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THE SONGS OF

BILITIS

PIERRE LOUYS

of

iSilitisi

Translated from the Greek

Put into English from the


French of

By

PIERRE LOUYS HORACE MANCHESTER BROWN

FESTI

PRIVATELY PRINTED FOR MEMBERS OF THE ALDUS SOCIETY LONDON AND NEW YORK, 1904

edition De d^tatiD

tun
have been printed
copies

this book there

nine hundred

and seventy-one

on a special paper ^ with the water-

mark of
signed

the Society,

and twenty-six and three

and

lettered copies,

author

copies on

Imperial Japanese vellum with


is

the initials hand-illumined, of which this

Number

o<>t"

X
Copyright, iqo4

By H. M. Brown

/<s

THE SONGS OF
IS

BILITIS

THIS LITTLE BOOK OF ANTIQUE LOVE

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

TO THE YOUNG LADIES OF THE SOCIETY OF THE FUTURE

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
[E reader of Plato, whether he be a student, or a mere amateur of the classics,

has indeed read to but

little

ad-

vantage, if he has failed to derive from


the clear logical argument and concise
description of the old philosopher, a

thorough perception of that feeling of admiration of the beauty of the human form, and the admirableness
of physical perfection, which, among the ancients, whether Persian, Egyptian, or Greek, amounted
almost to worship.

The

translator of the "

Songs of

Bilitis

" was led

to undertake the

work

as a matter

of personal amuse-

ment, and
Pierre

his appreciation

of the success attained by

Louys
same

in giving expression in

modern French

to that

feeling

of admiration for the beauty of

[7]

the

human

form, which,

case of the gifted

it. would almost seem in the French poet, must be a species of

obsession.

Notwithstanding
learned

the

weighty argument and the

polemics of the distinguished professor in

Gottingen,

who
told

in

1896
in

took up arms

in

learned

protest against this collection of pictures of ancient

Greek

life,

exquisitely
it

beautiful

modern

French, and

who

sought, with

as a text, to bring

forward an unnecessary defence of the character of


that wonderful priestess

and

inspiratrice,

Sappho, the

translator has felt that such a protest

and such a de-

fence

were unnecessary, and has believed that the


of the pictures presented by
is

beauty

many of

the

songs
while

sufficient excuse for their existence, in spite

of the marked flavor of sexualism that detracts from,


it

does not embellish, the idea sought to be


enthusiastic defender of the ancients

presented.

The most
bound
to

is

admit that the pure sexualism


furnish

and the

various forms of sexual degeneracy described in these

poems do not
scribed
;

an overdrawn picture of the


the Greeks at the period deis

social conditions

among

and while there

always a grave question

[8]

for moralists

and regulators of

social ethics,

concerning

the advisability of informing the public as to the facts


in this respect, the translator believes that public edu-

cation has so tempered the

minds of the majority of

the people of this country, that a


ter can safely

book of

this charac-

to individuals

be placed in their hands without harm and without producing any general perfor

version of public morals or of public conduct.

There
its

is

no doubt that

many

the

book was
;

mystification,

upon its first appearance in 1 894 that pretence of being a collection of songs " translated
for the first time "

from the Greek


ful assertion.

was believed by
be a truth-

many, who should have known


It

better, to

would even seem, from the character of the


its

criti-

cisms which
that

many

appearance called forth in Europe, of the " dry as dust " professors of antiquiIt

ties in

the European universities were deceived.

needs, however, but a superficial knowledge of Greek

and Greek

literature to

enable one to discover the


it

many anachronisms that prove duction. However this may


that the

to be a

modern prowill

be,

no one

deny
in

young

poet, Pierre Louys, has succeeded in

placing before his readers a collection of

poems

[9]

prose which for delicacy of touch, and beauty of language, has seldom been equalled.

This

translation, as I

have previously stated, was

originally

made
it

for the translator's personal

amuseof
to

ment, and
offer

has only been

after the insistence


fit

people of taste and refinement that he has seen


it

to the public.
it

To

people of education and


it

correct taste

will

appeal as

should.

To

those

who
in-

have neither of these, and who, through natural


it

heritance or acquired degeneracy, are unable to accept


as the collection

lator can only say

of true poems that " Puris omnia pura."

it

is,

the trans-

In the

effort to
is

convey to the reader, as

far as the

English language
avoid
sible,

capable of conveying, the subtlety

of the French phrasing, the translator has sought to


all

forms of circumlocution, and, wherever pos-

to

forms, believing
strength
lies

employ the simplest English words and that in a work of this character,
largely in simplicity.
for

The

capacity of

the

French language

expressing in a soft
things

and

inoffensive

manner

many

which cannot be
literal

made

clear in

English without a shock to the sensi-

bilities,

has been met, as far as possible, by

translation,

and

as this

book has not been made

for

[lo]

the satisfaction of the taste of the uneducated, believed


its

it

is

readers will

find

no

difficulty in

under-

standing to the fullest extent the ideas of the poet


author.

Horace Manchester Brown.


Milwaukee, U.
S. A., September,

igoj.

["]

LIFE OF BILITIS
I

LITIS

was born

at the

commencement
era, in a

of the sixth century before our

forests

mountain village situated upon the banks of the Melas in the eastern part of Pamphylia. The country is rough and forbidding, shadowed by huge and dominated by the enormous mass of Mt.
Springs,
rocks,

Taurus.

heavily
salt

charged with
lakes slumber

lime,

flow
its

from

its

huge

among

heights,

and

its

valleys are dark

and

silent.

She was the daughter of a Greek and of a Phoenician

woman. She seems never to have known her Greek father, for his name appears in no part of her
It
is

souvenirs of her infancy.

even possible that


it

he died before she came into the world, otherwise

would be

difficult

to explain

how

it

happened

that

[13]

she bore a Phoenician name, such as alone her mother could have given her.

In this almost deserted land, she lived a


tranquillity

life

of

with

her

mother

and

sisters.

Other

young
from

girls

who were

her friends lived not distant

her.

Upon

the

wooded

plateaus of Taurus,

shepherds watched and tended their flocks.

In the morning, with the crowing of the cocks, she

went to the stable, led out the animals to drink, and busied herself with their milking. During the day, if it rained, she remained in the gynasceum, and
rose,

worked with her

distaff. fields,

On

the days that were fine

she ran about the

and played a thousand games


tells us.

with her companions, of which she


It
is

nymphs Bilitis had a most and worshipped them with a most ardent piety. The sacrifices that she offered were nearly always at their fountain. Often even, she speaks of them, but it seems she never had seen them,
evident that for the
regard,

tender

so

much

does she hold in veneration the souvenirs of

a blind old

man, who was said once to have surprised them while bathing. The end of her pastoral existence was saddened by an amour, concerning which we know but little, al-

[14J

though

in her

songs she speaks of


it

it

at length.

She

ceased to sing of

became a saddened memory. Become the mother of a child which she abandoned, Bilitis quitted Pamphylia for unknown reasons, and never again saw the place of her birth. We find her later at Mytilene, whither she went by
as

soon

as

it

sea, coasting

along the beautiful shores of Asia.

At

this

time she was scarcely sixteen years old,

according to the conjecture of

Heim, who

established
life

with some show of probability certain dates in the

of

Bilitis,

from a verse which makes allusion to the

death of Pittakos.

Lesbos was then the centre of the world. On the main road between beautiful Attica and luxurious
Lydia,
it

had

for its capital a

more sumptuous
corrupt than

city

than

Athens and one more

Sardes

Mytilene, builded upon a peninsula which out upon the shores of Asia.
entirely

looked

surrounded the

city.

The blue From the

sea almost

towers of

the temples one could see on the horizon the white


line

of Atarnee, which was the port of Pergamos.

Its

narrow
in

streets

were always crowded by a throng,


silks,

brilliant

many-colored dresses, tunics of purple


mantles

and of hyacinth, cyclades of transparent

[15]

dragging in the dust made by the yellow shoes.

The

women wore huge


in their ears,

rings of gold set with native pearls,


their

and upon
their

of

silver,

roughly chiselled in

arms masses of bracelets relief. The men them-

selves
oils.

wore

hair in curls

perfumed with

rare

The Greeks were

distinguished by their sandals

fastened to their heels with latchets ornamented with


serpents'

heads of bright metal, while the Asiatics

dressed their feet in short boots of soft tinted leather.

gossiping and merry people gathered before the

fa9ades of the stores, discussing the goods, the rugs

of dark color, the cloths woven with threads of gold,


the jewels of amber and ivory, according to the particular quarter occupied by the merchants. The life and animation of Mytilene were not ended with the day there was no hour so late that one could not hear, from open doors, the joyous sound of musical
:

instruments, the laughter and cries of women, and the


noise

of dances.

Pittakos

himself,

who

desired to

bring order into this chaos of perpetual debauch,


a law which forbade the

merry players of flutes,

made when

under a
vals
;

certain
this

age, to serve at the nocturnal festi-

law, like all laws which pretend to change the course of natural morals, only served to

but

[i6]

stimulate

its

own

infraction,

and not

to encourage

its

observance.

In a society where the husbands were occupied


the night with wine and dancing

in

women,

the wives

could not

fail

to seek

some

solace for their solitude,

and to find consolation for their ennui. From this it came about that they were led to give themselves to those delicate amours, to which antiquity itself gave their name, and which possess, whatever men may think, more of true passion than of peculiar vice. At this time Sappho was still beautiful. Bilitis knew her, and speaks of her under the name of Psappha, the name under which she passed in Lesbos. It was that admirable woman who taught the little Pamphylienne the art of singing in rhythmic phrases, and to preserve for posterity the names and lives of
her dear friends.

Unfortunately

Bilitis

gives but few details concernso


little
is

ing this remarkable

woman, to-day
this

known,
the case,

and there

is

great reason to regret that this

since the least

word touching

grand

inspiratrice

would have been of the


she has
left

greatest value.

In revenge
age,

us thirty elegiac songs, the history of her

friendship with a

young

girl

of her

own

who was

[17]

called Mnasidika,

and who lived with

her.

We

were

already familiar with this beautiful girl through a verse

of Sappho,

in
is

name even
we

which her beauty is praised, but her doubtful, and Bergk seems to believe

that she was simply called Mnais.


shall read later

The

songs that

on prove that this hypothesis may Mnasidika seems to have been a very sweet and innocent little girl, one of those charming creatures who have for a mission in life only to allow
be abandoned.
themselves to be loved
;

one of those

women

for

whom
part,

there

is

absolutely no need of effort on their


is

to secure the love that

always ready to be

given them.
Intrigues without motives last the longest
:

this love

Bilitis for Mnasidika lasted ten years. It was ended through the fault of Bilitis, whose excessive

of

jealousy permitted of no eclecticism of affection.

When

she

felt

that nothing longer

Mytilene, except her unhappy memories,


a second journey
:

bound her to Bilitis made


itself;

she went to Cyprus, an island, part

Greek, and part Phoenician, like

Pamphylia

and which must have


aspect and the
It

was there

recalled to her many times the memory of her native land. that Bilitis commenced a third period

[i8]

of her

life,

and that
to

in a

manner

it

will

be

difficult for

my

readers

understand, unless

they

recall

and

recognize to what high degree love was a holy thing

among The

the ancient peoples.

courtesans of

Amathonte were not


all

like ours,

creatures of misfortune, exiled from

decent society

they were daughters of the best and most notable


families

of the

city.

Aphrodite had given them

beauty, and they returned thanks to the goddess in


consecrating to the service of her worship the beauty

they had received.


these

Every

city that possessed, like

those of Cyprus, a temple rich in courtesans, held

women in the same respected position. The incomparable history of Phrynae, as it has been handed down to us by Athena, will give some idea

what was the nature of that veneration. It is not true that Hyperides stripped her stark naked in order to influence the Areopagus. Her crime was a great one. She had committed murder. The orator in
sustaining his eloquent

appeal

simply tore off the

upper part of her


to

tunic,

and exposed only her bosom

to the eyes of the judges,

put to

and appealed to them not death the beautiful priestess and the woman

inspired by Aphrodite.

[19]

In distinction from her were

many

courtesans

who

went about dressed in transparent flowing robes, through which appeared all the details of their bodies, while Phrynae was in the habit of concealing her charms and her hair in one of those full plaited vestments, of which the figurines of Tanagra have preserved
unless
to
it

us

the

beauty and the grace.

No

one,

were her lovers, had ever seen her arms or


baths.

her shoulders, and she never appeared in the pool of

But upon one occasion a most extraordinary event occurred. It was the day of the fete of Eleusis ; twenty thousand people came from all parts of Greece, and were assembled upon the
the
public
shore,

when Phrynae stepped forward out of


her mantle, untied
;

the

throng, and stood at the margin of the waves.


let
fall

She
even

her cincture, and

dropped her tunic


hair,

she

let

down

all

of her beautiful
In this crowd

and, naked, entered the water.

stood Praxiteles, who, after this living goddess, designed the Aphrodite of Cnidos
:

and Apelles, who


his

from her modelled the figure of

Anadyomene.
beauty naked
false

An

admirable people that, to


itself

whom

might show
shame.

without exciting laughter or

[20]

would

that this history were that of Bilitis, for, in

translating her songs, I myself have learned to love

the friend of Mnasidika.

Without doubt her

life

was

admirable

also.

regret that she has not been

men-

tioned in history more often, and that the ancient


authors, at least those whose works have
to us,

come down

have given us so

little

knowledge concerning

her personality.

Philodemes,

who

at least twice de-

ceived her, does not even mention her name.

Fail-

ing

in

knowledge of her from other sources, we


willing to

must be
courtesan.

be content with the details that


us concerning her
life

she herself has given

as

She was a courtesan, that is not to be denied even her last songs prove that if she had the virtues of her But I wish only to vocation, she had also its faults.
;

place her before the reader in the light shed

upon her
of temple so

by her

merits.

She was pious, and a

practiser

her religion.

She remained

faithful to the

long as Aphrodite consented to prolong the youth She has said " When she of her most pure adorer.
ceased to love, she ceased to write."
is

Nevertheless,

it

difficult

to believe that the songs of Pamphylia


life

could have been written at the epoch in her

during

which the incidents described were actual occurrences. How should a little shepherdess of the mountains
learn
to
?

scan the difficult rhythms of the


It
is

verse

more reasonable

to believe that,

^olean become

old, Bilitis

found pleasure
last

in singing for herself the

memories of her distant childhood.


ing concerning this

We
life.

know noth-

period of her

We
G.

do not
at

even

know at what Her tomb was


from the
lines

age she died.


discovered

by

M.

Heim

Palaeo-Limisso, by the side of an ancient roadway not


far

of Amathonte.

These

ruins have

nearly disappeared during the past thirty years, and

the stones of the house, in which perhaps


are used to-day to

Bilitis lived,

pave the quays of Port

Said.

But

the
cian

tomb was

subterranean, according to the Phoeniit

custom, and

had escaped even the thieves

hunting for treasure.

Heim

entered into the

tomb

by the way of a ditch once filled with earth, at the end of which he encountered a huge doorway, which it was necessary to demolish. The broad, low tomb, paved with slabs of limestone, had four walls covered with plaques of amphibolite, upon which were engraved, in primitive capitals, all the songs which we are
about to read, with the exception of three epitaphs.

which decorated the outside of the sarcophagus. It was there that reposed the remains of the friend of Mnasidika, in a large coffin of terra-cotta, under a cover modelled by some able statuary, who had figured in the clay the visage of the dead. The hair was painted black, the eyes half closed and prolonged outwardly with a touch of crayon, as if she had been alive, and the cheek as shown was made tender by a slight smile that softened the lines of the mouth. Nothing can ever tell us what were those lips, at the same time fine and fiall, soft and cleanly cut, united the one to the other, and yet slightly separated, as
if

exhausted with the intoxication of their

own

con-

tact.

When
state in

the

tomb was opened, she appeared

in the

four centuries before.

which a pious hand had placed her, twentyVials of perfume hung to the
all

pegs of clay, and one of them, even after


years,

these

was

still

odorous.
silver, in

The

mirror of polished

which

Bilitis

had

so often seen her face, the stylet that had drawn the

blue pigment about her eyelashes, were found in their


place.

little

statue of Astarte naked, relic forever

precious, watched always over the skeleton ornamented

with

all its

jewels of gold, and white as the branch of

a tree covered with


at the

snow, and so
it

moment when

and was breathed upon,


soft

fragile that,
it

crumbled

away into dust. Pierre Louys.


Constantinople, August,

18^4.

.U>:

^-

[24]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Portrait of Pierre Louys


"

Frontispiece

Nymphs of the woods and fountains,


sweetest offriends., behold me.''

The

Flowers

48

"Pure water of the basin, motionless mirror, tell me of my beauty"

The

Water

in

the Basin

240

*^

Can
. .

it

he that all is finished ?

It seemeth

and behold,

.... me I was born but yesterday, already I must say, no one will love

me

more."

The True

Death.

.316

BUCOLICS IN PAMPHYLIA
Sweet
still

to

me

the melodies,

and the singing

reeds.

The

prattling pan-pipes,

and the harmonious

flutes.

Theocritus.

THE TREE

[28]

[TRIPPED
in a close

of

my
tree.

clothes,

naked,

climbed into a

My

bare thighs

embrace pressed the smooth

damp

bark.

