Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

by Bliss Carman




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

    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


Ever to keep thy great worship
    Pure and undarkened.

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


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

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


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

And thou, sea-born Aphrodite,

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

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
    Fleet yet eternal.