Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

IV


 

O Pan of the evergreen forest,
Protector of herds in the meadows,
Helper of men at their toiling,—
Tillage and harvest and herding,—
How many times to frail mortals
5

    Hast thou not hearkened!

Now even I come before thee
With oil and honey and wheat-bread,
Praying for strength and fulfilment
Of human longing, with purpose

10

Ever to keep thy great worship
    Pure and undarkened.

O Hermes, master of knowledge,
Measure and number and rhythm,
Worker of wonders in metal,

15

Moulder of malleable music,
So often the giver of secret
    Learning to mortals!

Now even I, a fond woman,
Frail and of small understanding,

20

Yet with unslakable yearning
Greatly desiring wisdom,
Come to the threshold of reason
    And the bright portals.

And thou, sea-born Aphrodite,

25
In whose beneficent keeping
Earth with her infinite beauty,
Colour and fashion and fragrance,
Glows like a flower with fervour
    Where woods are vernal!
30

Touch with thy lips and enkindle
This moon-white delicate body,
Drench with the dew of enchantment
This mortal one, that I also
Grow to the measure of beauty
35
    Fleet yet eternal.