My

sandals

trod

upon

the branches.

Almost

at the top,

but

still

under the leaves

in the

shadow from the


jecting branch,

heat, I

put myself astride of a proair.

my

legs dangling in the

The
ran over

rain

came, and cool drops


skin.

fell

upon me and

my

My

hands were soiled with moss,

and

my

toes were red with the juice of crushed flowers.

felt

the

life

of the beautiful tree when the wind


branches.

blew through

its

Then

pressed

my
lips

thighs together in an ecstasy, and laid


against the hairy nape of a limb.

my

open

[29]

II

SONG OF THE FIELDS

[30]

[ET us
us
call

sing a song of the fields.

Let

upon Pan, god of


Selenis
flocks

the winds
I

of Summer.

and

together

watch

our

from

the

round

shadow of the trembling


olive-tree.

leaves of an

Selenis lies prone to her feet,

upon

the

meadow.

She springs
;

and runs, or chases the locusts

gathers

the flowers and


fresh, cold water

grasses, or washes her face in the

of the brook.

And

I, I

drowsily draw the long wool from the

white fleece of
I

my

sheep to garnish

spin.

The

hours glide softly by.

my distaff An eagle

while
soars

through the blue heavens.

The shadow
flowers

turns. jar

Let us move the basket of


Let us sing a song

and the
fields.

of milk.
call

of the

Let us

upon Pan, god of the

winds of Summer.

[31]

Ill

MATERNAL ADVICE

[3^]

mother bathes

me

in

the darkness.

She dresses

me

in the full brightness

of the sun, and braids


light,

my

hair in the

but

if I

walk out by the light of

the

moon, she draws

my

girdle,

and

makes

in

it

a double knot.
shalt play

She says to me, " Thou


virgins,

alone with

and dance with


flee

little

children
soft

look not out

of the window,

from the

words of men, and

beware the counsel of widows."

Some evening some


will

one, e'en as

is

the fate of

all,

come

to lead thee across the threshold into the

midst of a great company, amid the music of sonorous

drums, and amorous

flutes.

That evening when thou


thou shalt leave to

shalt

go away,
;

Bilito,

me

three gourds of gall

one for

the morning, one for the noon, and the third, the

most

bitter

of

all,

the third for the days of


[.33-]

fete.

IV

THE NAKED FEET

[34]

Y
a

blue black hair in

wavy

folds hangs
I

down my
little

back, and on

my head

wear

cap.

white wool.

My vest My legs

is

made of snowgrow hard and

brown with the scorching heat of the sun.


If
I

lived in a city

would have jewels of gold,


in gold,

and vestments embroidered


silver.
I

and

slippers of

look upon

my

naked

feet in their slippers

of dust.

Psophis

come

to

me, poor
feet

little

one, lead
little

me

to

the springs, wash


press

my

with thy

hands, and

upon them

olives

and

violets to

perfume them,

even

as the flowers.

To-day thou

shalt be

my

slave,

thou shalt follow


I

me and
give

serve me, and at the end of the day

will

thee, for thy

mother, round

lentils

from

my

garden.

[35]

THE OLD MAN AND THE NYMPHS

[36]

BLIND
tain.

old

man

lives

upon

the

moun-

Because he has seen the nymphs,

his eyes are

dead since
is

many years, and

now
is

for that he

blind, his happiness

in the

memory of

the long past.

" Yes,

have seen them," he said to me, " Helo;

psychria, Limnanthis

they stood together near the

bank

in

the

green pond of Physos.

The

water

sparkled higher than their knees.

" Their necks bent forward under


hair.

their heavy,

long

Their

nails

were thin and sparkled as the

wings of locusts.

Their nipples were hollow

like

the cup of the hyacinth.

" They moved

their fingers

upon

the water, and

drew up
long

as

from an

invisible vase, water-lilies with

stems.

About

their

wide-spread

thighs

soft

ripples circled."

[37]

VI

SONG

[38]

lORTI-TORTUE,
here

what doest thou


?

among us

wind off the wool and thread of


Milet.

Helas

Helas

why do you
?

not come

and dance

'

am

too

full

of sorrow.

am

too

full

of sorrow.
us
?

Torti-tortue, what doest thou here

among

cut a reed for the funeral flute.


!

Helas

Helas
not

What
you.

has happened him


I will

I will

tell

not

tell

you.

Torti-tortue, what doest thou here


I

among

us

press the olives for the


!

oil for

the stele (gravestone).


is

Helas

Helas

And
?

who, then,

dead

How can you ask He has


Helas
!

How

can you ask

Torti-tortue, what doest thou here


fallen in the sea.
!

among

us

Helas

Oh,

tell

us

how

From

the back of white horses.

From

the back of

white horses.

l39l

VII

THE PASSER BY

[40]

was seated

at

dusk before the door

f^

of the house, a young

man

passed me.
I

He
I

looked toward me, and

turned

away

my

head.

He

spoke to me, but

did not reply.

He

wished to approach me.


wall,

snatched a sickle
his cheek,

from the

and would have slashed

had

he advanced a step.

Then drawing back


smile,

little,

he commenced to

and blew

in

his

hand toward me, saying,


in

" Receive
distress

my kiss." I cried out, and wept that my mother hastened to me.


that
I

such

Annoyed, believing
a

had been stung


"

as

by

scorpion,
!

wept and

cried,

He

has embraced

me

"

But
and led

my

mother kissed and embraced


in her arms.

me

also,

me away

[41]

VIII

THE AWAKENING

[4^]

ONG

since,

the sun has risen, and


rise.

should also

But the sleep of the


and the softness and

morning

is

sweet,

warmth of
caress.

my

bed hold

me

as

in

In a short while
give to the goats
flask

will

go

to the stable.

I will

thei.r

grass and flowers,

and the
I will

of fresh water drawn from the well, where

drink at the same time with them.

Then
milk from

will

fasten

them

to

the post and draw

their

warm,
of me,

soft udders,
I

and

if

the kids

are not jealous

will

suck with them from

the softened teats.

Amaltheia, has she not nursed Dzeus


then.

I will

go

But not

yet.
is

The sun

has risen too soon,

and

my

mother

not yet awake.

[43

IX

THE RAIN

[44]

IHE

fine

rain has

poured forth sadly,

softly,

and

in

silence.
I will

And

still

it

rains, a little.

go out and walk


shall

in the streets.

My feet
soil

be naked,

that

may

not

my

shoes.

The

rain

of

spring-time

is

delicious.

The

branches of the
forth a

trees,

loaded with moist flowers, give

perfume which intoxicates me.

One

sees the

smooth and
the sun.

delicate bark of the branches glisten in

Helas

How many
upon

flowers

upon the ground

Have
them

pity

the fallen flowers.

Do

not sweep

together, and
for the bees.

mix them

in the

mud, but save

them

The

beetles

and the

snails

crawl slowly in the


;

road between the pools of water

would not tread


which runs

upon them, nor harm


away snapping

that gilded lizard,

his eyelids.

[45]

THE FLOWERS

[46]

|YMPHS

of the woods and fountains,

sweetest of friends, behold me.

Hide

not your faces from me, but come to

my

aid, for I

am burdened

with

many

plucked

flowers.

Help me

to choose from the whole forest


lifted

some

poor hamadryad with

arms, and in her hair,

color of the leaves, I will place

my

heaviest rose.

Look

I
I

have brought so many of them from the


cannot bear them back,
into a garland.
if

fields, that

you do not

help

me

to

make them

If you refuse

me

Beware.

She among you with the orange

hair,

saw her

yesterday in the embrace of the satyr Lamphrosathes,


after the

manner of the

beasts,

and

will

denounce

the shameless one.

[47]

XI

IMPATIENCE

[48]

'

Nymphs

of the woods

and fountains,

sweetest offriends, behold me.''

The

Flowers.

Original Etching

by James Fagan.

c"r-\

^vr 1
|S^3

THREW

myself weeping into her


felt

/jvj

arms, and long she

my

hot tears

pour upon her shoulders, before


sorrow
let

my

me

speak.

" Alas

am

only a

little child.

The young men


I,

never look toward me.

When

shall

like

thee,
fill

have the breasts of a young woman, that


out

shall

my
"

tunic,

and be temptation

for kisses?

No

one has curious eyes

if

my

tunic

falls.

one picks up for


hair.

me

a flower that drops

from
if I

No my
give

No

one

tells

me

that he will kill

me

my

lips to

another."

And
girl,

she replied to

me

tenderly.

"

Bilitis, little

thou

criest like a cat at

the

moon, and makest


that
are

thyself sad

without

reason.

They

most

impatient, are

not those that are soonest chosen."

[49]

XII

COMPARISON

[5!

^ERGERONETTE,sing of our
first

bird
!

of

Venus,
bodies
as

desires

The

of young
does
night of
all

girls

bloom with beauty,


with
flowers.

the

earth

The

our dreams approaches, and we


ourselves.

will talk

about

it

among
will

We
ent,
still

compare together our

beauties, so differ-

our hair so long and beautiful, our young breasts,


so small, our puberties round as shells, and hidden

under the young down.


Yesterday
sister.

competed with Melantho,

my

older

She was proud of her pretty


in a

breasts that

had

grown

month, and pointing


Little Child."

to

my

straight tunic,

she called

me "

No man
the girls,
all

could see us

we placed

ourselves before

naked, and,

if in

one point she vanquished

me,

excelled her far in others.

Come
first

Bergeron!

ette, bird

of Venus, sing with us our


'

desires

Water-wagtail, a bird sacred to Venus.

[51]

XIII

THE RIVER

IN

THE FOREST

[5^1

>^l^ BATHED
/Orj
"^iC^
alone.

in the river
!

of the

forest,

Alas
I

the Naiads were afraid

of me, for

but faintly saw them as

from

afar

under the dark water.

called
I

upon them.

That
nuke

might resemble
black as

them,
hair
;

bound upon

my

lilies,

my

with the berries of yellow wallflowers.

Of

a long floating plant


I

made me
up

a green belt,
breasts as I

and that

might see

it, I

pressed

my

leaned forward.

And
with

called

" Naiads
!

Naiads

Come

play

me

Be kind

"

But the Naiads


I

are trans-

parent,

and perhaps without knowing,

have caressed

their graceful arms.

lS3}

XIV

COME, MELISSA

[54]

HEN
of the

the heat of the sun play

is

softened,

we will go and
river,

upon

the banks

we

will wrestle for a frail

crocus, or for a

dewy

hyacinth.

We

will

make them

into

round

collars,

and into

garlands, prizes for our running.

We

will

take each

other by the hand, and by the border of our tunics.

Come, sweet
Naiads
ones
!
!

one

Give

us

honey.
;

Come,

We

would bathe with you

come, sweet

throw a shade over our sweating bodies.

And we
wine, but

will

make

offerings to you, not shameful

honey and milk, and young kids with

curved horns.

[55]

XV

THE SYMBOLIC RING

iss}

HE

women
who

of Lydia, so say the travreturn from Sardis, bedeck

ellers

themselves from the top of their hair


to the tips of their tinted toes, with
collars

and precious stones.

The women
upon

of my land have neither bracelets nor


silver,

diadems, but their fingers wear a ring of


the bezel
is

and

engraved the triangle of the goddess.

When
say,

they turn the point without, they


is

mean

to
is

" Psyche

to

be had."

When
is

the point taken."

turned within, they mean, " Psyche

The men

believe this, the

women do

not.
is

As

for

me
for

never regard to which side the point


freely.

turned,

Psyche gives herself

Psyche

is

always to

be had.

[57]

XVI

DANCES BY MOONLIGHT

[58]

PON
all

the soft grass, in the night, the


girls

young

with hair of violets have

danced together, one of each pair

playing the part of lover.

The

virgins said:

"We

are not for you."

And

as if they were

ashamed, they hid their virginity.


the flute under the trees.

satyr played

upon

The
They
of men

others said

"

We

have come to seek you."

arranged their tunics about them like the dress


;

and they struggled

in ecstasy while

entwining

their dancing legs.

Then

each one feeling herself vanquished, took her

lover by the ears even as one takes a beaker by the

two handles, and, the head bent forward, drank

a kiss.

[59]

XVII

THE LITTLE CHILDREN

[60]

HE

river

is

almost dry; the faded jon-

quils are dying in the

marsh

the air

burns, and far within the hollow banks


a clear stream flows

upon the

gravel.

It is there that

from morning to evening the


to

little

naked children come

play.

They wade

in

the
is

stream, not deeper than the river.

up

to their calves, so low

But they walk

in the current,

and sometimes

slip
little

upon
girls,

the rocks, and the boys throw water at the

who run and

laugh.

And when

a troop of passing merchants lead their


to the stream to drink, they cross
in

huge white oxen


their

hands behind them and look

astonishment at

the great beasts.

[6i]

XVIII

THE

STORIES

[62]

'0^sagn AM
/j*Crj

loved by

little

children;

when

"^3
5^^!^

thsy see

me

they run to me, and hide


in

^TTa themselves
their little

my

tunic,

and

throw

arms around

my

legs.

If they have gathered flowers, they give them


to

all

me,

if

they have caught a beetle, they put


they have nothing, they kiss

it

in

my

hand,

if

me and make

me

sit

down among them.

Then
their little

they kiss

me upon my

cheek.

They

lay

heads upon

my
I

breast,

and implore
it is

me

with their eyes.


to say.

Well

know what

they wish

They would
for

say, " Dearest Bilitis, tell us again,

we

are good, the story of the hero Perseus, or the


little

death of

Helle."

163}

XIX

THE MARRIED FRIEND

[64]

UR

mothers were pregnant

at the

same

time, and to-night she will be married,

Melissa,
still still

my

dearest friend.

The

roses

lie

upon

the road

the torches

burn.

And

walk, returning, over the same path, with


as I

my

mother, and
is

walk

think.

" Thus, even

what she

to-day, I one day will be.

Am

already

so grown a

woman ?

"

The

procession, the flutes, the nuptial

hymn, and

the car, decorated with the flowers of the bridegroom,


all

these fetes, another night, will be for me, under

the branches of the olives.

Even

as does, at this hour,


I

my

Melissa, I shall

unveil myself before a man,

shall also

know

love in

the night, and later


breasts.

little

children will suck at

my

[65]

XX
CONFIDENCES

I661i

HE
We
that

next day

went again to see

her.

blushed as soon as each saw the

other.

She led

me

into her alone.

chamber

we might be

had much
all.

to say to her, but in seeing her, I

forgot

I I

did not dare throw myself

upon her

neck, and

gazed curiously upon her high-tied sash.

was astonished that there was no change


she seemed
still

in her

face

my

friend,

and

yet, neverthe-

less, since

yesterday she had learned so

many

things

that astonished me.

Impulsively

sat

myself upon her knees, and


Quickly, anxious,
I

took her

in

my

arms.

whispered

in her ear.

Then
all.

she laid her cheek against mine

and told

me

[67]

XXI

THE MOON WITH EYES OF BLUE

[68]

^T
>^"1

night the hair of

women and
are

the
I

U
\

branches

of

willows

aUke.

walked on the bank of the


denly
I

lake.

SudI

heard singing

then only
girls.

knew
I said to

was among young

them, "
those

What
who

are

you singing? "

They

replied

"

To

return."

One

awaited the

coming of her

father,

another her brother; but she

who

expected her lover was the most impatient.

They had woven

for

them garlands, and crowns,

cut from the branches of palms, and from lotus drawn

from the water.

They walked

with their arms about

each other's necks, and sung to one another.

went

my way
in

along the bank of the river sadly,


I

and alone, but

looking about me,

saw that behind


blue,

the great trees, the

moon, with great eyes of

escorted me.

XXII

A SONG
("

SHADOW OF THE WOODS

")

[70]

JHADOW
mistress

of the woods, whence she


tell
?

should come,
fled

me where
has

is

my
gone

"

down
where

into the fields."

" She " Oh,


mistress
river."

fields,

has

my

gone ? "

me

" She has followed the banks of the

" Fair river who hast seen her pass,


near to

tell

me

is

she

me?"

"She

has

left
?

me
"

for the road."

" Oh, road,

seest

thou her

still

" She

has

left

for the highway."

"

Oh

white

highway, highway to the

city, tell

me where
light,

hast thou led


enters
into

her?"

gold, which

Sardis."

touchest thou her

"To the " Oh " " She naked


!

street

of

street

of
has

feet

entered the palace of the king."

"

Oh

palace

back to

me!"

"Look!
along

Splendor of the earth, give her


she
has
collars
in

of gold

above her

breasts,

and golden hoops


her
thighs,

her hair, an

hundred

pearls

and

two

arms

around her waist."

[71]

XXIII

LYKAS

[7^]

OME,
eat

we

will

go into the
;

fields,

under
will

the thickets of juniper

there

we

honey from the


for

hives,

we

will

make

traps

locusts with

the stems of

asphodels.

Come, we
father's

will

go and see Lykas, who guards


cliffs

his

herds

under the

of shady Taurus.

Surely he will give us milk to drink.

Already
player
is

hear the sound of his

flute.

skilful

he.

Behold the dogs and the sheep, and he


tree.

himself erect against a

Is

he not beautiful as

Adonis

Oh, Lykas
figs

let

us have milk.

