Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

XCVII


 

WHEN the early soft spring wind comes blowing
Over Rhodes and Samos and Miletus,
From the seven mouths of Nile to Lesbos,
Freighted with sea-odours and gold sunshine,

What news spreads among the island people 

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In the market-place of Mitylene,
Lending that unwonted stir of gladness
To the busy streets and thronging doorways?

Is it word from Ninus or Arbela,
Babylon the great, or Northern Imbros?

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Have the laden galleons been sighted
Stoutly labouring up the sea from Tyre?

Nay, ’t is older news that foreign sailor
With the cheek of sea-tan stops to prattle
To the young fig-seller with her basket

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And the breasts that bud beneath her tunic.

And I hear it in the rustling tree-tops.
All this passionate bright tender body
Quivers like a leaf the wind has shaken,
Now love wanders through the aisles of springtime. 

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