Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

After Sappho, fragment 16

Some see a matchless beauty in the sights of war:
in lines of fighting men, on horseback or on foot,
about to charge; or battleships abreast the waves.
I see perfection in the objects of our love
and my philosophy is easy to explain.
Consider Helen. Of a beauty unsurpassed,
she nonetheless abandoned husband, parents, child
and, led astray by love, went sailing off to Troy.
Her crazy impulse then emboldens me today:
alas, my Anactoria, you are not here!
I’d rather see your lovely walk, your sweet, bright smile
than all the Lydians’ chariots and men at arms.
If music be the food of love, I’m playing on.
I’m asking only for a part of what we had,
but surely half a loaf is better than no bread!

Sappho, Fragment 16

Ο]ἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων

οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ᾽ ἐπὶ γᾶν μέλαιναν

ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον ἔγω δὲ κῆν᾽ ὄτ -
     
τω τὶσ ἔπαται· 

πά]γχυ δ᾽ εὔμαρεσ σύνετον πόησαι

πά]ντι τ[οῦ]τ᾽, ἀ γὰρ πόλυ περσκόπεισα

κά]λλοσ [ἀνθ]ρώπων Ἐλένα [τὸ]ν ἄνδρα
     
τον [πανάρ] ιστον, 

ὂσ τὸ πὰν] σέβασ τροΐα[σ ὄ]λεσσ[ε,
κωὐδὲ πα]ῖδοσ οὔδε [φίλ]ων το[κ]ήων
μᾶλλον] ἐμνάσθη, ἀ[λλὰ] παράγαγ᾽ αὔταν
     
πῆλε φίλει]σαν, 

Ὠροσ. εὔκ]αμπτον γαρ [ἀεὶ τὸ θῆλυ]

αἴ κέ] τισ κούφωσ τ[ὸ πάρον ν]οήσῃ.

οὐ]δὲ νῦν, Ἀνακτορί[α, τ]ὺ μέμναι
     
δὴ] παρειοῖσασ, 

τᾶ]σ κε βολλοίμαν ἔρατόν τε βᾶμα

κ]αμάρυγμα λάμπρον ἴδην προσώπω

η τὰ λύδων ἄρματα κἀν ὄπλοισι
     
πεσδομ]άχεντασ 

εὶ μεν ἴδ]μεν οὔ δύνατον γένεσθαι

λῷστ᾽] ὀν᾽ ἀνθρώποισ, πεδέχην δ᾽ ἄραστηαι,

[τῶν πέδειχόν ἐστι βρότοισι λῷον]
     
[ἢ λελάθεσθαι.]