Behold here are


thee.

from our

fig-trees.

Let us remain with


still,

Oh, bearded
cite

she-goats, be

for fear lest

you ex-

the restless bucks.

[73]

XXIV

THE OFFERING TO THE GODDESS

[74]

"CS^fflJjgwT
/prj

is

not for Artemis

whom

tliey

wor-

"^^3

ship at Perga, this garland

woven by

my own
cAcI
over

hands, although Artemis

may

be a kind goddess,

who

will

watch

me

in a difficult labor.

Neither

is it

for

Athena

whom

they adore at Side,

although she

may be made of

ivory,

and of gold, and


that tempts

carries in her

hand a pomegranate

the

birds.

No,
whole

it

is

for Aphrodite,

whom
tree

worship with

my

heart, for she alone can give

what

my

lips

long

for, if I

hang on her sacred

my

garland of tender

roses.

But

I will

never ask aloud for that which


I

beg

her to accord me.


tips

will stretch
I will

myself up on the

of

my

toes,

and

whisper

my

secret into a

cleft in

the bark.

[75]

XXV

THE BEDFELLOW

[76]

IHE

tempest

lasted

all

through
beautiful

the
hair

night.

Selenis

of the

came

to spin with

me.

She remained,

for fear

of the mud, and pressed one

against the other,

we

filled

my

little

bed.

When
the
door.

young
"

girls lie together, sleep stays


tell

outside
?

Bilitis,

me whom

thou lovest

and she

slid

her legs

between

my

own, that she

might love

me

tenderly.

And
Bilitis,

she said to me, between

my

lips

"

know,
I
it

whom
me

thou lovest.
I

Close thine eyes,


:

am
not

Lykas."
plain to

And

repHed, touching her

"

Is

that thou art a

woman?

Thou makest

merry

at

an unfitting time."
replied
:

But she

" In very truth,

am

Lykas,

if

thou closest thine eyes.


his hands.
.
.

Behold

his

arms, these are

."

And

tenderly, softly, in the silence,

she enchants

my

dreams into a singular delusion.

[77]

XXVI

A PRAYER TO PERSEPHONE

[78]

URIFIED

by the
in

ritual ablutions,

and dressed

tunics

of

violet,

we have thrown
earth with

kisses toward the


filled

our hands

with

branches of olive.

" Oh, Persephone, of the under-world, or whatever

may

be the name thou desirest,

if this

name

please,
Sterile

listen to us, oh,

thou of the hair of shadows.

queen,

who

smileth never.
is

" Kokhlis, daughter of Thrasamakos,


nigh to death.
Call

sick

and

her not away to thee.


:

Thou
after

knowest she cannot escape thee


years, thou
shalt take
her.

some day,

" But lead her not away so soon, oh, Dominatrice


invisible
!

For she weeps

that she

is

still

a virgin,

and she supplicates thee through our prayers.


this

Grant

and we

will

give thee, to save her, three black

ewes, unsheared."

[79]

XXVII

THE GAME OF DICE

[80]

S we both love him,


played a game

for

him we have
It

of

dice.

was a

famous

game.
girls

There

were

many

young

to look on.

She threw

first

the throw " Kyklopes," and

the

combination " Solon."

Then
loser,

she the " Kallibolos,"

and

I, feeling

myself the

prayed to the goddess.

threw

had the " Epiphenon," she, the


I,

terrible

coup

of " Chios,"
I,

the

" Antiteukos," she, the

" Trikias," and

the throw of " Aphrodite," and I

won

the disputed lover.

But seeing her and


I

pale, I

took her around the neck,

said to her close to her ear, so that she alone

heard

me

"

Weep

not,

little

friend,

we

will let

him

choose between us."

[8i]

XXVIII

THE DISTAFF

[8a]

LL
g

day long

my

mother has kept

me

shut up in the room for the women,


with

my

sisters,

whom

do not

love,

and who speak low among themselves.


I, in

a corner alone,

turn

my
it is

distaff.

"

Distaff, since I

am

alone with thee,

to thee

that I will talk.


art to

With thy wig of white wool thou


woman.
Listen, then.

me

like a wise old

" If

could run away,

it

is

not here

would be

sitting, in the
I

corner by the wall, and spinning alone.


violets

would be sleeping among the


of Taurus.

on the sunny

fields

" Because he
let

is

poorer than

I,

my

mother
I

will

not

me marry

him.

But

care not,

say to them,
it

either
his

my

marriage day will never come, or


shall lead

will

be

hand that

me

over the threshold."

[83]

XXIX

THE PAN-PIPES

[84]

OR the day of Hyacinthies, he gave me


a pan-pipe (syrinx)
reeds,

made of

fine cut

and held together with white


is

wax

that

sweet to

my

lips as

honey.

He
I

taught
little

me

to play, seated

upon

his knees,

but

was a
;

timid and trembling.

He

played after

me

so softly that I could hardly hear him.

We

had nothing

to say to each other, so

much

were we absorbed the one with the other; but our


tunes replied to each other, and our
lips,

turn by turn,

touched upon the pipe.

It has

grown

late

listen to the

song of the green

frogs
will

who commence

with the night.


I

My
I

mother

never believe

me when

say that

have stayed

so long searching for

my

lost sash.

[85]

XXX

THE

TRESSES

[86]

E
I

said to

me, " Last night

dreamed.

Thy locks
had thy
All about

were swept about


hair, like a

my

neck.

black necklace,

my

nape, and spread

upon

my
"
I

breast.

kissed
it

it,

and

it

was mine
together for
all

And
With

by
lip

we were bound
lip,

time

upon

and intertwining locks. two


laurels with

We

were one,

like

one

root.

"

And

little

by

little it

seemed

to

me.

So were our limbs confused,


I

became

thyself,

and that thou


like

Entered into

me

my

thought."

When
Into

he had finished speaking.

Softly he laid his

hand upon

my

shoulders.

my
I

eyes he gazed so tenderly.

That

lowered

my

glance, shivering.

[87]

XXXI

THE CUP

[88]

lYKAS

saw

me come

to

him dressed
the day's

only in a winding

scarf, for

heat was overpowering, and he wished


to

model

my

breast which

remained

uncovered.

He
should

took

fine clay,
it

kneaded

in fresh, clean water. skin.


I

Then he

pressed

upon

my

thought

faint with the cold

touch of the earth.

From my moulded
and umbilicated.
tinted
all
it

breast,

he made a cup, round


to dry in the sun,

He

put

it

and

with purple, and ochre, by pressing flowers


it.

about

Then we went
to the

to the fountain that

is

consecrated

nymphs, and we threw the cup

in the current,

with bunches of pinks.

[89]

XXXII

ROSES IN

THE NIGHT

[90]

HEN
^

the

night

mounts

into

the

heavens, the world belongs to us and


to the gods.
fields

We

wander from the


from the dark
where our

to the spring,

woods
naked
feet

to the glades, or

may

lead us.

The
shadows

little stars

burn bright enough

for such small

as

we

are.

Sometimes we find does, sleep-

ing under the low branches.

But more charming


place

in the night than all else,

is

known

to us alone,
a thicket

and which

attracts us across

the forest

of mysterious wild

roses.

For nothing

is

so divine in

all

the world, nothing

can equal the perfume of roses in the night.


it

How

is

that in the days


?

when

had no lover,

never

knew

their intoxication

[91]

XXXIII

REMORSE

[92]

first

would not

reply,

and

my

shame showed upon


the beating of
to

my

cheeks, and

my

heart brought pain

my

breasts.

Then
turned
lips,

resisted,

told

him

"No!

No!"
my

my

head away, and


love,

his kiss did

not open

nor

my

tight-closed knees.

Then he begged me
hair,
. . .

to

forgive him, kissed

my

felt

his
I

burning breath, and he went away.


alone.

Now

am

gaze upon the empty place, the deserted wood,

the trampled earth.


bleed,

And

bite

my

fingers until they

and

I stifle

my

sobs in the grass.

l93l

XXXIV

THE INTERRUPTED DREAM

[941

V -lLL
like
^

alone
a

lay

me down and

slept,

partridge

hidden among the

heather.

The

light wind, the

mur-

muring of the brook, the sweetness


of the night, soothed and held
there.

me

Imprudent,

slept,

and awakened with


it

a cry.

struggled, I wept, but already


are the hands

was too
?

late.

What

of a child able to do

He
pressed

would not

quit me.

Nay, more tenderly he


body,
till I

me

in his embrace, against his

saw

neither the earth, nor the trees, but only the light of
his eyes.

To
oiFerings

thee,
still

Kypris victorious,

consecrate

these

moist with the dew, vestiges of the

pains of virginity, witnesses of


resistance.

my

sleep,

and

my

[95]

XXXV

THE WASHERWOMAN

[96]

washers,

tell

no one that you have

seen me.

confide in
!

you

reveal

not

and

my my

secret

Between
I

my

tunic

breasts

bring

you some-

thing.

am

like

little

frightened bird.

...

know
as

not

if I
I

dare to

tell

you.

. .

My

heart beats
I

though
you.

would

die.

It is a veil that

bring

A
see
:

veil

and the ribbons from


is

my
By
:

thighs.

You
it

there

blood upon them.


!

Apollo,

was

in spite

of

me

struggled hard

but the

man who

loves

is

stronger than we.

Wash them
I will

well

spare not the salt nor the chalk.

place four oboli for

you

at the feet

of Aphro-

dite.

Yes, even a drachma of

silver.

[97]

XXXVI

SONG
("

WHEN HE RETURNED

")

[98]

HEN
my

he returned,

hid

my

face

with

two hands.

" Fear
kissing

He said to me nothing. Who has seen our " " Who has seen us
?

The

night and the

moon."

And
looked

the stars and the

first

dawn.

The moon
it

at her face in the lake

and has told

to the

water under the willows.


told
it

The

water of the lake has

to the oar.

And

the oar has told

it

to the boat,
!

and the boat


all
!

to the fisher.

Helas
it

Helas

if

that were

But

the fisher has told

to a

woman.

The
and

fisher has told

it

to a

woman.
and
all

My

father
will

my
it.

mother, and

my

sisters,

Hellas

know

[99]

XXXVII
BILITIS

[loo]

NE

woman may

robe herself in a tunic

of white wool.

Another dress
and gold.

in a

garment of

silk

Another

covers herself with flowers, with leaves

and grapes.

As
naked.
robes,

for

me,

take no joy of

life

except

when

My

lover takes

me

just as

am

without
Bilitis,

or jewels,

or sandals.

Behold me,

naked, alone.

My
me
free

hair

is

black with

its

own

blackness,

my

lips

are red with their

own

color.

My

locks float about

and round,

like feathers.

Take me
long past
;

as

my mother made me in
if I

a night of love

and

please

you thus, forget not

to

tell

me.

[lOl]

XXXVIII

THE LITTLE HOUSE

[102]

HE

little

house

in

which

is

his

bed
It

is
is

the prettiest in

all

the world.

made with
thatch.

the branches of trees, four


earth,

walls of dried

and

roof of

love

it,

for, since

the nights have


:

grown

cold,

we have

slept

there together

and the cooler the

nights are the longer are they also.

When
I,

rise

with the coming of the

day, even

find

myself

weary.

The
other.

rhattress

is

upon

the ground

two coverlids

of black wool cover our bodies, which warm each

His body presses

against

my

breasts.

My

heart throbs.

He
poor

presses
girl

me
that

so closely that he will crush me,


I

little

am.

But when he
in

is

within

me,

know nothing more

the

world, and they

might cut off

my

limbs without recalling

me

from

my

ecstasy.

[103]

XXXIX

THE LOST LETTER

[104]

ELAS
letter.

Woe
I

is

me

have

lost his

put

it

between

my

skin and

my
the

strophion (girdle of wool), under

warmth of

my

breast.

ran,

it

must have

fallen.

will

go back,
it,

will retrace
tell it

one should find


I shall

they will

my steps. If to my mother,
sisters.

any

and

be beaten before

my

mocking

If

it

is

a
;

man who

has found

it,

he

will give

it

back to
secret, I

me

or even, should he wish to meet


a

me

in

know

means

to ravish

it

from him.

If

it

is

woman who

has read
it

it,

O
all

Guardian
the world,

Zeus, protect

me

for she will tell

to

or she will steal

my

lover from me.

[105]

XL
SONG
("the night
is

so

profound")

[io6]

HE

darkness

is

so profound,
eyes.

it

seems
shalt

to penetrate

my

Thou
shalt

not see the way.


thyself in the forest.

Thou

lose

The

roar of the waterfalls

fills

my

ears.

Thou

shalt not hear the voice

of thy lover, though he were

but twenty steps from thee.

The odor

of the flowers
fall.

is

so strong that

I faint
it

and am about to
even
if

Thou

wouldst not

know

he crossed thy path.

Ah

he

is

indeed

far

from me, there on the other

side of the mountain, but I see


feel

him and hear him and

him

as

though he touched me.

[107]

XLI

THE PLEDGE

[io8]

HEN
hills.

the waters of the rivers shall

return to the tops of the snow-clad

When

the

wheat

and

the

grain shall be sowed in the

moving

furrows of the restless sea.

"When
lakes,

the

pines

shall

spring

up out of
rocks,

the

and the

lilies

shall

grow from the

when

the sun shall

become

black,

and the moon

shall fall

upon

the green grass of the

meadows

" Then, but then alone,

will I take to

me

another

woman, and
life,

I will

forget thee,

Bilitis

soul of

my

heart of

my

heart."

He
What

has said this to me.


all

He
?

has told
?

me

this
will

matters

the rest of the world

Where

be found a happiness like mine


ing joy like

Where, unreason-

my joy

[109]

XLII

NIGHT

[no]

'S^^JgSBHT
/prj

is

now who go
night,
1

to look for him.


I

isl^ Each
C^^j

most

softly,

leave the

i^^^ house and

go by a long path, even

to his field, to see

him

sleep.

Sometimes

remain a long time without speaking,

happy

in seeing

him only, and

approach

my

lips to

his, that I

may

kiss only his breath.

Then
awakes
in

quickly

throw myself upon him.


rise, for I

He

my

arms, and he cannot

struggle

against him.

He

resigns

himself, laughs,

and em-

braces me.

Thus we

play in the night.

First

light

of day,

wicked

light,

thou

so

soon

In what ever darkened cave, in what subterfield,

ranean

can

we love
. .

so long, that
.

we

shall lose

remembrance of thee

[Ill]

XLIII

CRADLE SONG

[iia]

LEEP
toys,

have sent to Sardis for thy


for thy
art

and
!

robes

to

Babylon.

Sleep

thou

daughter

of

Bilitis

and of a king of the eastern sun.

The woods,

they are palaces that they build for


I

thee alone, and which

give to thee.

The

trunks

of the pines, they are the columns, the high branches,


they are the vaulted roof

Sleep

lest sea.

he should wake thee,

will

sell

the
is

sun to the
less light

The wind

of the wings of a dove

than thy breath.

Daughter of mine,
say,

flesh

of

my

flesh,

thou shalt

when thou openest


city,

thine eyes, if thou wilt have

the plain or the

the mountains or the

moon, or

the white procession of the gods.

["3]

XLIV

THE TOMB OF THE NAIADS

["4l

LONG
fore

through
frost, I

the

woods
;

covered
hair be-

with hoar
jj

walk

my

my

lips glistens

with

little icicles,

and

my

sandals are heavy with cling-

ing and heaped-up snow.

He

said

to

me

"

What

seekest
little

thou

"

"I

follow the tracks of a satyr.


prints alternate
like
:

His

forked foot-

the holes in a white mantle."

But he
"

said to

me

"

The

satyrs are dead."

The

satyrs,

and the nymphs no such

also.

For twenty

years there has been


print thou seest
here,
is

terrible winter.

The
us rest

that of a buck.
is."

But

let

where

their

tomb

And
ice

with the iron of his hoe he broke the crystal

of the spring where once laughed the naiads.


lifted

He

the green cold masses, and raising them

toward the pale heavens, he gazed about him.

[IIS]

II

ELEGIACS IN MYTILENE
Let
fruit

be crushed on

fruit, let

flower on flower.

Breast kindle breast and either

bum
?

one hour.
are thine

Why

wilt thou follow lesser loves


to bear these

Too weak

hands and

A.

lips

of mine

C. Swinburne.

E/jp(^OTe|oa MvacriSiKa rSs diraXas TvpivvS>s

Sappho.

In translating the above phrase

have preferred to give a translation


it

of the complete paragraph in which


as follows
:

occurs,

and which should read

" She
thrown

is

wonderfully sweet and gentle, Gyrinno, but her


into the arms of the beautiful Mnais."

disdain has

me

["7]

XLV

ON THE SHIP

[ii8]

EAUTIFUL
me
abandon

ship

that

hast brought

here, coasting the shore of Ionia,

thee

to

the

glistening
I

waves, and with a light foot

spring

upon

the shore.

Thou

shalt return to the land

where the virgin

is

the friend of the nymphs.


invisible counsellors,

Forget not to thank those


to

and take

them from me

this

branch, plucked with

my own

hands.

Thou

wast once a pine, and upon the mountains,


squirrels

and thy huge branches and thy

and birds

were shaken by the hot southerly wind (Notos).

