Erinna & Sappho

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal
– Sappho

Monday morning, and the sun is coming out.
Such moments of perfection.
These visions of beauty.
To reflect upon that which is ever present.
That which we call Love.

On The Menu:
Sappho Quotes
Hossein Alizadeh (Neynava)-3 حسين علي زاده
Erinna: A Life
Erinna: Poems
Sappho’s Erinna
Sara Teasdale’s Erinna
Hossein Alizadeh – In Concert

Sappho Quotes:

“When I look on you a moment, then I can speak no more, but my tongue falls silent, and at once a delicate flame courses beneath my skin, and with my eyes I see nothing, and my ears hum, and a wet sweat bathes me, and a trembling seizes me all over”

“Love is a cunning weaver of fantasies and fables.”

“What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.”

“When anger spreads through the breath, guard thy tongue from barking idly”

“How love the limb-loosener sweeps me away”
Hossein Alizadeh ( Neynava ) -3 حسين علي زاده

Erinna: A Life

Though Erinna (ih-RIHN-uh) wrote for only a short period of time, she and her work were praised by the ancients; Antipater lists her as one of the “nine earthly Muses.” Of her works, only six fragments survive, the best of which is fifty-four lines of Elakate, or The Distaff, a lament for her childhood friend Baucis. Erinna’s poetry celebrated the domestic life using “heroic language,” and she even moved beyond her native Doric dialect perhaps to mimic the works of Sappho. Her style ranged from puns to laments to metaphors, covering both lyric and epigrammatic forms.

From: 1812 Chalmer’s Biography / E / Erinna [vol. 13, p. 290]

Erinna, a Greek poetess, is mentioned by different writers as a native of Lesbos, of Teios, of Rhodes, and of Tenos in Laconia, and is supposed to have been contemporary with Sappho, about the year 600 B. C. but according to the Chronicle of Eusebius 250 years later. She was celebrated in ancient Greece, and several epigrams were written upon her, one of which speaks of her as inferior to Sappho in lyrics, and superior in hexameters. Some fragments are extant in her name, which are inserted in the “Carmina Novem Poetarum Foeminarum,” Antw. 1568, and in the Edinburgh edition of Anacreon aud Sappho, 1754, form. min. 2
2 Vossius.—Fabric, Bibl. Græc.
Erinna: Poems

(on a portrait of a woman named Agatharkhis):

This picture is the work of sensitive hands. My good Prometheus,
there are even human beings equal to you in skill.
At least, if whoever painted this maiden so truly
had just added a voice, you would have been Agatharkhis entirely.—


I am of Baucis the bride; and passing by my oft-wept pillar thou
mayest say this to Death that dwells under ground, “Thou art envious,
O Death”; and the coloured monument tells to him who sees it the most
bitter fortune of Bauco, how her father-in-law burned the girl on the
funeral pyre with those torches by whose light the marriage train was
to be led home; and thou, O Hymenaeus, didst change the tuneable
bridal song into a voice of wailing dirges.

Thee, as thou wert just giving birth to a springtide of honeyed songs
and just finding thy swan-voice, Fate, mistress of the threaded
spindle, drove to Acheron across the wide water of the dead; but the
fair labour of thy verses, Erinna, cries that thou art not perished,
but keepest mingled choir with the Maidens of Pieria.

Leonidas Of Tarentum

The young maiden singer Erinna, the bee among poets, who sipped the
flowers of the Muses, Hades snatched away to be his bride; truly
indeed said the girl in her wisdom, “Thou art envious, O Death.”

Antipater of Sidon

Brief is Erinna’s song, her lowly lay,
Yet there the Muses sing;
Therefore her memory doth not pass away,
Hid by Night’s shadowy wing!
But we,—new countless poets,—heaped and hurled
All in oblivion lie;
Better the swan’s chant than a windy world
Of rooks in the April sky!

Sappho’s Erinna

Haughtier than thou, O fair Erinna,
I have never met with any maiden.

Such a careless scorn as thine for passion
Proves a dire affront to Aphrodite.

When with soft desire she wounds thy bosom,
Thou shalt know love’s pain and doubly suffer.

Keep the gifts I gave thee, long rejected;
Fabrics for thy lap from far Phocea,

Babylonian unguents, scented sandals,
And the costly mitra for thy tresses;

Tripods worked in brass to flank the altar
With the ivory figure of the Goddess;

Where the sacrificial fumes from sacred
Flames shall rise to gladden and appease her,

In the hour when at her call thy fervid
Breast and mouth to mine shall be relinquished.

Sara Teasdale’s: “Erinna”

They sent you in to say farewell to me,
No, do not shake your head; I see your eyes
That shine with tears. Sappho, you saw the sun
Just now when you came hither, and again,
When you have left me, all the shimmering
Great meadows will laugh lightly, and the sun
Put round about you warm invisible arms
As might a lover, decking you with light.
I go toward darkness tho’ I lie so still.
If I could see the sun, I should look up
And drink the light until my eyes were blind;
I should kneel down and kiss the blades of grass,
And I should call the birds with such a voice,
With such a longing, tremulous and keen,
That they would fly to me and on the breast
Bear evermore to tree-tops and to fields
The kiss I gave them. Sappho, tell me this,
Was I not sometimes fair? My eyes, my mouth,
My hair that loved the wind, were they not worth
The breath of love upon them? Yet he passed,
And he will pass to-night when all the air
Is blue with twilight; but I shall not see.
I shall have gone forever. Hold my hands,
Hold fast that Death may never come between;
Swear by the gods you will not let me go;
Make songs for Death as you would sing to Love –
But you will not assuage him. He alone
Of all the gods will take no gifts from men.
I am afraid, afraid.

Sappho, lean down.
Last night the fever gave a dream to me,
It takes my life and gives a little dream.
I thought I saw him stand, the man I love,
Here in my quiet chamber, with his eyes
Fixed on me as I entered, while he drew
Silently toward me — he who night by night
Goes by my door without a thought of me –
Neared me and put his hand behind my head,
And leaning toward me, kissed me on the mouth.
That was a little dream for Death to give,
Too short to take the whole of life for, yet
I woke with lips made quiet by a kiss.
The dream is worth the dying. Do not smile
So sadly on me with your shining eyes,
You who can set your sorrow to a song
And ease your hurt by singing. But to me
My songs are less than sea-sand that the wind
Drives stinging over me and bears away.
I have no care what place the grains may fall,
Nor of my songs, if Time shall blow them back,
As land-wind breaks the lines of dying foam
Along the bright wet beaches, scattering
The flakes once more against the laboring sea,
Into oblivion. What care have I
To please Apollo since Love hearkens not?
Your words will live forever, men will say
“She was the perfect lover” — I shall die,
I loved too much to live. Go Sappho, go –
I hate your hands that beat so full of life,
Go, lest my hatred hurt you. I shall die,
But you will live to love and love again.
He might have loved some other spring than this;
I should have kept my life — I let it go.
He would not love me now tho’ Cypris bound
Her girdle round me. I am Death’s, not Love’s.
Go from me, Sappho, back to find the sun.

I am alone, alone. O Cyprian . . .

Hossein Alizadeh – In Concert


With his venom
and bittersweet
that loosener
of limbs, Love
strikes me down
– Sappho

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