Selection from Sappho’s Lyre (University of California Press, 1991). Translation copyright 2000 Diane Rayor; all rights reserved.

        Some say an army of horsemen, others
say foot-soldiers, still others, a fleet,
is the fairest thing on the dark earth:
I say it is whatever one loves.
5Everyone can understand this —
consider that Helen, far surpassing
the beauty of mortals, leaving behind
the best man of all,
sailed away to Troy. She had no
10memory of her child or dear parents,
since she was led astray
[by Kypris] . . .
. . . lightly
15. . . reminding me now of Anaktoria
being gone,
I would rather see her lovely step
and the radiant sparkle of her face
than all the war-chariots in Lydia
20and soldiers battling in shining bronze.

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