May

(Boreus) the north wind be thy guide, and

urge thee softly toward thy port, black nave, escorted

by dolphins,

at the pleasure

of the kindly

sea.

["9]

XLVI

SAPPHO

[120]

... It Ah who
!

is is

already
this near
I

oj#^j me? ...

woman?
. . ,

By
Oh,

Paphia,
Charites

^^!^

had forgotten.

how ashamed am

I.

To
isle,

what country have

come, and what


?

is

this

where one learns thus to love


I

If

were not

utterly weary,
it

should believe
this is the

it

some dream.
!

Can

be possible that

Sappho

She
her hair

sleeps.
is

Surely she

is

beautiful, although

cut short like that of an athlete.

But

this

strange face, this virile bosom, and these narrow hips.

would
!

like
at

to

go

away before

she
I

wakes.

Helas

am

the side next the wall.


I

must
her

straddle
thigh,

over her.

am

afraid

lest

touch

and that she

will

seize

me

as

cross her.

[121]

XLVII

THE DANCE OF GLOTTIS AND

KYSfi

[12a]

wo
and

little girls

lead
as

me

to their
is

home,
closed,

as

soon

the door

they light the wick of the lamp, and

would dance

for

me.

Their cheeks, unpainted, are


little

as

brown

as

their

bellies.

They

lead each other by the arms,

talking at the same time in an agony of gaiety.

Seated upon a mattress that rests upon two raised


trestles. Glottis sings

with a clear voice, and beats the

time with her

little

sonorous hands.

Kyse dances

in

jumps, then stops, strangling with

laughter, and taking her sister

by the

breasts,

bites

her on the shoulder and throws her over, like a kid


that wishes to play.

XLVIII

ADVICE

[124]

HEN
settle.

Syllikhmas entered, and seeing

us so familiar, seated herself on the

She took

Glottis

upon one

knee, Kyse upon the other, and said

"
I

Come

here,

little

one."

But

remained where
fear

was.

She continued, " Hast thou


near.

of us

Draw

These children love

thee.
:

They

will

teach thee something thou knowest not

the honey

of the caresses of women."


"

Man

is

violent

and

lazy.

Thou knowest

that

without doubt.

Shun him.

He

has a

flat

breast,

harsh skin, coarse locks, and hairy arms.


are beautiful in every part."

But women

"

Women

only

know how
if

to love

stay here with

us, Bilitis, stay.

And

thou hast an ardent soul,

thou shalt see thy beauty as in a mirror, upon the


bodies of

women who

love thee."

XLIX

UNCERTAINTY

[126]

HETHER
not which
I

Glottis or Kyse, I

know
they

should espouse.

As

are not alike, the one will not console

me

for the other,

and

am

afraid to

choose.

Each one of them holds one of


has one of

my

hands, and
shall
I

my
?

breasts also.

But

to

which

give

my

lips

To

which

shall I give
?

my

heart and

all else

of me of which one can partake

It

is

a disgrace for us thus to remain,

all

three

together in one house.


lene.

People talk of

it

in

Mytino

Yesterday before the


passed gave

temple
greeting.

of

Ares,

woman who
It
is

me

Glottis

whom

prefer; but

cannot cast
all

Kyse

aside.

What would become


them both go
?

of her

alone

Shall I let

as they were,

and take to

me

another friend

[127]

THE MEETING

[ia8]

HAVE

found

Tier as

one had found

a treasure, in a field, under a

clump
to

of myrtle, enveloped

from

head

foot in a peplos of yellow, embroid-

ered with blue.

"

have no friend," she


is

said to

me
I

" for the


live alone

nearest city

forty stadia from here.


is

with

my

mother, who
I

a widow,

and always

sad.

If thou wishest

will

follow thee.
it

"

I will

follow thee even to thy house, were


I will live

at

the other end of the island, and

with thee,
is

even until thou sendest

me

away.

Thy hand

soft

and thine eyes


" Come,

are blue.

let

us away.
little

will

take nothing with


is

me
to

except

it

be this

naked Astarte that


put
it

hung

my

necklace.

We

will

near to thine, and

we

will offer to

them both

roses, in

recompense

for

each night."

[129]

LI

THE LITTLE TERRA -COTTA IMAGE


OF AST ARTE

[130]

HE

little

guardian Astarte, which pro-

tects

Mnasidika,

was

modelled

at

Camiros by a

skilful potter.

It is as

long as one's thumb, and made of


fine

yellow clay.

Its hair falls

and spreads out upon

its

squared

shoulders.

Its

eyes are long and wide, and


it is

its

mouth

very small.

For

an image of the " All Beautiful."

With
worked

its

right
hair,

hand

it

points to

its

delta,

which

is

like

with small holes

upon
is

the lower

body, and along the groins.


the "

For

it

an image of

Most Amorous One."

With

its left

hand

it

sustains

its

breasts,

which are

heavy and round.

Between

its
is

widened hips proan image of "

trudes a fecund belly.

For

it

The

Mother of All Things."

[131]

LI I

DESIRE

[132]

HE

entered, and passionately, the eyes

half closed, she fixed her lips to mine,

and our tongues touched each


. .

other.

Never

in

my

life

have

had a

kiss like that one.

She stood erect before

(against)

me,

full

of love

and consentment.

One of my

knees,

little

by

little,

mounted between her hot


though to a
lover.

thighs, which gave

way

as

My

wandering hand upon her tunic sought to

divine the naked body, which softly bent like waves,

or arching, stiffened itself with shiverings of the skin.

With
bed
:

her eyes in delirium she signs toward the

but we have not the right to indulge our love

before the ceremony of the wedding, and brusquely

we

separate.

LIII

THE WEDDING

[134]

HE
she

next day they laid the wedding

feast in the

house of Acalanthis, adopted


as

whom
and

had

her

mother.
veil

Mnasidika wore the white


I

the man's tunic.

And

then, in the presence of twenty


fete.

women, she

put on her robes of


(elecampane),

Perfumed with Bakkaris

powdered with powder of gold, her

cool and delicate skin attracted furtive hands.

In
awaited

her

chamber

filled

with

greenery,

she

has

me

like a spouse.

And

I have set her on

a car between

me and
One of

the (nymphagogue) guardian


little

of the bride.
hand.

her

breasts

burned

in

my

They have sung


have played
the
it

the nuptial song, and the flutes


I

also.

have carried Mnasidika under

shoulders and

under the knees, and we have

crossed the threshold covered with roses.

[135]

LIV

THE

PAST

THAT

STILL LIVES

[136]

WILL
it,

leave the bed as she has left

unmade and rumpled,


that

the covers the

wrinkled, in order

imprint
the side

of her form

may remain by

of mine.

Until to-morrow

I will

not go to the bath,


I will

I will

not wear

my

clothing,

and

not

comb my

hair,

for fear lest I efface

one of her

caresses.

I will

eat neither this

morning nor

this evening,

and upon

my lips

I will

put neither rouge nor powder,

in order that her kisses

may

remain.

I will

leave the shades closed, and

I will

not open

the door, for fear lest the

memory

she has

left

behind

should

fly

away on the wind.

[137]

LV

THE METAMORPHOSIS

[138!

NCE

was amorous of the beauty of


the

young men, and


words once kept

memory of
sleep.

their

me from

remember
I

to

have carved a name

in the

bark of

a plane-tree.

remember

to have left a bit of

my

tunic in a path where a certain one might pass.

remember once

to

have loved.

Oh, Pannythee
?

chis,

my

babe, in what hands have


I

I left

How,

oh,

unhappy one, have

abandoned thee ?

To-day, and forever, Mnasidika alone possesses


me.

Let her receive


I

as a sacrifice the happiness of

them

have deserted for her.


[

^39 ]

LVI

THE TOMB WITHOUT A NAME

[140]

^NASIDIKA
hand, led
city,

having taken

me by

the

me

without the gates of the


field

to

an uncultivated
'

where
she

stood a stele
said

of marble. " This was

And
the

to

me

lover

of my mother."

Then

I felt I

a great shiver

and

still

holding her
in order to

by the hand,
read

leaned

upon her shoulder


the

the four verses between

serpent and the

broken cup.

"

It

is

not Death

who

has taken
I

me

away, but the

nymphs of

the fountains.

repose here under the

light earth with

the severed locks of Xantho.


I
tell

Let

her alone weep for me.

not

my

name."

long time we stood, and we poured out no

libation.

For how were we

to call

upon an unknown

soul from the throngs of


'

Hades ?

gravestone or column.

[141]

LVII

THE THREE BEAUTIES OF MNASIDIKA

[142]

T-N

'JS^^
"sx^
<Sy^
to

order that Mnasidika


of the gods,
I

may

be prosacrificed

/prj

tected

have

laughter-loving

Aphrodite

two

Ci^Cl male hares and two doves.

And

have

sacrificed to

Ares two cocks spurred

for the fight,

and

to the perverse

Hecate two dogs

who howled under

the knife.

It

is

not without reason

that

have implored
carries

these three immortals, for

Mnasidika

upon

her face the reflection of their triple divinity.

Her
like iron,

lips

are red like copper, her hair blue-black are like the blackness of silver.

and her eyes

[143]

LVIII

THE CAVE OF THE NYMPHS

[144]

HY
of

feet are

more

delicate than those

silver Thetis.

Between thy crossed


thy
breasts
softly

arms

thou pressest

tolike

gether, and cradlest

them

the beautiful bodies of two doves.

Under thy

hair thou hidest thy limpid eyes, thy


;

trembling mouth, and the flowers of thine ears

but

nothing stops
kiss.

my

gaze, nor the

warm

breath of

my

For

in

the secret

place of thy body,


hidest

'tis

thou,

Mnasidika beloved, who

the

cave

of the

nymphs of which

old

Homer

spoke, the place where

the Naiads weave the linen of purple.

The
haustible

place

where run, drop by drop, the inex-

springs,

and from which the gate of the

North
lets

lets

men

descend, and the gate of the South


enter.

Immortals

[145]

LIX

MNASIDIKA'S BREASTS

[146]

IMIDLY,
warm,

she with one hand opened

her tunic and stretched out to


soft breasts,

me

her

even as one

offers

to the goddess a pair of living turtle-

doves.

" Caress them," she said to me, "

I I

love them so

They

are dear things,

little

babes.
I

amuse myself
I

with them
give

when

am

alone.

play with them,

them

pleasure.

"

douche them with milk, T powder them with

flowers.

My

fine hair,
I

which dries them,

is

dear to
I

their little points.

caress

them with trembling.

couch them

in linen.

" Since
ishment
lips,

I shall

never have children, be their nour-

my

love,

and since they are so


me."

far

from

my

give

them

kisses for

[147]

LX

THE DOLL

[148]

HAVE
doll

given to her a
rosy

little doll.

A
Its

of wax with

cheeks.

arms are attached by


its

little

pegs, and

legs are movable.

When we
us,
it,

are together she puts


it

it

to

bed between

and plays

is

our

infant.

At

night she caresses

and gives

it

the breast, then she goes to sleep.

She has made


jewels for
it

for

it

three

little

tunics,

and we buy
Yes,

the day of the fete of Aphrodite.

jewels and flowers also.

She watches over

its

virtue,

and never allows

it

to

go out without
for then the

her, especially

when

the sun shines,


in

little

doll

would melt away

drops of

wax.

[149]

LXI

ENDEARMENTS

[150]

LOSE
thus
!

softly thine

arms about

me

like

a girdle.

Oh, touch, touch my skin

Neither water, nor the breath

of the south

wind

are softer than thy

hand.

To-day endear me,

little

sister,

it

is

thy turn.

Remember thou
last

the endearments that

taught thee

night,
;

and kneel thou

near

to

me who am

fatigued

kneel thou in silence.

Thy
done

lips

descend upon

my

lips.

All thine unkiss.

hair follows

them, as a caress follows a

Thy
eyes.

locks glide

upon

my

left

breast

they hide thine

Give
leave
it

me

thy hand,

it

is

hot

Press mine and

not.
is

Hands

better than lips unite,

and

their

passion

equalled by nothing.

[151]

LXII

GAMES

[15^]

no RE
of

than her balls or her doll,

am

for her a

game.

With

all

the parts

my

body, during the long hours,

she amuses herself like a child, with-

out speaking.

She takes down


according to
her

my

hair

and dresses
sometimes

it

again,

own

caprice,

knotted
it

under the chin


loops, or coils

like
it

a thick stuff, or turns


to a point.

into

up even

With astonishment she admires


lashes

the color of

my

and the folds of

my

neck.

Sometimes she

makes me
of

kneel, and lays her hands

upon

the plaits

my

tunic.

And
little

then

it is

one of her games

she

slips

her

head under

my

robe, and imitates the trembling


its

kid that sucks from the udder of

mother.

LXIII

IN

THE SHADOWS

[154]

NDER
linen

the

coverlid

of

transparent

we have

slipped,

she

and

I.

Even our heads were


the

hidden,
the

and
fabric

lamp shone through


us.

above

Thus
light.
free,

viewed her dear body under a mysterious


were nearer the one to the other, more
loving,

We
more

more naked.

..." In

the same

chemise," she said.

We
up

had

left

our hair arranged in order to be more


air
;

uncovered, and in the close


the odors of two

of the bed there rose


cassolets.

women

of two natural

Nothing

in the world,

not even the lamp has seen


loved, she alone

us that night.

Which one of us was


tell.

and

can ever
it.

But the men, they knew noth-

ing of

LXIV

THE SLEEPER

[156]

HE

sleeps

with
her,

her
her

hair

all

fallen

down about

hands

clasped

together behind her neck.

Does she
open,

dream

Her mouth

is

and

she breathes softly.

With

a piece of

swansdown

wipe away the sweat


lips,

of her arms and the fever of her


ing her.

without awaken-

Her

closed eyelids are like two blue flowers.

Gently and

silently

will

rise.

will

go and
fire
I

draw the water, and milk the cow, and beg some
of the neighbors.
shall

My

hair shall

be done, and

be dressed when she shall open her eyes.

Sleep,
eyelashes,

lie

long

between

her

beautiful
a

curved

and prolong the happy night with

dream

of good fortune.

[157]

LXV

THE

KISS

[158]

^ai=S*5SH
"JrOj

WOULD
like

kiss the

whole length of

"^5
rvVH ^SiJ

the rich black locks that grace thy

^0>^ neck

wings

oh

sweet bird, oh

captured dove, whose passion


heart beats under
lips

- filled

my

hand.
as a
!

would take thy

between mine own,


its

babe takes the breast of


Thrill
!

mother.
kisses

Tremble
far,

Sweet
satisfy

one,

my

reach

and

should

thy love.
I

Lightly will

touch thy breasts and arms with

my

tongue and
I

lips,

and behind thine

ears,

and upon
;

thy neck
while
I

will leave the

marks of

my

kisses

and

kiss thee

my

hands

shall stray in

mad

delight

over the

ivory

nakedness

of thy sensitive

body,

trembling under the touch of


Listen, Mnasidika
!

my
the

nails.

Hear

murmuring of my

love in
sea.

thine ears, like the wild

Mnasidika, thy look drives

humming of me mad I
;

the
will

close thy burning eyes with a kiss, as if they were

thy

lips.

LXVI

JEALOUS THOUGHTS

[i6o]

HOU

needst

not

dress

thine

hair,

for fear lest the hot iron scorch thy

neck, or burn thy black locks.

Thou

shouldst

let

it

hang upon thy shoul-

ders and spread out over the length

of thine arms.

Thou

needst

not dress

thyself,

lest

thy

close

girdle should redden the folds of the skin over thy


hips.
girl.

Better shouldst thou rest naked like a

little

It

is

not even best that thou shouldst

rise,

for

fear that ing.

thy delicate feet should be bruised in walkshouldst repose in thy bed, oh victim
I

Thou

of Eros, and

will dress

thy poor wound.

For

could not bear to see upon thy body other

marks, Mnasidika, than the purple of a kiss too long


prolonged, the trace of a sharp
line
nail,

or the reddening

of my passionate embrace.

[i6i]

LXVII

THE DESPAIRING EMBRACE

[162]

pVE
flutes,

me,
or

not
with

with
the
heart
I

smiles,

or

with

plaited

flowers,

but
tears,

with

thy
as

and

with

thy

even

love

thee with

my

sorrowing breast, and

my

moans.

When
I feel

thy breasts alternate with


life

my

breasts,

when

thy

touch

my

life,

when thy knees stand up

behind me, then

my

panting mouth knows not more

how

to join itself to thine.

Press

me

to thee as I press thee to


;

me

See, the
;

lamp has died down


I

the darkness
I

is

upon us

but

press thy

moving body, and

hear thy perpetual

plaint.

Moan
sorrow.

Moan

oh,

woman
suffer

Eros leads us

in

Thou

shalt

less

when thou

liest

upon

bed to bring a child into the world, than


givest birth to thy love.

when thou

LXVIII

MY HEART

[164]

REATHLESS,
press
it

take her hand and

with

force

upon the moist

skin of

my

left"

breast.

And

turn

my my

head here and there, and move


lips

without speaking.

My

excited

heart,

rude

and
as

hard,

beats

and

beats within

my

bosom, even
in

an imprisoned satyr
sack.

knocks when bound


to

a leathern

She says

me, "
"

Thy

heart pains thee

..."
is

Mnasidika,"

reply,

" a woman's heart


a

not
its

there.

