΔΟΣ
    ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ                 ΟΠΠΟΤΑ ΠΛΗΘΟΙΣΑ ΜΑΛΙΣΤΑ ΛΑΜΠΗΙ
            γᾶν [ἐπὶ πᾶσαν]                                   ΓΑΝ ΕΠΙ ΠΑΣΑΝ   

        ...     ἀργυρία                                                              ΑΡΓΥΡΙΑ

 Ερος δαὖτέ μ' ὀ λυσιμέλης δόνει,                     ΕΡΩΣ ΔΗΥΤΕ ΜΕ Ο ΛΥΣΙΜΕΛΗΣ ΔΟΝΕΙ
γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον                        ΓΛΥΚΥΠΙΚΡΟΝ ΑΜΑΧΑΝΟΝ ΟΡΠΕΤΟΝ

Ἔρος δαὖτ' ἐτίναξεν ἔμοι φρένας,                     ΕΡΩΣ ΔΕ ΕΤΙΝΑΞΕ ΜΟΙ
ἄνεμος κατ' ὄρος δρύσιν ἐμπέσων.                   ΦΡΕΝΑΣ ΩΣ ΑΝΕΜΟΣ ΚΑΤ ΟΡΟΣ ΔΡΥΣΙΝ ΕΜΠΕΤΩΝ

Δαύοις ἀπάλας ἐτάρας                                      ΔΑΥΟΙΣ ΑΠΑΛΑΣ ΕΤΑΡΑΣ ΕΝ ΣΤΗΘΕΣΙΝ
ἐν στήθεσιν ...

In my capitals, I've corrected some of the Greek to conform to the authoritative edition of Lobel & Page (Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, Oxford 1955).  Have fun!



Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

stupor

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #2 on: 04 Feb, 2009, 07:01:20 »
billberg you are a hero member indeed!

thanks so much and after reading all of these informative posts i can truly say: Γηράσκω δ' αιεί πολλά διδασκόμενος.

all best,
stu


billberg23

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #3 on: 04 Feb, 2009, 15:49:38 »
i am pleased to say that i've read all 114 pages of this forum over the past few hours
Clarification:  Stu is referring to "Tattoos and Ancient Greek," where this thread was originally posted!
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

billberg23

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #4 on: 22 Mar, 2009, 01:44:35 »
For a thousand years or so in Egypt, undertakers recycled paper for use in wrapping mummies.  The soaked scraps of papyrus encasing the corpse, when dry, could be painted and decorated with symbols appropriate for an afterlife in the “western lands,” an eternity of drinking beer and eating cake — at least until the mummy was disturbed by a thoughtless archaeologist.  When that happens, and the wrappings are peeled from the mummy, they are often found to be scraps of literary papyri containing works that would otherwise have been lost to the ages.  Such is the case with the new poem of Sappho, finally pieced together and published in 2004, from a scrap known as the “Cologne papyrus.”  It is only the fourth complete poem by Sappho in existence.

A part of it had been discovered back in 1926 on a mummy-wrapping of the third century A.D.  The rest of the poem appeared only a few years ago on a mummy-wrapping of the third century B.C. (making it the oldest Sappho-papyrus, only three centuries younger than the poet herself). For more information, see http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/ifa/NRWakademie/papyrologie/Verstreutepub/21351_ZPE147.html and
http://www1.union.edu/wareht/story.html

The poem is from the fourth book of Σαπφοῦς Μέλη, a collection of the Alexandrian period.  It is a poem about old age and bears a similarity to Sappho’s “pathographic” poem (Φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος — see https://www.translatum.gr/forum/index.php?topic=35673.0) in that it describes her own physical experience and ends with the gesture, “Oh well, what can we do, it’s beyond our control.” 

All of the new poem can now be read, with the exception of a word or two in the third line from the end.  In brackets, in the following text, I have suggested a reading of the missing letters.  You can check the papyrus yourselves to see if you think it fits: 

http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/ifa/PK21351+21376r.JPG

ὔμμες πεδὰ Μοίσαν ἰοκόλπων κάλα δῶρα, παῖδες,
σπουδάσδετε καὶ τὰν φιλάοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν·

ἔμοι δ’ ἄπαλον πρίν ποτ’ ἔοντα χρόα γῆρας ἤδη
ἐπέλλαβε, λεῦκαι δ’ ἐγένοντο τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν·

βάρυς δὲ μ’ ὀ θῦμος πεπόηται, γόνα δ’ οὐ φέροισι,
τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ’ ἔον ὄρχησθ’ ἴσα νεβρίοισι.

τὰ μὲν στεναχίσδω θαμέως·  ἀλλὰ τί κεν ποείην;
ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ’ οὐ δύνατον γένεσθαι.

