Green

After Sappho, fragment 31

The dinner guest placed opposite the girl I love
must be a current favourite of the powers above.

How your infectious laughter and delicious voice
have captivated him, the fool! He has no choice.

Three places down, my heart is thumping like a drum.
I look at you. My tongue has snapped, no words will come,

my ears are humming and I seem to have gone blind,
I’m trembling, burning, drenched with sweat; and in my mind

the thought that you, my own, should smile on him instead
is slowly killing me. Now that I’m almost dead,

I wonder, is my appetite for love as keen?
Or is it only envy that is evergreen?

Listen to this translation — read by the translator

Sappho, Fragment 31

Φαίνεταί μοι κήνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν ὤνηρ, ὄστις ἐναντίος τοι
ἰζάνει, καὶ πλυσίον ἆδυ φωνεύ-
        σας ὑπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμερόεν, τό μοι μάν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόασεν·
ὡς γὰρ εὔιδον βροχέως σε, φώνας
        οὺδὲν ἔτ' εἴκει·

ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα ἔαγε, λέπτον
δ' αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ' οὐδὲν ὄρημ', ἐπιρρόμ-
        βεισι δ' ἄκουαι.

κἀ δέ μίδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δέ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ' ὀλίγω 'πιδεύης
        φαίνομαι [ἄλλα].

ἀλλὰ πᾶν τόλματον, [ἐπεὶ καὶ πένητα].