That

is

a poor bird,

dove that beats


is

feeble wings.
terrible.

The

heart of a

woman

a thing

more

" Like

a little

bunch of myrtle

it

burns in a red
It
is

flame, and pours out abundant juice in foam.

there that I feel myself bitten by voracious


dite."

Aphro-

[165]

LXIX

CONFIDENCES IN THE NIGHT

[i66]

"lE doze, the eyes closed


the
silence

profound

is

about our couch.

Oh,
!

the ineffable nights of


she,

summer

But

who

believes

me

sleeping, lays

her hot hand upon

my

arm.

She murmurs: "

Bilitis,

thou sleepest?"
I

My
she

heart throbs, but, without reply,


like a

breathe regularly,

woman deep couched

in dreams.

Then

begins to speak.

" Since thou


thee
!

hearest

me

not, ah
:

how
"

love
. . .

"

And

she repeats

my name
me

Bilitis

Bilitis

..."

and she touches


fingers.

lightly with

the

tips

of her trembling "

It is

mine, her mouth.


it

Yes, mine alone

And
and

is

there another like

in the

world

Ah my joy,
!

my

happiness
this

Those naked arms

are mine,

mine

neck and hair."

[167]

LXX
ABSENCE

[i68]

IHE
but

has gone out, she


I

is

far

from me,
in

see
all

her, for

all

things

the

room,
all

pertain

to

her,

and

I, like

the

rest.

This bed
wander,
is

still

warm, over which

let

my

lips

disordered with the imprint of her form.

Upon

this soft

cushion has lain her

little

head en-

veloped

in its wealth of hair.

This basin

is

that in which she hath bathed

this

comb
These

has penetrated the knots of her tangled locks.


slippers

beg

for her

naked

feet.

These pockets

of gauze contained her breasts.

But what

dare not touch,

is

the mirror in which

she gazed upon her hot bruises, and where perhaps

remains

still

the reflection of her moist

lips.

[169]

LXXI

LOVE

[170]

EL AS!
grows
breasts
shiver,

If

think of her
I

my
pain

throat

dry,

bow
hard

my
and
I

head,

my
I

grow
and
I

me,

weep

as

walk.

If I see her

my

heart stops beating,


cold,

my

hands
to

tremble,

my

feet

grow

and

a blush

mounts

my

cheeks,

my

temples beat painfully.

If I

touch her, folly overwhelms me,

my

arms

become weak,
and
lay

my

knees
like a

fail

me.

fall
is

before her,
die.

me down

woman who

about to

Everything she says to

me

seems to wound me.

Her

love

is

a
. .

torture,
.

and the passers-by hear

complaints.

Helas!

How

can

call

her

my my

Well-Beloved

[171]

LXXII

PURIFICATION

[172]

HOU art there


lettes,

Take

off thy bandatunics.

and thy pins and thy

Strip

even to thy sandals, even to


of thy thighs, even to

the

ribbons

the sash under thy breasts.

Wash

the black

from thine eyebrows, and the


Efface the

rouge from

thy

lips.

powder from thy

shoulders, and wash thy hair in the water.

For
layest,

wish to have thee


at the feet

all

pure, just as thou

new born,

of thy mother, before

the eyes of thy proud father.

So chaste that

my

hand
lips,

in thy

hand
a

will

make

thee blush even to the

and that

word from me

in thine ear shall reallume

thy wandering eyes.

[173]

LXXIII

THE CRADLE OF MNASIDIKA

[174]

little

girl,

so few years that I have


thee,
1

had nought but

love

thee,

not as a lover, but as

if

thou hadst

been born of

my

laboring

womb.

When
and

extended upon

arms about me, thou

my knees, thy seekest my breast, thy

two

frail

lips apart

my

nipples pressing softly within their trembling

touch.

It
really

is

then

dream

that

in

some

far

off year,

have nursed
this

this

moist mouth, supple and

dripping;

purple vase of myrrh in which the


is

happiness of

Bilitis

mysteriously enclosed.

Sleep then

will cradle thee

with thy head

upon

my

knee, which shall raise and rock thee.


sing for thee the
little

Sleep thus.

I will

crooning songs that put

to sleep the new-born.

[175]

LXXIV

A PROMENADE BY THE SEA

[176]

^S
!

we were walking

together

upon
up
to

the

beach, silent and wrapped

our

chins with our mantles of dark wool,


a party of

merry young

girls

passed

by.

"Ah!
the pretty

it

is

Bilitis

and Mnasidika!

Look! See
It
is

little

squirrel that

we have

caught.

timid as a bird and gentle as a rabbit.

"

We

shall take

it

to Lydia,

we

will

put

it

in a

cage and will give


lettuce.

it

plenty of milk with leaves of


it

It

is

a female and

will live a

long time."

And
she

the

little

fools

ran away.

As
I

for us, we, a rock,

without speaking, seated ourselves,

upon

upon

the sand, and

we gazed upon

the sea.

LXXV

THE OBJECT"

[178]

OOD health, Bilitis


good
your
health.
?

Mnasidika, good
seated.

Be husband Too
that

How
seen

is

well.

Tell

him not

you

have
if

me.
I

He
And
this is
I

would

kill

had been here.

Have
this

me

he

knew
fear.

no

your chamber ? and


curious.

Pardon me,
beautiful.

am

the bed of Myrrhine.

And

So
it.

Yet
oh,

your bed

little.

thou knowest well


It
is
!

said to be

lascivious,

my

dear

But

let

us speak no more of

Speak We have not one of them. Truly the Then where can one buy Mnasidika At the workers.
lend me.
!

What do you
object.

wish of

me ? That thou shouldst What is it ? I dare not name


?

is

a virgin.

it?

leather

Tell
silk
?

me

also,

where do you buy your embroidery


if

Mine

breaks

one but looks


sells it,

at

it.

make
dear.

mine myself, but Nais


ity.

At
the "

what price?

And

Thing

"

Two drachmas. Adieu. Three


[179]
oboli.
It
is

and of excellent qual-

LXXVI

AN EVENING BY THE FIRE

[i8o]

HE winter
cold

is

cold, Mnasidika.

All

is

outside

our bed.
for I

Rise, then,
lit

come with me,


fire

have

a great
split

with

dead twigs and with

branches.

We

will

warm

ourselves kneeling,
backs, and

all

naked, our
drink milk
eat cakes

hair hanging

upon our

we we

will

together from the same cup, and

will

with honey.

How
too near

gay and noisy


?

is

the flame

Art thou not


Let

Thy
fire

skin becomes red. has

me

kiss

it

wherever the

made

it

burning.

In the midst of the firebrands


iron

will

heat the
the

and

will

dress
I will

thine

hair

here.

With

charred splinters

write thy

name upon

the wall.

[i8i]

LXXVII

QUESTIONS

[182]

SSXZMEawHAT

do you wish

If

it

must

be, I

will sell

my last jewels

in order that

an

attentive slave shall satisfy the desire

of thine eyes, shall quench the thirst

of thy

lips.

If the milk of our goat seem insipid to thee, I


will

hire

for

thee, as

for

an infant, a

nurse with

swollen breasts

who

each morning shall nurse thee.

If our bed seems hard to thee,


soft cushions, all the coverlids

I will

buy

all

the

of

silk, all

the drapery

of furs and feathers of the Amathusian merchants.

All.

But

should

suffice to thee,

and should we

sleep

upon the

earth, earth should with

me

be softer

than the

warm bed of any

stranger.

[183]

LXXVIII

HER EYES

[i84l

REAT
ye

eyes of Mnasidika,

how happy

make me when

love blackens thy

pupils, animates thee or darkens thee

under thy

tears.

How
that
is

ye madden

me when

ye turn to others,

drawn away by women who


not mine.

pass, or

by a memory

Then my
I

cheeks contract,
It

my
me

hands tremble, and


that from
all

suffer.

...

seems to

my

parts,

and before you,

my

life

flees

away.

Great eyes of Mnasidika, cease not to look upon

me

Else will
shall

stab thee with

my

needle,

and never

more

ye see ought save the

terrible night.

LXXIX

FARDS

[i86]

LL,
all

all

my
is is

life,

the world and men,

that

not she, to

me

is

nothing.

All that

not she,

give to thee,

passer-by.

Does she know

the labor

have accomplished
I

in

order to be beautiful in her eyes, the work

have

done with

my

coiffure

and with

my

fards, with

my

robes and perfumes?

As long
would labor

time would

turn

the

spindle

at the oar or I

would plow the

field, if

at such a price I could

keep her here.

But may
desses

it

be that she
over us.

shall

never know,

god-

who watch

The day

that she shall

learn that I love her she will seek another

woman.

LXXX

THE SILENCE OF MNASIDIKA

[188]

HE
at

had laughed

all

through the day,

and even she had sometimes mocked


me.

She had refused to obey

me

even before many strange women.

When we
her,

returned,

affected

not to speak to

and

as
art

she threw herself upon

my

neck, saying,

"

Thou

angry at

me ?

"

said to her

"

Ah Thou
!

art

no more

as in the past,

thou

art

no more

as

thou wast the


Mnasidika."

first

day.

would not

know
word.

thee,

And

she answered not a

But she put on

all

her jewels, even those which

she had not worn for a long time, and the

same

yellow robe broidered with blue, that she wore on


the
first

day of our meeting.

[189]

LXXXI

A SCENE

[190]

wast
flower
I

thou
I

"

" At

the

market.

have
lilies.

bought

some very

beautiful

Here

they are, I have bi-ought them to

you."
a time to

"It has taken thee so long


?

buy four

flowers

"

"

The

flower-girl
^

detained me."

"
ing."
hair

Thy
"

cheeks are pale and thine eyes are glistenis

It

the fatigue of the journey."

" Thine

is

tangled and moist."

"

It

is

the heat, and the

wind that has blown


"

my

hair almost

down."
;

Thy
it

cincture has been untied

tied the

knot

myself,
that

more
fell

loosely than this one."


a

" So loosely
it

apart;

slave

who

passed retied

for

me."
" There
is

a stain

upon thy robe."


fell

"

It

is

the

water from the flowers that


dika,

upon

it."

" Mnasi-

my
I

little

soul, thy

lilies

are the

most beautiful
I

there are in

all

Mytilene."

"That

know

well.

That

know

well."

[191]

LXXXII

WAITING

[192]

HE
for

sun has passed the whole of the

night

among

the dead while I

wait

her,

seated

upon

my

bed, weak

with watching.

The wick
has

of the exto

hausted
the end.

lamp

burned even

She
I

will

never come again

the last star fades.


I
I

know

she will never return.

know even
wait
still.

the

name

that I hate.

Nevertheless

Oh,

that she

would come now


hair disordered

Yes, that she


roses,

would come, her

and without

her robes rumpled, soiled, and awry, her tongue dry,

and her eyelids black

As soon
her
. . .

as she shall

open the door,


is

I will

say to

But, here she

...
Her

It is
hair.

her robe that

I shall

touch.

Her

hands.

Her
weep.

skin

kiss her with unquestioning lips,

and

LXXXIII

SOLITUDE

[194]

OR

whom

shall

paint

my

lips?
?

For For

whom

shall I polish shall I

whom

my nails perfume my hair ?

For

whom

are

my

breasts

powdered with rouge.

If they shall no more tempt her?

For

whom

are

my

arms washed with milk.


her
?

If they

may never more embrace

How shall I ever sleep How can I ever go to my bed


?

This evening

my
the

hand, in

all

my

couch.

Has

not

felt

warm touch of hers.

dread to return to

my

home.

To
I
I

the

room

so frightfully bare.

dare not reopen the door,

even dare not reopen

my

eyes.

[195]

LXXXIV

A LETTER

[196]

HAT

is

impossible,

impossible.

supplicate thee
tears, all

upon
I

my

knees, with

the tears
letter,

have wept over

this

horrible
thus.

do not abandon

me
Think how

terrible

'tis

to lose thee for the second

time, after having had the joy so great of hoping to

reconquer thee.

Ah, my passion
I

Wilt thou never


?

know

to what point
to

have loved thee

Listen

me.

Consent to see

me

once more. of the sun,


follow-

Wilt thou not to-morrow,


be before thy portal
ing ?
I will
?

at the setting

To-morrow, or the day

come

to take thee away.

Do

not refuse

me

that.

'Tis the last time perhaps.

Let
!

it

be.
I

But

at
it

least again this time, again this time

demand

of thee,
that

beg

it

of thee, and thou shouldst remember

upon thy

reply depends the rest of

my

life.

[197]

LXXXV

THE ATTEMPT

[198]

IHOU

wast jealous of us, Gyrinno, too

passionate child.
hast thou

How many
at the

garlands

hung

knocker of our

door
sage,

Thou

attendedst us in the pasin the streets.

and followedst us

Now, thou

art,

according to thy vow, reclining

upon the loved

spot,

with

thine

head upon the

cushion about which

floats

another odor of woman.

Thou

art larger

than she was.

Thy

body, so

differ-

ent, startles

me.
I

Look
it is I.

have

at last

given myself to thee.

Yes,

Thou

canst play with

my

breasts, caress

my

body, and open

my

knees.

My whole
!

being

is

given

to thy indefatigable lips,

Alas

Ah
lips
!

Gyrinno

with love

my

tears overflow

my

Dry them
but hold

with thy hair, do not kiss them, dear


closer
still

one

me

and control

my

trem-

bling.

[199]

LXXXVI

THE STRIVING

200]

GAIN

Enough
arms
!

of

sighs

and of
again
in
!

stretching

Commence
lies

Thinkest thou that love


pose
?

re-

Gyrinno, love

is

task,

and

of all tasks the most rude.

Awaken
to

then

Thou mayest

not sleep

What

me

are thy blue lids


?

and the bar of pain that burns

thy thin thighs

Astarte seethes in

my

loins.

We
with so
night.

lay

down

together before the twilight, behold

already the wicked


little.

dawn
will

but

am

not exhausted

not sleep before the second

will

not sleep
is

and thou mayest not


!

sleep.

Oh, how
taste
it
!

bitter

the taste of the morning

Gyrinno,

The
soft.

ecstasies are

more

difficult,

but stranger,

and more

[201

LXXXVII

GYRINNO

[2,02]

RELIEVE
thee.
I

not that

have ever loved


I

have eaten thee as

would

ripe

fig, I

have drank thee


I

as I

would

drink hot water,

have carried thee

about

me

like a belt

of skin.

have amused myself with thy body because thou

hast short hair and pointed breasts


chest,

upon thy
dates.

thin

and black nipples

like

two

little

Just as one must have water and

fruit,

woman

is

also necessary, but already I have forgotten thy

name,
the

thou,

who

hast

passed

between

my

arms

like

shadow of another adored one.

Between thy
possessed me.

flesh
I

and mine

burning dream has


as

pressed thee
I

upon me
!

though
!

upon

wound, and

cried,

Mnasidika

Mnasidika

Mnasidika

[203]

LXXXVIII

THE LAST EFFORT

[204]

HAT do you wish,

old

" To console thee." " 'Tis trouble lost." "They have told me that since thy parting thou fliest from love to love, without finding peace or forgetfulness.
I

woman ?

"

come

to offer thee

some one."

at Sardis. She has not her equal in the world, for she is at the same time man and woman, although her breasts, her long locks, and her clear voice produce all the illusions."

" Speak." " It is a young girl-slave born

" Her age ? " " Sixteen years." " Her form ? " " Large and fine. She has known no one here save Psappha, who loves her madly, and would buy her of me for twenty minae. If thou wouldst hire her, thou canst have her." " And what will I do with her ? " Behold, twenty and two nights that I seek in vain to escape from my memories Done I will try yet this one, but you must warn her, the poor little one, lest she be afraid, should I sob in her

arms.

[205]

LXXXIX

THE TORTURES OF REMEMBRANCE

[206]

Sr^
/^>ij

"UUli

REMEMBER
^
'*

(at

what hour of the

r-3r^ ^^y

'^^^

before

my

eyes

!),

re-

i$yj member

the

way

in

which she

lifted

^_^j up

her hair with her long fingers, so

white.
I recall

the night that she passed, her cheek

upon
kept

my
me

breast, so softly, so sweetly, that happiness

awake, and in the morning she had upon her face

the impress of
I

my

rounded nipple.

see her holding her cup of milk, and looking at


a smile.
I

me

from the corner of her eyes with

see

her powdered and with her hair dressed, opening her


great eyes before her mirror, and retouching with her
finger the red of her lips.

And
it is

above
I

all, if

my

despair

is

perpetual torture,

because

know, moment by moment, how she


in the

gives herself

up

arms of another, and what she


gives again.

demands of her, and what she

[207]

xc

TO THE WAX DOLL

[208]

OLL
also,

of wax, loved plaything that she

called her babe, she has forgotten thee

and has

left

thee as she has me,

who, when with


thy mother,
I

her,

was thy father or


not which.

know

The

pressure of her lips has


left

wounded thy

little

cheeks, and on thy


for

hand behold the broken


This
little
it

finger

which she wept so much.

cyclas that

thou wearest, 'twas she embroidered

for thee.

And
thee, she

she said that thou couldst read.


at night,

Although

thou wast never weaned, and

bending over
breast,

opened her tunic and gave thee the


said.

