Love, fatal creature, bitter-sweet


    …Ἔγω δὲ κῆν’ ὄττω 
    τις ἐρᾶται·

    LOVE, fatal creature, bitter-sweet, 
    For my Alcaeus I entreat. 
    Should I not plead ? 
    To wasting fires 
        A secret prey I live, 
    Yet, Eros, that which he desires 
        I cannot give. 

    Who shall deliver him ? Lo, I, 
    For love of whom he soon will die, 
    Weep through the starry night oppressed 
        That he should love in vain. 
    Ah, can another mortal breast 
        Learn Sappho's pain ! 

    When once his feet to me did stray, 
    He would forget the homeward way ; 
    And when he gazed I turned to greet 
        The grace within his eyes ; 
    With love it is such joy to meet 
        In any guise.

    To him, O heavenly Muses, come ! 
    He cannot live if he be dumb. 
    Leave me awhile. O let him feel 
        His heart set free in song ; 
    Hasten, for ye alone can heal 
       A lover's wrong.