Found it on Glaukôpidos, via caelestis at sauvage noble, so here it is, as promised: the original Greek version of the “new” Sappho poem found on an University of Cologne papyrus.

῎Υμμες πεδὰ Μοίσαν ἰ]ο̣κ[ό]λ̣πων κάλα δῶρα, παῖδες,
σπουδάσδετε καὶ τὰ]ν̣ φιλἀοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν·

ἔμοι δ᾽ἄπαλον πρίν] π̣οτ᾽ [ἔ]ο̣ντα χρόα γῆρας ἤδη
ἐπέλλαβε, λεῦκαι δ’ ἐγ]ένοντο τρίχες ἐκ μελαίναν·

βάρυς δέ μ’ ὀ [θ]ῦμο̣ς̣ πεπόηται, γόνα δ’ [ο]ὐ φέροισι,
τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ’ ἔον ὄρχησθ’ ἴσα νεβρίοισι.

τὰ <μὲν> στεναχίσδω θαμέως· ἀλλὰ τί κεν ποείην;
ἀγήραον ἄνθρωπον ἔοντ᾽ οὐ δύνατον γένεσθαι

καὶ γἀρ π̣[ο]τ̣α̣ Τίθωνον ἔφαντο βροδόπαχυν Αὔων
ἔρωι φ̣ . . α̣θ̣ε̣ισαν βάμεν’ εἰς ἔσχατα γᾶς φέροισα[ν,

ἔοντα̣ [κ]ά̣λ̣ο̣ν καὶ νέον, ἀλλ’ αὖτον ὔμως ἔμαρψε
χρόνωι π̣ό̣λ̣ι̣ο̣ν̣ γῆρας, ἔχ[ο] ν̣τ’ ἀθανάταν ἄκοιτιν.

(That’s Unicode Greek letters, so install a suitable font if you need one.)

Time to bring out the big dictionary (well, my good old school Gemoll) and to brush up on metres.

Update 05/07/01:

  1. After some discussions in Language Hat’s welcoming lounge, two transcription errors have been corrected. William wryly remarks on textual corruption going on before his eyes.

  2. Caelestis has more yet, including a transliteration in our Latin alphabet. Also, he’s the classics scholar, so go there for any of your classics needs.

  3. Some dabate has arisen about the meaning of ἰόκολπος, an adjective that modifies “of the Muses”. West’s translation in TLS (copied here) has “fragrant-blossomed”. But the Reuters wire based on it chose “fragrant-bosomed” — which seems more correct (”the bosom [scented with] violets”). Others prefer a different supposition about the origin and translate “purple-girdled”.

  4. And for German speakers: deutsche Übersetzung des Sappho-Gedichts, with comments by one of the discoverers, Michael Gronewald (Uni Köln).

6 comment(s) for 'Sappho II'

  1. (Comment, 2005-06-29 13:16 )

    Thanks for the original - whoever may have written it, 5th-6th C bce, would no doubt be pleased to have it discovered via rss

  2. (Comment, 2005-06-29 14:21 )

    I trust the experts and don’t have any reason to doubt that it is by Sappho, which would be 7th century BCE.

    Now the idea of poetry RSS between Lesbos and the mainland is intriguing. Why not blogs written by the dancing girls?

  3. (Comment, 2005-07-01 04:11 )

    This “new” poem is actually a combination of a new fragment and an old fragment (that has already been confirmed as Sappho–it was found on a sheet with several others, but they were missing one side and didn’t know where the poem began and ended), so yes, they know for sure that it’s Sappho.

  4. (Comment, 2005-07-01 14:04 )

    I’m wondering whether “fragrant-blossomed” is a censorial euphemism for “fragrant-bosomed”.

  5. (Comment, 2005-07-02 18:15 )

    Wouldn’t that be a strange euphemism? And why would the London Times want to censor “bosom”?

  6. (Comment, 2005-07-06 02:22 )

    One of my profs just wrote. West must have written ‘fragrant-bosomed’, which the TLS corrupted to ‘fragrant-blossomed’.