" in order that thou shouldst not cry," she

Little doll, if I

wished to see her again,

would

give thee to Aphrodite as the most precious of


possessions.
forever.

my

But

would rather think she

is

dead

[209]

XCI

A FUNERAL CHANT

[210]

ING
as a

now

funeral
!

chant,

muses of
is

Mytilene, sing

the

earth

sombre

mourning garment, and the yellow


shaken locks of
hair.

trees tremble like

Heraios
leaves
fall

oh, sad

and

sorrowful

month

the

softly like the

snow, the sun no longer

penetrates the forest no longer illumined.


I

No

more

hear aught save the silence.

Behold, they have carried Pittakos to the tomb,


overloaded with years.
I

How many
she,

are

dead

have known.

And

who

still

lives, is

whom for me

as if she lived

no longer.

This

is

the

tenth
this

time that
little

have seen the


It
is

Autumn
I

die

upon

plain.

time that

also

passed

away.

Weep

with

me, muses

of

Mytilene, weep upon

my

steps.

[.II]

Ill

EPIGRAMS IN THE ISLAND OF KYPROS


" But
for

mc

the chaplets of hyacinths, the pleasing flutes, the saffron

robes, the perfumes, and the blooming fields.

Soft-voiced Myrtilla, and jovial Bacchus, and the sport with virgins in
the darkened caves."

Philodemes.
;

"

The

spectacles

were strange
girls

there

were games
all

in

which one saw

crowds of naked young


only a simple belt
;

taking part in

the exercises, wearing

at the celebrated fete

of Maiouma, troops of cour-

tesans bathed in public in the basins of the fountains filled with limpid

water.

It

was

like

an intoxication,

like a

dream of Sardanapalus,
all

in

which passed before the


debauches,

eyes, pele-mele,

the pleasures,

all

the

not excepting certain curious perversions."

Ernest

Renan.

[213]

XCII

HYMN TO THE ASTARTE

[214]

OTHER

inexhaustible, incorruptible,

creatrix, first-born, self-conceived, self-

created, enjoyed of thyself alone


issue of thyself, Astarte
!

and

Oh,
of
all,

perpetually

fecund,

oh,

virgin

and

nurse

chaste and lascivious one, pure and wanton,

ineffable, nocturnal, soft,

breather of

fire,

foam of

the sea

Thou who
who
unitest,

accordest

thy

grace in secret, thou


fillest

thou who lovest, thou who

the

unending races of savage beasts with furious


and joinest the sexes
in the forests

desire,

Oh, Astarte
sess

irresistible,

hear

me

take me, pos-

me, oh. Moon, and thirteen times each year

draw from

my

privities the libation of

my

blood.

XCIII

HYMN TO THE NIGHT

[ai6]

|HE
still

black

masses

of the

trees

are

and

as

Immovable
stars are

as the
all

mounacross

tains.

The
a

strewn

the
like

immense

sky.

warm wind
caresses

human

breath

my

eyes and

my

cheeks.

Oh, Night, thou who

givest birth to the gods

how
art

sweet thou art upon


in

my

lips

how warm thou


into

my
I

hair
feel

how now thou

enterest
all

me,

and how
time.

myself pregnant with

thy spring-

The
of me.
perflime
are in

flowers

that shall

bloom
is

shall

all

be born

The wind
that

that blows
is

my

breath.

The
stars

passes

my

desire.

All

the

my

eyes.

Thy
the

voice,

is

it

the

silence
it

of the
it

murmur of the sea plain ? Thy voice, I


bends

Is

it

underfeet,

stand

not, but
tears

my

head to

my

and

my

wash

my

two hands.

[aiy]

XCIV

THE MENADES

[218]

HROUGH
upon the
ing.

the forests that look out

sea, the

Menades

are rush-

Maskale, with hot breasts, runs


brandishing
a

shrieking,

phallos

of

sycamore, smeared with vermilion.

In their mantles

'

of fox skin, and crowned with

twigs and fruit of the vine, running, crying, leaping,


castanets
rattling

in

their

hands, and their staves

splitting the heads of the ringing

drums.

With wetted
and reddened

hair,

with agile

legs,

with

tossing

breasts, their

cheeks wet with sweat,

their lips in foam, they offer thee,

Dionysos, the

love thou hast thrown within them.

And
the

the
hair

wind of the sea


of

lifts

toward heaven
her locks

red

Heliokomis, twisting

like the furious flame

upon
'

a torch

of white wax.

Bassaris.

[219]

xcv

THE SEA OF

KYPRIS

220]

PON
sea

the

highest
flat

promontory

lay

me down

upon
as

my
field

face.

The

was black

of

violets.

The milky way poured


the divine breast.

itself

out from

A
hair.

thousand Menades slept about

me among

the

crushed flowers.

The

long grass mingled with their

And

then, behold, the

sun rose out of the

eastern waters.

They were
coast
that

the same waters, and

it

was the same

once

saw
I

appear
hid

the

white

body of
hands.

Aphrodite.

Quickly

my

eyes in

my

For

had seen a thousand


the

little

lips

of light

tremble upon

water;

the

pure "sex" or the

smile of Kypris Philommeides.

[221]

XCVI

THE

PRIESTESSES OF ASTARTE

[222]

HE
they

priestesses of Astarte

make

love

at the

hour of the

rising in a

moon

then

rise

and bathe
silver.

huge basin

edged with

With
and

their

curved fingers, they comb their

hair,

their hands, tinted with purple, tangled in their

black locks, seem like branches of coral in a dark

and flowing

sea.

They remove not

the hair from their bodies, so

that the triangle of the goddess


like a temple,

marks

their bellies
little

but they paint themselves with

brushes and perfume themselves freely.

The
ting

priestesses of Astarte

make

love at the set-

of the

moon

then in a carpeted hall where


lie

burns a lamp of gold, they

together in sleep.

[223]

XCVII

THE MYSTERIES

[224]

^-_^S*S^N
/^^

the

thrice

mysterious temple into

"^^3 which men

never enter,

we have

feted

j^^

thee, Astarte

of the

Night, Mother

'S/)m of the World, Fountain of Life of the "*^'' Gods.

Some
permitted.

things I will reveal, but no

more than

is

About
dress

a phallos, crowned,
cries.

an hundred
initiated

women
are
tunics.

dance with shouts and

The
in

in the

of men,

the

others

divided

The smoke of perfumes, float among us like a cloud.


tears.

the fumes of torches,


I

weep with burning


'

All, at the feet of the Berbeia

we

cast our-

selves

upon our
last

backs.

At
when
the

when

the pious act

is

accomplished, and

into the

Unique Triangle has been plunged


the

purple
I

Phallos, then

mystery commences

but

will tell

no more.
'

Pearl-born (Aphrodite).

[225]

XCVIII

THE EGYPTIAN COURTESANS

[226]

ITH
old
clay,

Plango,

have been among the


in the

Egyptian courtesans, high up


city.

They have amphoras of


of
copper,

dishes

and

mats
they

of yellow rushes upon which


squat without fatigue.

Their chambers are


out corners, so

still,

without angles and with-

much have

the couches of blue lime-

stone smoothed off the

pillars,

and rounded the base

of the walls.

They
knees.

sit

immovable,
they

their

hands

laid

upon

their

When

offer

porridge,

they

murmur,

" Happiness to you," and


say,

when we thank them, they

" Through your kindness."

They understand
it

the Greek and pretend to speak

badly, so that they


:

may
tooth

laugh at us in their
for a tooth

own

tongue

but we

we

speak

Lydian, and they are quickly abashed.

[227]

XCIX
I

SING OF

MY

FLESH AND MY LIFE

[228]

URELY
lovers

will

not

sing

of famous

of the past.

If

they are

no
not

more,
like

why speak of them ?


?

Am

unto them

Have

not enough

to

do

to think of myself?

Pasiphae,

I will forget thee,

although thy passion

was extreme.
Byblis, nor
thee,

Syrinx,

I will

not praise thee, nor thee,

by

the goddess

chosen before

all

If

Helene of the white arms.

If any

among ye have
I

suffered, I feel

it

not.
I

any of ye have loved,


of

have loved more.


life,

sing

my

flesh

and of

my

and not of the

sterile

shadows of buried
Lie at ease,
mission
!

loves.

O my

body, following thy voluptuous

Taste thy daily pleasure and thy passion

without to-morrow.
lest it

Leave not

a single joy

unknown,

be regretted

at the

day of thy death.

[229]

THE PERFUMES

[230]

gw WILL
^^
<S?^ may
tiful

perfume

all

my
of

skin that

attract lovers.
legs, in a basin

Upon my
silver,

beauI

will

i^^J

pour the spikenard of Tarsos, and the metopion


'

of Egypt.
eye-

Under my arms, crushed mint; upon my


brows

and

Slave, take

my eyes, down my hair and


upon

marjolaine
fill

of

Koos.

it

with the

smoke

of incense.

Behold the oinanthe (briony) of the mountains


of Kypros
liquor
;

I will let it

run between

my

breasts

the

of roses which

comes

from

Phaselis,

shall

embalm my neck and my

cheeks.

And
should

come, pour out upon


It
is

my

loins the irresistible

bakkaris (inula).

better for a courtesan that she

know

the perfumes of Lydia, than the cus-

toms of the Peloponnesus.


'

Galbanum.

[231]

CI

CONVERSATION

[232]

OOD

morning.

To
art
girl.

you
in

good
hurry.

morning.

Thou
less

Perhaps
Thou
art a

than you think.

pretty

Perhaps
not
tell

prettier than

you

believe.

"

What

is

thy charming

name

will

you that so quickly.


evening
?

Thou
lover.

hast

no one

for this

Always my love him Any way he


?

And

how do you

wishes.

"Shall

we sup
will

together?
give

But

what
?

you

If thou me This. Five


wishest.
?

drachmas

That must be
the sum.

for

my

slave.

And

for

me

Name

An

hundred.

"Where

dost thou live?


I

In
?

this blue house.

At what hour may


wish.

send for thee

At

once, if

you

At

once, then.

Go

before, I will follow."

CII

THE TORN ROBE

[234]

OLA
upon

by the two goddesses, who

is

the insolent one

who

has put his foot


is

my
is

robe?"
a bore."

"
" Imbecile
back, and
for a
if I girl
!

It

"It " was awkward,


a lover,"
I
is

pardon me."

my

yellow robe

torn

all

up

the

walk thus

in the streets, I will be taken

poor

who

serves Kypris inversely."

" Will
speaks
to

you not stop

"

"I
!

believe

he
thus

still

me

"

" Will
?

you leave
Alas
I

me

in

anger

You

reply not

dare speak no

more."

"

must return
I

to

my
the

house to change

my

robe."
is

"And
father
?

may

not follow
is

you?"

"Who

thy

"

" He

rich

captain

Nikias."

"

Thou

hast fine eyes, I

pardon thee."

[235]

cm
THE JEWELS

{'^361

^ DIADEM
my
^

of burnished gold crowns Five small

straight white brow.

chains of gold, that twine about

my
hair

cheeks and chin, are hung to

my

by two

large pins.

Upon my
bracelets

arms, which

Iris

would envy,

thirteen
are.

of

silver are tangled.

How

heavy they

But they

are weapons,

and

know an enemy who

has

suffered from them.

Truly,

am

covered with gold.

My
The

breasts are

cuirassed with two pectorals of gold.

images of

the gods are not

more

richly

decked than

1.

And

wear upon

my

robe a scaled belt of


this verse
:

silver.

Upon

it

thou mayest read

"

Love me

eternally, but be not afflicted if I deceive thee three

times each day."


[

237]

CIV

THE INDIFFERENT ONE

[238]

INCE he
ever

has entered

my chamber, whois

may he
I

be (that

his affair)

" See,"
beautiful

say to the slave,


!

" what a

man

And how happy should


"
!

be a courtesan

call

him Adonis, Ares, Herakles, according

to
is

his face, or the


silver pale.

Old

Man
who

of the Sea,

if his

hair
!

And
"

then

cares for fickle

youth

"
florist
'

Ah

say,

"

if

to-day

had not to pay

my

and

my

jeweler,

how

would
I

like to tell thee,

do not wish thy money


!

am

thy passionate

servant

'

Then, when he has closed

his

arms over

my

shoulders, I see a boatman of the port pass like a

divine image over the starry heaven of


lids.

my transparent

[ 2.39 ]

cv

THE WATER

IN

THE

BASIN

[240]

''Pure water of the basin, motionless mirror, tell me of my beauty "

The

Water

in

the Basin.

Original Etching by James Fagan.

URE

water of the basin, motion-

less mirror, tell

me

of

my

beauty.
art,

O
thou "

Bilitis,

or whoever thou

Tethys perhaps, or Amphitrite,


art beautiful,

thou knowest

it.

Thy

face

bends under thy thick

hair,

burdened

with flowers and perfumes.

Thine

eyelids scarcely

open and thy


love.

flanks are tired with the

movements of

"

Thy

body, fatigued with the weight of thy

breasts, bears the fine

marks of the

nails,

and the

blue stains of the


embraces.

kiss.

Thine arms

are

reddened by

Each

fold of thy

body was loved.

brings

" Clear water of the


repose.

basin, thy freshness

Receive

me who am worn

in truth.

Take
the

from

me

the stain of

my lips

(fard

of

my lips), and

sweat from

my

body, and the

memory of

the night."

[241]

CVI

LASCIVIOUSNESS

[242]

PON

a white terrace, at night, they left

us swooning

among

the roses.

The

hot sweat rolled like tears from our


armpits over our breasts.
ing
pleasure

Overpower-

back heads.

doves,

empurpled our thrown-

Four

captive

bathed in four perfumes,

flew about us in the silence.

From

their wings,
I

upon
was

the

naked

women

fell

drops
iris.

of essence.

showered with odors of


lassitude
a
!

I laid

my

cheek upon the body of


herself in freshness from

young

girl,

who enveloped

my damp hair. The odor cated my opened mouth. my neck.


1

of her saffroned skin intoxi-

She closed her thighs about

slept,

but an exhausting dream awakened me,

the inyx,' bird of nocturnal desires, sang loudly from


afar.
I

coughed with a

shiver.

languishing arm,

like a flower, raised itself in the air


'

toward the moon.

The wryneck,

bird sacred to Venus.

[H3]

evil

THE HOSTELRY

[244]

INE
now

host,

we

are

four.
It

Give us a
is

room with two


to

beds.

too late

return to the city and the

rain has ruined the roads.

" Bring us a basket of

figs,

some

cheese,

and some

dark wine
feet, for

but

first

take off

my

sandals and wash

my

the

mud

tickles

me.

" Let there be brought into the chamber two


basins with water, a full lamp, a krater (a punch-

bowl),

and some kylix

(goblets).

Thou

shouldst

shake the coverlids, and beat the cushions.

" But

let

the beds be of

good maple, and the


silent)
!

planks must not squeak


us not to-morrow."

(must be

Wake

[^45]

CVIII

DOMESTIC CARE

[246]

lOUR
in

slaves

guard

my my

house:

two

strong Thracians at

door, a Sicilian

my

kitchen, and a kind and silent

Phrygian
bed.

woman

for the service of

my

The two
in their

Thracians are fine men, they have staves

hands with which to drive away poor lovers,


nail

and an hammer with which to


wreaths that are sent to me.

upon

the wall the

The
for
her.

Sicilian is a rare

cook

paid twelve minae

No

other knows like she to prepare the

fried

croquettes and the cakes of

poppy

seed.

The
and

Phrygian maid bathes me, combs

my

hair, in

epilates

my

body.

She sleeps

in the

morning

my my

chamber, and three nights


place with

in each

month she

takes

my

lovers.

[247]

CIX

THE BATH

[248]

ITTLE
no one

girl,

watch the door and

let

enter, for I

and

six girls with

beautiful
in the

arms would bathe

secretly

warm water of the

fountain.

"

We would

only laugh and swim.

Let the lovers

stay in the street.

We

will

moisten our legs in the

water and, seated upon the margin of the basin,


will

we

play at dice.

"
enter

And
;

also

we

will

play at
;

ball.

Let no lovers
all

our tresses are too wet

our throats are


all

goose-flesh
wrinkles.

and the

tips

of our fingers are

in

it,

" Besides, he would repent


prise us

he

who should

sur-

naked

Bilitis is

not Athena, but she shows

herself only at the hours she chooses and dazzles too

ardent eyes."

[249]

ex

TO HER BREASTS

[250]

LESH - LIKE
how
rich

flowers,

O my

breasts

you

are in voluptuousness

My

breasts in

my

hands, what lack

you of softness, and of mellow warmth


and of youthful perfume
Already you are polished
statue,
like the
?

breasts of a

and hard

like the insensible marble.


I

In order

that

you may submit,

will

cherish

you the more,

you

that were already loved.

Your

sleek and rounded form


I

is

the honor of

my

brown body, whether


lace

imprison you under a neckfree

of gold, or leave you


with your splendor.

and naked, you precede

me

Be then happy
you
in caresses,

this night.
will

If

my

fingers toy with


until to-

you alone
for

know them
Bilitis

morrow morning;
Bilitis.

this

night

has

paid

CXI

MYDZOURIS

[252]

^YDZOURIS,
weeping.
those
'A

little

filth,

cease
lover.

thy
If
'tis

Thou

art

my

women

insult thee again,

will

answer them.

