"Sing to us, Sappho!" cried the crowd


    Οὔ τι μοι ὔμμες·

    " Sing to us, Sappho !" cried the crowd, 
    And to my lyre I sprang ; 
    Apollo seized me, and aloud 
    Tumultuous I sang. 
    I did not think of who would hear ; 
    I knew not there were men who jeer ; 
    Nor dreamed I there were mortals born 
    To make the poet's heart forlorn. 

    There is a gift the crowd can bring, 
    A rapture, a content ; 
    Pierian roses scarcely fling 
    So ravishing a scent 
    As that with which the air is stirred 
    When hearts of heavenly things have heard— 
    Sigh, and let forth the odour steal 
    Of that which in themselves they feel.

    But now no subtle incense rose ; 
    I heard a hostile sound 
    And looked—oh, scornfuller than those 
    'Mong men I ne'er have found. 
    I paused : the whistling air was stilled ; 
    Then through my chords the godhead thrilled, 
    And the quelled creatures knew their kind 
    Ephemeral through foolish mind. 

    They saw their ghosts in Hades' grove 
    A dismal, flitting band ; 
    They felt they were shut out from love 
    And honour in their land ; 
    For never in the Muses' strain 
    Of them memorial would remain ; 
    And spell-bound they received the curse 
    Of the great King's derided verse.