καὶ γάρ ποτα Τίθωνον ἔφαντο βροδόπαχυν Αὔων
ἔρωι [μάλ’ ἰεῖσαν] βάμεν’ εἰς ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισαν,

ἔοντα κάλον καὶ νέον, ἀλλ’ αὖτον ὔμως ἔμαρψε
χρόνωι πόλιον γῆρας, ἔχοντ’ ἀθανάταν ἄκοιτιν. 

Come practice the gifts, beautiful gifts violet-girt Muses have given!
Take hold of the lyre, tortoise-shell lyre, song-loving, shrill, my children!

My own tender skin — once-tender skin — taken away by age now!
My hair gone all white, all trace of black taken away by age now!

Once-vigorous life’s heavy to bear, shaky the knees that used to
Spring, making me dance, nimble and light, light as a fawn in those days …

Oh, often I make bitter complaints — what’s there for me to do, though?
There’s no way for you, no way for me, not to get old forever.

Tithonus, they say — long, long ago — rosy-armed Dawn took with her,
Right up to the last limits of earth  (Love drove her on, relentless);

Young, handsome he was;  nevertheless, hoary old age waylaid him
With time moving on — no help for him, claiming a goddess for bedmate!


Finally, I append my translation.  Though it’s a relatively free rendering, it still tries to keep to the original rhythm of Sappho, the sensual “greater Asclepiadeian” meter, which, greatly oversimplified, goes like this:  ˘ | ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ | ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ | ¯ ˘ ˘ | ¯ ˘ | ¯ ˘
I don’t know if it’s been done well into Greek so far;  if not, could one of you please do it?
« Last Edit: 23 Mar, 2009, 01:32:53 by billberg23 »
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

vbd.

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #5 on: 22 Mar, 2009, 09:13:39 »
Hey, I gave it a try (without however attempting to keep the original meter).



ὔμμες πεδὰ Μοίσαν ἰοκόλπων κάλα δῶρα, παῖδες,
σπουδάσδετε καὶ τὰν φιλάοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν·

ἔμοι δ’ ἄπαλον πρίν ποτ’ ἔοντα χρόα γῆρας ἤδη
ἐπέλλαβε, λεῦκαι δ’ ἐγένοντο τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν·

βάρυς δὲ μ’ ὀ θῦμος πεπόηται, γόνα δ’ οὐ φέροισι,
τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ’ ἔον ὄρχησθ’ ἴσα νεβρίοισι.

τὰ μὲν στεναχίσδω θαμέως·  ἀλλὰ τί κεν ποείην;
ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ’ οὐ δύνατον γένεσθαι.

καὶ γάρ ποτα Τίθωνον ἔφαντο βροδόπαχυν Αὔων
ἔρωι [μάλ’ ἰεῖσαν] βάμεν’ εἰς ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισαν,

ἔοντα κάλον καὶ νέον, ἀλλ’ αὖτον ὔμως ἔμαρψε
χρόνωι πόλιον γῆρας, ἔχοντ’ ἀθανάταν ἄκοιτιν. 

με θέρμη, κορίτσια, ζητήστε τα ωραία των ιοζώνων Μουσών δώρα
και παίχτε τη χελωνόσχημη και τραγουδιάρα λύρα.

το δέρμα που κάποτε ήταν απαλό τα γερατιά
το πήραν, και μαύρα που ήταν τα μαλλιά μου τώρα έγιναν λευκά·

σκοτείνιασε η καρδιά μου, τα πόδια πια δεν με κρατούν
και ας κάποτε ήμουν στο χορό σαν ελαφάκι σβέλτη.

και σαν θυμάμαι αναστενάζω· μα τι άλλο να κάνω;
αγέραστος ο άνθρωπος δεν γίνεται να γίνει.

μέχρι και ο Τίθων που 'λεγαν πως πήρε η Αυγή
στην άκρη η ροδοχαίρα να πάνε από έρωτα της γης

ωραίος που ήταν και νέος, και αυτόν ακόμη πρόλαβαν
τα γκρίζα γερατιά, και ας είχε στο κρεβάτι του αθάνατη για γυναίκα.

« Last Edit: 22 Mar, 2009, 09:56:59 by spiros »
At last, I have peace.


spiros

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #6 on: 22 Mar, 2009, 10:11:23 »
Bill, I very much like your free translation -:)

billberg23

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #7 on: 22 Mar, 2009, 15:22:46 »
Vbd's translation has the advantage of being more faithful to the text.  I especially liked (to name just one example) his αγέραστος ο άνθρωπος δεν γίνεται να γίνει.  It caused me to emend my English translation of that line, and I'm still not happy with it.  Meter can impose cruel constraints!  (And make us admire Sappho all the more.)  (-:
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

spiros

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Re: Sappho quotes
« Reply #8 on: 22 Mar, 2009, 15:31:22 »
That is why collaborative translation of poetry is so exciting; one can keep improving the translation on the basis of the insights of the others. Much like an advanced crossword puzzle for pro players.