Come

into

my

arms and dry thine eyes.


Yes,
ture,
I

know

that thou art an horrible

little

crea-

and that thy mother taught thee early


things.

to dare

do

all

But thou

art
is

young, and therefore

thou canst do nothing that

not charming.

The
spite

lips
all.

of a young

girl

of

fifteen

remain pure in

of

The

lips

of an hoary woman, though


;

she be virgin, are degraded


to

for the sole disgrace

is

grow

old,

and we
I

are

shamed only by

wrinkles.

Mydzouris,

love thy frank eyes, thy shameless

and impudent name, thy laughing voice, and thy


light

body.

Live with me, thou shalt be


together, the

my

aid,

and
thee

when we walk

women

shall

bid

" Good morrow."

[253]

CXII

THE TRIUMPH OF

BILITIS

[254]

^-__

^^K^ 1^ procession

have been carried, in

^rwl

r0? '"^P^

^>

Bilitis, all

naked upon a
slaves,

shell-shaped

car,

upon which

during the night, have cast ten thousand roses.

reclined,

my
in

hands under
sandals

my

neck,

alone

decked

of gold,
the bed of

and

my feet my body
hair

stretched smoothly,

upon

my warm

mixed with

petals of fresh flowers.

Twelve
served

children, with wings

upon

their shoulders,
;

me

as

though

were a goddess

some held

shade over me, while others sprinkled


perfume, or burned incense
at the

me

gently with

prow.

And
murmur

about

me

heard the

hum

of the ardent
of desire
the

of the throng, while the breath

floated about

my

nudity, in the blue

smoke of

aromatics.

CXIII

TO THE GOD OF THE WOODS

[256]

VENERABLE
woods, that
I

Priapos,

god of the
in
is

have had fastened

the marble margin of

my
thou

bath,

it

not without reason,


the
orchards,
that

guardian of
shouldst

watch here over courtesans.

O
rifice

God, we have not bought thee


:

in order to sac-

our virginity to thee


exists

no one can give back that

which

no more, and the zealous votaries of

Pallas run

not in the streets of Amathonte.


leaf-

No.

Formerly thou didst watch over the


trees,

decked locks of the

over the dewy flowers, over


'Tis for that

the heavy and savory

fruits.

we have

chosen thee.

Guard to-day our blond heads, the opened poppies of our lips,

and the

violets of

our eyes.

Guard

the hard fruits of our breasts, and give us lovers


are like

who

unto

thee.

[257]

CXIV

THE DANCE WITH THE CASTINETTES

[258]

|HOU

attachest to thy light hands thy


crotales,

ringing

Myrrhinidion,

my

dear one, and almost naked, out of

thy robe thou advancest thy nervous


thighs.

How

beautiful art thou, thine

arms

in

the

air,

thine arched

flanks

and thy rosy

breasts

Thou commencest
pose, hesitate, and
like a scarf,

thy feet one before the other


softly.

glide

Thy body

bends

thou caressest thy shivering skin, and

pleasure inundates thy long, swooning eyes.

Suddenly thou
sel'f

strikest the castinettes

Arch thy-

upon thy

firm-set feet, shake thy flanks, throw


let thine

forward thy legs, and


call all

hands,

filled

with noise,

the desires in a band about thy turning body.

We, we

applaud with loud

cries

whether, smiling

from the shoulder, thou shakest with a shiver thy


convulsed, muscular hips, or
if

thou bendest, almost

extended, to the rhythm of thy memories.

[259]

cxv

THE FLUTE -PLAYER

[260]

ELIXO,

thy thighs pressed together,

thy body bent, thine arms before thee,

thou sHppest thy light double

flute

between thy

lips,

moist with wine, and

thou playest about the couch where


Teleas again embraces me.

Am

not most imprudent,

I,

who

hire so fair a
I,

girl to distract

me
?

in

my

laborious hours,

her thus nude to the curious eyes of not most careless

my

lovers,

who show am I

No, Melixo,
honest friend.

little

music - maker, thou


hast

art

an

To-day thou
for another
full

not refused to
I

change thy

flute

when

despaired of

accomplishing a love
art to

of

difficulties.

But thou

be trusted.

For

well

know of what thou


this night
in vain,

thinkest.

Thou
glow

awaitest the

end of

of excesses, which ani-

mates thee cruelly and

and

at the first

of the morning, thou wilst run in the


thine only friend, Psyllos, to thy
little

street with

torn mattress.

[261]

CXVI

THE WARM GIRDLE

[262]

|HOU

thinkest

thou

lovest

me no

more, Teleas, and since a month thou


passest thy nights at table, as if the
fruits,

the wines, the

honey, could
lips.

make

thee

forget

my

Thou
!

thinkest that thou lovest

me no

more, poor fool

Saying that,

untied
It

my
still

moist girdle and rolled


all

it

about

his head.

was

warm

with the heat

of my body; the perfiime of


its fine

my

skin poured out of

meshes.
breathed with long breaths, his eyes closed
felt

He
then
I

that he returned to
desires
I

me, and even saw

clearly

his

reawaken, and he hid them not,

but, as a ruse,

knew how

to resist.

" No,

my
!

friend, this

night, Lysippos possesses


as I fled
little
:

me.

Adieu "

And
but

added
!

" Oh, gourBilitis

mand of fruits and


has but one
fig,

wines
it is

The

garden of

good."

CXVII

TO A CONTENTED HUSBAND

[264]

gw ENVY
H^
self

thee, Agorakrites, that


It
is

thou

hast a wife so frugal.

she her-

who

cares

for

the

stable,
in

and
of

when
to the cattle.

morning

conies,

place

loving thee, she goes to give drink

Thou mayest
tell

be glad of her.

How many

others,

me, think of nothing but low pleasures, waking

the night, sleeping the day, asking even from adultery


a criminal satiety.

Yes

thy wife works in the stable.

They
'tis

say

even that she has a thousand tendernesses for the


youngest among thine
animal.
asses.

Ah

ha

a fine

He

has a black spot above his eyes.

They
under

say that she fondles him between his hoofs

his soft gray belly

But those who say that

are scandal-makers.
krites,
it

If thine ass pleases her, Agora-

is

no doubt that when she looks upon him

she thinks of thee.

[.65]

CXVIII

TO A PERVERTED ONE

[a66]

HE love of women
ful

is

the most beauti-

thing of

all

that mortals can

know,
thus,

and

thou wouldst
if

think

also

Kleon,

thou hadst a truly volup;

tuous soul
vanities.

but thou dreamest only

Thou losest thy nights in cherishing pubescents who are ungrateful to us. Look then upon them how ugly they are Compare their round heads
!

with our long locks


their flat

seek our white breasts upon

bosoms.
side

By
tell

the

of their thin thighs, consider our

luxuriant hips, broad hollow couches for lovers.

And
it,

me what human

lips,

save those that wish

can

increase our lascivious joys.

Thou art thee. Go to


she will
prefers,

sick,

Kleon, but a

woman

can cure

the

young

Satyra, the daughter of


is

my
and

neighbor Gorge, her croup


not refuse thee

a rose in the sun,

the

pleasure

she

herself

[267]

CXIX
INTIMACIES

[268]

HY

become Lesbian, O Bilitis, thou askest me ? But what player of the flute is not a Lesbian in some

am

degree
I lie

with her

am poor I have no bed who wishes me, and I


;

thank her with that which

have.

When we
what dances
the other,
?

are small

we

already dance naked

and
the

Thou

knowest,

my

dear

one

twelve desires of Aphrodite.

We

look each upon

we compare the beauty of our nakedness,


it

and we

find

beautiful.

During the long night we


pleasure
feigned,

are

warmed by
is

the

of the lookers-on

but our ardor


feel
it,

not

and so strongly do we

that sometimes,
a

behind the doors, one of us

may embrace

companion

who

consents.

us

How do we He takes
I

make

love with a

man who
art a

is

rude to

us as he would a woman, and leaves

us before the orgasm.

Thou, thou

woman and
it

knowest what
thyself.

mean.

Thou

canst take

as for

[269]

cxx

THE ENGAGEMENT

[ayo]

ISTENj

old

woman

I I

give a fes-

tival in three days.

must have an
shalt let to

entertainment.
all

Thou

me

thy

girls.

How many
"
?

hast thou

and what can they do "


have seven.

Three dance the Kordax with


Nephele with the sleek

the scarf and the phallos.

armpits will mimic the loves of the doves between

her rose-colored breasts.

"

singer in

broidered peplos will

sing

the

songs of Rhodes, accompanied by two auletrides


players)
their

(flute

who

will

have garlands of myrtle rolled about

brown
It

thighs."

"

is

well.

See to

it

that they be freshly epi;

lated, bathed,

and perfumed from head to toe


it is

ready

for

other games if

asked of them.

Go, give

orders.

Adieu."

[271]

CXXI

THE DANCE OF PASIPHAE

[272]

dURING
wine,

debauch that two young


courtesans

men and some

made with
like

me, where love was poured out


Damalis,
to
fete

her

name,

danced the figure of Pasiphae.

She had had made

at Kition

two masks, one of


for

a cow, one of a bull, for her

and

Khamantides/
tail

She wore
croup.

terrible horns,

and an hairy

upon her

The
we

other

women,

led

by me, held the flowers


cries,

and torches, we turned upon ourselves with


caressed Damalis with the
tips

and

of our pendent

locks.

Their lowings and our songs and the dancing of


our
loins, lasted longer than the night.
is still

The empty

chamber

warm.

I look

upon my reddened

knees and upon the canthares (cups) of Khios, where


float the roses. [

273

CXXII

THE JUGGLER

[274]

'*T'W*lHEN

the

first

pale light of the

morn-

ing mingled itself with the feeble glow

of our torches,
in

ordered to take part

the orgies a player of the flute,


agile,

wicked and
little,

who

shivered

being cold.

Praise the
hair,

little girl

with blue pupils, with short


breasts, dressed

with sharp-pointed

only in a

girdle,

from which
iris
!

hang

yellow

ribbons,

and the

stems of black

Praise

her

for

she was adroit

and performed

many

difficult tricks.

She juggled with hoops, withhall,

out breaking anything in the

and she slipped

about among them like a grasshopper.

Sometimes she made of herself


hands and
feet.

a wheel

upon her
air,

And

then her two legs in the

and the knees spread


ward
until she

apart, she curved herself backfloor,

touched the

always laughing.

[275]

CXXIII

THE DANCE OF THE FLOWERS

[^76]

^^ NTH IS, the


veils
i|

Lydian dancer, has seven


She unrolls the
falls.

about her.
veil,

yel-

low
pink

her black hair


falls falls

veil

from her

lips.

The The

white veil

and leaves

to view her

naked arms.
She loosens her
that
little

breasts

from the red

veil

unknots

itself.

She
veil

lets fall

from her double and

rounded hips the

of green.

She draws the

veil

of blue from her shoulders, but she presses upon her


puberties the last transparent
veil.

The young men


head backward;
draws
it

supplicate her; she throws her

at the

sound of the

flutes only, she

partly away, then suddenly, with the gesture


culls the flowers

of the dance, she


Singing
:

of her body.

Where are my roses ? Where are my perfumed violets ? Where are my tufts of parsley ?
Behold
violets,

"

my
will

roses, I give

them

to you.
?

Behold

my

you have

them

Behold

my

sweet

crinkled parsley."

[277]

CXXIV
BY VIOLENCE

[278]

cxxv

A SONG
(the first gave me a collar)

[280]

first

gave

me

a collar, a collar of
its

pearls which was worth a city, with

palaces

and

its

temples,

its

treasures

and

its

slaves.

The
hair

second made verses to me.


as those of the night,

He

said that

my

was black

and that

my

blue

eyes were as blue as the sky of the morning.

The

third was so beautiful that his

mother could
hands
feet.

not kiss him without blushing.

He

laid his

upon my knees, and

his lips

upon

my

naked

Thou, thou
given

hast said nothing to me, thou hast

me

nothing, for thou art poor, and thou art not


'tis

beautiful, but

thee

love.

[281]

CXXVI

ADVICE TO A LOVER

[282]

^ESBaagilMF
/yu^

thou wouldst be loved by a woman,

"t^V
i^VJl

young

friend,

whoever she may

be,

tell
^^''j

her not that thou wouldst have

KJ^H

^^^

^^*

^^^ ^^^ *^^^ every day

then disappear, to return.

If she addresses her speech to thee, be amorous

without eagerness.

She

will

come of

herself to thee.

But thou must take her by

force, the

day when she

intends to give herself to thee.

When
own

thou receivest her

in thy bed, neglect thine

pleasure.

The hands of

an amorous

woman

are

trembling and without caresses.


lack of zeal.

Forgive them their

But
kisses

as

for

thee, take

no repose.

Prolong thy
sleep,

till

thou losest breath.


it

Let her not

even though she begs


part of her

of thee.

Kiss always that

body

to

which she turns her eyes.

[283]

CXXVII

FRIENDS AT DINNER

[284]

gYROMERIS
friends,

and

Maskhale,
for I

my
upon

come with me,

have no

lover this

evening, and,
flax,

lying

our beds of

we

will

talk while

we

dine.

night of repose will do you

good

you

shall

sleep in

my

bed, even without fards and with your

hair disarranged.

Wear

a simple tunic of wool, and

leave your jewels in their box.

No
flanks.

one

shall

make you dance

that

they

may

admire your legs and the heavy movements of your

No

one

shall

demand of you
learn if

the sacred

figures, that they

may

you

are passionate.

And
flutes

have not ordered for us two players of

with beautiful

mouths, but two marmites of

stewed peas, cakes of honey, some fried croquettes, and

my

last leathern bottle

of Khios.

[285]

CXXVIII

THE TOMB OF THE YOUNG COURTESAN

[286]

ERE
little

lies

the

delicate

body of Lyde,
all

dove, the most merry of

courte-

sans,

who more

than any other loved

the orgies, the floating hair, the smooth


dances, and the tunics of hyacinth.

More

than any other she loved the savory glot-

tisms, the kisses

upon her cheek,

the games

when

the

lamp alone saw, and the love

that strained the limbs.


little

And now

she

is

naught but a

shadow.

But before putting her


twisted

into the tomb, they have

her
roses
is
;

hair

marvellously,

have

couched

her

among

the stone even that they have placed

over her

impregnated with essences and perfumes.

Holy

earth, nurse of
let

all

things, receive gently the

poor dead,

her slumber in thine arms,

Mother
nettles

and make and


briers,

to

grow about her tombstone, not


violets.

but tender white

[287]

CXXIX

THE LITTLE SELLER OF

ROSES

[288]

ESTERDAY,
was
girl

Nais said to me, "I

in the market-place,

when

little

with red curls

passed before a

group of young men, carrying some


roses.

And

behold what

heard."

" Buy
little

something

of me."

" Explain

thyself,
sell

one, for

we know not what you would


all

Thyself? thy roses? or

at

once?" "If

you

buy from me
for nothing."

all

these flowers, you

may have mine

"

And how much


little

do you want

for

your roses
I

"

"

must have

six oboles for

my

mother, else
us.

shall

be beaten like a
"

bitch."

" Follow
I will

Thou
find

shalt have a drachma."

" Then

go and

my

little sister ?

" Both followed these men.


breasts,
Bilitis,

they

knew not
little

They had not even even how to smile.

They

trotted along like

kids that one leads to

the butcher."

[289]

cxxx

THE DISPUTE

[290]

by Aphrodite, behold thee


!

bloody
!

head
ile

filthy rottenness
!

infection
!

ster-

one

pillory
!

awkward one
sow
!

good
to

for nothing
fly

filthy

Try not
still.

from me, but come nearer

Look upon this woman of the sailors, who does not even know how to fold her vestments upon her shoulder, and who puts on her cosmetics so badly that
the black of her eyebrows runs
river

upon her cheek

in a

of ink.
art Phoenician

Thou
As
for
all

bed with those of thy


:

race.

me,

my
it

father was Hellene

have the right

over

those

who wear

the Petas.'

And

even over

the others, if

pleases me.

Stop not in

my

street,

or

will

send thee to
will

love to Kharon, and I " thee justly: Let the earth cover thee
to

Hades

make

say to
!

lightly

" in

order that the dogs

may
A

dig thee

up

again.

kind of cap.

[291]

CXXXI

MELANCHOLY

[292]

SHIVER
jj^j here
?

the night

is

cool,

and the

Is

my

great

bed not softer

^^^^

than these moss-covered stones?

My
my

flowery robe will bear marks of verdure


;

my
at

hair will be tangled with twigs

my

neck

look

neck;

it

is

already soiled with the

damp

earth.

In other days

followed

him
time.

into
I

the

wood

who

Ah
Let

leave
lie,

me

little

am

sad to-

night.

me

my

hand upon

my

eyes, with-

out speaking.

In truth, canst thou not wait


take each other thus
!

Are we

beasts to
shalt

leave me.
lips.

Thou

not

open
of

my

knees nor

my

My
1

eyes even, for fear

tears, shall stay closed.

1^93

CXXXII

THE LITTLE PHANION

[294]

iT

RANGER,

stop a

moment,
It
is

see

who
little

is

beckoning to thee.
;

the

Phanion of Kos

she well merits that

thou shouldst choose her.

