When longing on my couch I lay


Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα
καὶ Πληΐαδες, μέσαι δέ
νύκτες, παρὰ δ’ ἔρχετ’ ὤρα,
ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεὐδω·

WHEN longing on my couch I lay, 
The moon shone clear above the bay, 
     And whether Heaven's queen, 
        With her dread power, 
Did come me and my love between, 
Whether in Dian's holy air he chilled, 
    I know not: the sweet hour 
       Is unfulfilled. 

Athwart the grove the Pleiades 
Beamed clear—a lovely cluster these. 
     I mused how it befell 
       That Sterope 
Loved her Oenomaus so well 
She flitted from her shining sisters' side, 
     And in obscurity 
       Became his bride.

O blessed, secret, shamed one! 
Now e'en the Pleiades are gone; 
     Now is it full midnight: 
       Thus should I be 
Hid in the tomb from all men's sight! 
O Hades, take this heart, these limbs that yearn, 
     Yea, I will give them thee, 
        Ash for thine urn ! 

Bethink thee, love, time passes by, 
A little while before we die 
     Is Aphrodite's own. 
       And what were life 
Without the mystery of her zone, 
Her rosy altars, and her heavenly fires, 
     Warm, to assuage the strife 
       Of vain desires ? 

The moon is gone, yet he delays, 
The stars are set, but Sappho stays ; 
     And can it be that death, 
       Jealous, hath sped 
To suck from me my Phaon's balmy breath ? 
I stifle in my heart the funeral moan : 
     I do not weep the dead ; 
        I lie alone.