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.