Look, her

hair

is

as curly as the leaves of parsley,

her skin as soft as the

down of

a bird.

She

is

small

and brown.

She speaks

prettily.

If thou wouldst follow her, she will not

demand

of thee
no, not

all

the

money thou

hast gained in thy journey

all,

only a drachma or a pair of sandals.

Thou

shalt

find

she has a fine bed, fresh


it

figs,
fire.

milk, wine, and should

be cold, she

will

have a

CXXXIII

INDICATIONS

[296]

|TRANGER

who

stops, if

'tis

slender
a

thighs and nervous flanks

you wish,

hard bosom and knees that squeeze, go


to Plangon, she
is

my
girl,

friend.

If thou seekest a laughing

with exuberant

breasts, a delicate form, the croup fat

and the flanks

hollow, go even to the corner of this street, where


lives Spidorrhodellis.

But

if

long tranquil hours in the arms of a courte-

san, soft skin, the heat of the body,

and the odor of


thou
wilt

the

hair

pleases

thee,

find

Milto,

be

content.

Expect not too much from love, but


experience.

profit

from

One may
is

ask everything from a


it

woman

when she

naked, when
are

is

night,

and when the

hundred drachmas

on the hearth.

[297]

CXXXIV

THE MERCHANT OF SLAVE WOMEN

[298]

HO

is

there

"

"

am

the merchant

of women.
I offer

Open

the door, Sostrate,

you two

bargains.

This

girl

here

first.

Approach, Anasyrtolis,

and

strip thyself"

" She

is

little

too fat."

" She

is

a beauty.

And

more, she dances the

kordax and knows eighty songs."


Lift
foot.

" Turn
Give
is

thyself

thine

arms.

Show thy

hair.

me

your

Smile.

'Tis well."
this

"

And

one now."

" She

too

young

"
No,

" Not

at all, the

day before yesterday she was twelve


not be able to teach her

years old, and thou wilt

anything." "Open
she
is

thy tunic.

Let us see?

thin."

"
first

ask for her only one mine."


?

"And
As

the

one

"

" Two
for

minae

thirty

"Three
Adieu."

minae

the

two?"

"Done." "Go
for thee,

drachmas."

into the house

and bathe yourselves.

cxxxv

THE STRANGER

[300]

RANGER,
city.

go no
wilt

farther

into

the

Thou

not find elsewhere


girls

than with
expert.

me younger
I

nor more
celebrated

am

Sostrate,
coast.

throughout the whole

Look upon

this

one whose eyes are green

as the

water in the grass.

Wilt thou not have her?

Be-

hold here other eyes that are as black as the

violet,

and

hair dressed in three knots.

have better

still.

Xantho, open thy


hard as thy

cyclas.
feel

Stranger, these breasts are as

fist,

them.
self,

And

her beautiful belly, thou canst see thy-

wears three folds of Kypris.

bought her with her

sister,

who

is

not yet of the


skilfully.

age for love, but


the

who
!

will

second her

By
race.

two goddesses

thou comest of a noble

Phyllis and Xantho, follow the gentleman.

[301]

CXXXVI

THE MEMORY OF MNASIDIKA

[302]

HEY danced, the one


with a

before the other,

movement

rapid

and flying;
to

they seemed always to seek

em-

brace, yet they never touched, unless


it

were with the

tips

of their

lips.

When
looked

dancing, they

turned

their

backs,

they

at each other, the


lifted

head on the shoulder, shinarms, and their fine locks

ing sweat on their

swinging before their breasts.

The

languor of their eyes, the

fire

of their cheeks,

the gravity of their faces, were three ardent songs.

They touched
hips.

each other furtively, they bent their

Then suddenly they


the languorous dance

fell,

to finish

upon the

earth
'tis

Memory

of Mnasidika,

then that thou came to me, and

all

except the dear

image was unreal.

[303]

CXXXVII

THE YOUNG MOTHER

[304I

ELI EVE
becoming

not,
a

Myromeris, that

in

mother, thou hast lessened

thy beauty.

Behold how thy body


its

under thy robe has drowned

slight

form under

voluptuous softness.

Thy Thy

breasts are

two vast flowers reversed upon

thy bosom, and their cut stems give out a milky juice.
belly,

now more

soft,

melts under the hand.

And
of a
thrill

then consider thy

little

babe who was born


the arms of a passing

which thou hast

felt in

lover whose

name even thou

hast not

known.

Dream

of her distant destiny.

Those eyes

that

now

scarcely

open
tint,

will

one day
will

be prolonged with a line of black

and they

sow among men both sorrow and joy, by the move-

ment of their

lashes.

[305]

CXXXVIII

THE UNKNOWN

[306]

sleeps.

do not know him.

He
is

disgusts me.
full

Nevertheless his purse

of gold and he gave four drachmas

to the slave

on

entering.

look for a

mine
I told

for myself.

the Phrygian to enter the bed in


I

my

place.

He

was drunk and took her for me.

would rather

die under torture than to stretch myself near to this

man.
Helas
think of the
then.
I

fields

of Tauros

was
was

a little virgin

had a

light heart,

and

so foolish with amorous envy, that I hated


sisters.

my

married

What
which
I

then would

not have given to obtain that


!

have refused

this night

To-day

my

breasts

are yielding

and

in

my

worn-out heart Eros slumbers

from

lassitude.

C307]

CXXXIX

DUPED

[308]

AWAKEN
has
left

is

he then gone
?

He
All

something

No

two empty

amphoras and some faded


the rug
is

flowers.

red with wine.

have
I

slept,

but
in
?

am

still

drunk
rate

with whom
to

then did
together.

come

At any

we went

bed

The bed

itself is still

moist with sweat.

Perhaps there were many, the bed


ranged.
I

is

so

disar-

no longer know

my

But some one must


Phrygian, she sleeps

have seen them.


still,

There

is

across the threshold.

give her a kick in the breasts and

cry

" Bitch,

thou couldst not

"

am

so enraged that I cannot

speak more.

l39']

CXL

THE LAST LOVER

[310]

OME,
having

boy, pass
first

me

not

by without
I

loved

me.

am

still

beautiful in the night.

Thou

shalt see

that

my autumn

is

warmer than the

spring-time of another.

Seek not
cult art in

for love

among

virgins.

Love

is

a diffiI

which young
all

girls are little learned.


it

have

studied
lover.

it

my

life

in order to give

to piy last

My
Behold

last lover,

that shall be thou,


for

know

it.

my

mouth,

which an entire people has

paled with desire.


that

Behold

my

hair, the

same

hair

Psappha the Great has sung.


gather in thy favor
will

I will

all

that

is left

of

my

lost
I

youth.
will give

destroy the memories themselves.

to

thee the flute of Lykas, the girdle of

Mnasidika.

[311]

CXLI

THE DOVE

[312]

INCE many
fial
;

years

have been beauti-

the day conies

when

shall
I

no

longer be

woman.
rending

And

then

shall

know
in the hands.

the

memories,

the

burning solitary envies and the tears

If

life is

a long dream,

what good to
I

resist

Now
sink in

four or five times in the night


pleasure, and

demand amorous
I

when my

flanks are exhausted,


falls.

sleep wherever

my body
I

In the morning

open
"

my

hair.

dove

sits

my lids, and upon my window


She
replies
in love."

I
:

shiver in

ask her,
It
is

"In what month are we ? month in which women are

"

the

Ah
lover,

whatever be the month, the dove


!

tells

the

truth, Kypris

And

throw
I

my

two arms about

my

and with trembling


to the foot

stretch

my

legs, already

benumbed,

of the bed.

CXLII

THE RAIN

IN

THE MORNING

[314]

IHE
sans

night wears by, the stars seem far

away.

Behold

the last of the courte-

have returned to their


I

homes
rain

with their lovers, and

in the

of the morning,

write these verses

upon the

sand.

The
rills

leaves are charged with brilliant drops.

The

across the path are dragging the sand


leaves.

and the

dead

The
song.

falling rain,

drop by drop, makes

holes in

my

Oh how
!

sad and alone

am

The young men

no more
me.

notice

me, and the old ones have forgotten


'tis

'Tis well

so.

They

shall learn

my

verses,

they and the children of their children.

That

is

what Myrtale, nor Thais, nor Glykera

may
ful

ever say,

when
me,

the day comes that their beauti-

cheeks are seamed

with

wrinkles.

Those

that

shall love after

shall sing

my

strophes.

[315]

CXLIII

THE TRUE DEATH

[3i61

.'i'^Qitt

-iW

.HTAJia

auaT 3hT
.m?bT
29mGl,
vr(

?nirlD}3 I^nijinO

''

Can

it be

that

($11 is

finished?
but yesterday,
lo7.>e

It seemeth

me I was born

and behold, already I must me morey

say, no one will

The
Orig^inal Etching

True Dkath,

by James Faean.

qjPHRODIT,
.

pitiless

goddess,

thou

hast willed that the

happy youth, the

years of beautiful tresses, should end


in a few days,

Oh

that I were dead

now.

have looked upon myself


tears.

in

my

mirror, I have
that

no longer smiles or
Mnasidika,
I

fair

face

loved

cannot believe thou wast ever mine.

Can

it

be that

all

is

finished
It

have not yet

lived five times

eight years.

seemeth
I

me

was
say,

born but yesterday, and behold, already

must

no one

will

love

me

more.

All

my

cut-ofF hair I have twisted into


it

my cincture,
and
I

and

offer

to

thee, Kypris

eternal,
is

will

never cease to adore thee.

This, then,

the last verse

of the pious

Bilitis.

[317]

THE TOMB OF
" Beauty
is

BILITIS

truth, truth, earth,

beauty,"
all

that to

is all

Ye know on

and

ye need

know."
John Keats.

13^91

FIRST EPITAPH

[320]

Cai^^SJHJWN
/^C^

the country where the springs rise the sea, and where the bed of
is

"tO^ from
*S?i^

flowers
Bilitis,

made of

flakes

of rock,

I,

i^^H

was born.

My

mother was Phoinikienne

my

father,

Damo-

phylos, a Greek.

My

mother taught

me

to sing the

songs of Byblos, sad as the light of the

first

dawn.

have worshipped Astarte


at

at

Kypre.

have

known Psappha
loved.

Lesbos.

have sung

as I

have

If I have loved well, passer-by,

tell it

to thy

daughter.

And do

not

sacrifice for

me

a black goat

but in

fond libation, cast her

warm milk upon my tomb.

[321]

SECOND EPITAPH

[322]

PON

the sombre banks of Melas, at


in

Tamassos

Pamphylia,
Bilitis,

I,

daughter
I

of Damophylos,
sleep far from

was born.

my

native land, as thou

mayest

see.

Even

as a little child I learned the loves

of Adonis

and Astarte, the mysteries of holy Syre, and the death

and the return

to Her-of-the-rounded-pupils.

If

have been a courtesan, where

is

the

harm

Was

that not

my

duty

as a

woman

Stranger, the
is

Mother-of-all-things guides us.

To

disown her

not

prudent.

In gratitude to thee

who

hast stopped to read,

wish thee

this destiny

" Mayest thou be loved, and

never love."

Adieu

remember

well,

when thou

art

old, that thou hast seen

my

tomb.

LAST EPITAPH

[324]

NDER
'tis

the black leaves of the laurels,


rose,

under the amorous flowers of the


here that
to
fit

lie

prone,

who have

known

verse to verse, and to sing

the praise of kisses.

grew up

in the land

of the nymphs.
I

have

lived in the island of lovers.

am dead
is

in the Island

of Kypris.

'Tis for that

my name
oil.

illustrious,

and

my

tombstone polished with

Mourn
Mine was
their

not for me, thou

who

stoppest to read.

a noble funeral.

The mourners wept away


in

cheeks.

They have hidden


necklaces.

my tomb my

mirrors and

my

And now among

the pale fields of asphodels,

walk, an impalpable shadow, and the


terrestrial life
is

memory of my

the joy of

my

life

subterrestrial.

[325]

BIBLIOGRAPHY
I.

Bilitis'

sammtliche Lieder,

zum

ersten

Male herausge-

geben, und mit einem Worterbuche versehen, von G. Heim.


Leipzig.

1894.

II.

Les Chansons de
fois

Bilitis, traduites

du grec pour

la

premiere

par P. L.

Paris.

1895.

III. Six

Chansons de

Bilitis, traduites

en verse par
filles.

Mme.
Paris.

Jean

Bertheroy.
Colin.

Revue pour
1896.

les

jeunes

Armand

IV. Vingt-six Chansons de


par Richard Dehmel.

Bilitis, traduites

en allemand
1896.

Die Gesellschaft.

Leipzig.

V. Vingt Chansons de
le

Bilitis, traduites

en allemand par
1896.

Dr. Paul Goldman.

Frankfurter Zeitung.

VI. Les Chansons de


Moellendorf.

Bilitis,

par

le Pr.

von Willamovitz
1896.

Goettingsche Gelehrte.

Goettinge.

VII. Huit Chansons de

Bilitis, traduites

en tcheque par

Alexandre Backovsky.

Prague.

1897.

[327]

VIII. Quatre Chansons de


par Gustav Uddgren.

Bilitis,

traduites en suedois

Nordisk Revy.

Stockholm.

1897.

IX. Trois Chansons de

Bilitis,

mises en musique par

Claude Debussy.

Paris.

Fromont.

1898.

[328]

NOTES'

Thou wast asking a short time woman of Pamphylia, who was the
phylian

ago for the name of


friend of
in the

this

Sappho and who

composed amorous songs and hymns

mode

name.

Eolian and

Pamthe

I did

ask

it,

and thou hast not told

me

I did

not

tell it to

thee, but I explained to thee the

form of these hymns and how the Eolian mode passed into
that

which

is

much
this

older and appropriate to the Pamphylians

the

name of

wise

woman

is

Damophyle, and

it

is

said

that like

Sappho she surrounded herself with young


i.

virgins.

Phikstrate^ Life of Apollonius^

jo.
to
Bilitis,

This passage

evidently

refers

daughter

of

Damophylos.

Without doubt the name of Damophyle was


Bilitis

given to her at Lesbos, or that of

had through

its

Phoenician origin an unusual method of pronunciation which


escapes us.
Philostrate has remarked that the form of these

songs
style

is

strongly tinctured by
;

Oriental

influences.

Their

shows the same traces

it is

therefore almost incompre-

hensible, so

much

is it

dominated by barbarous words derived

from Semitic
'

roots.

Without the very complete lexicon with


first

These notes appear

Bilitis

at the end of the " as published in 1894.

edition of the "

Songs of

[3^9]

which

M. G. Heim
Beyond

has provided his edition,

would have

been obliged to renounce

my

attempt to interpret their abnoris


it

mal

text.

this its reading

by no means an agreenecessary to publish


it

able task, and I have not thought


here, opposite
its

translation.

II

The
Bilitis'

edition

of

sammtliche

M. Heim Lieder, zum

bears
ersten

the

following

title

Male herausgegeben,
Leip-

und mit einem Worterbuche versehen, von G. Heim.


zig.

1894.

The
volume

first

volume alone has appeared, which comprises the


notes, and the lexicon.

text, the preface, the

The
which

second
will be

will be an atlas
all

of fifty-two plates

in

reproduced

the objects found in the sarcophagus of Palaeoitself,

Limisso, the sarcophagus


bolite

and the plates of black amphi-

which carry the precious manuscript.


relics

These
Larnaka.

are at present exhibited at the


to obtain permission to

museum

of

was unable

have designs

made of them before M. Heim had


the distinguished professor has given
his atlas will

finished his

work; but

me

the assurance that


at

be published simultaneously

Leipzig and at

Paris,

and may possibly form part of the present volume.


is

There

to be seen at the

Louvre a mask of

terra-cotta

[330]

which

recalls in a singular
It is the

manner, although much smaller,


head of a

that of Larnaka.
lips

woman

with painted
in

and painted eyes, catalogued under the number 62

the cabinet of Rhodes.

(Section of Comparative Ethnology.)

Unfortunately
unfavorable for

it

is
;

illumined

from the

left

side,

which
sees
it

is

it

and as
it

it is

hung very high, one

at

an angle which gives


If this note

somewhat

ridiculous appearance.

by chance should awaken the curiosity of a

reader, in love as I
that
this

am

with the pious

Bilitis, I

would add

M.

Achille Jacquet has


face in L' Atlas of

made

a very fine engraving of


Figurines de

little

M. Heuzey: Les

terre cuite

au Mus'ee du Louvre.

It is the fifth subject

of the

thirteenth plate.

lii^']

INDEX

\.333l

INDEX

XVII

XLIII

LXIII

LXXXIX XC
XCI

The Tortures of Remembrance To the Wax Doll

Funeral Chant

PART

III

EPIGRAMS IN THE ISLAND OF KYPROS


XCII
.

(Not translated)

Liberty

(Not translated)

Phyllis

CXXXVI CXXXVII
CXXXVIII

CXXXIX CXL
CXLI
CXLII CXLIII
. .

The Memory of Mnasidika The Young Mother The Unknown Duped The Last Lover The Dove The Rain in the Morning The True Death

THE TOMB OF
First Epitaph

BILITIS

Second Epitaph Third Epitaph

[.HI]

PHASED
DETERIORATION

Kt*^^

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