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Sappho 16 (weird little translation)

February 12, 2014

ο]ἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων
οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ’ ἐπ[ὶ] γᾶν μέλαι[ν]αν
ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον, ἔγω δὲ κῆν’ ὄτ-
[⸏]τω τις ἔραται·
πά]γχυ δ’ εὔμαρες σύνετον πόησαι  (5)
π]άντι τ[ο]ῦ̣τ’, ἀ γὰρ πόλυ περσκέ̣θ̣ο̣ι̣σ̣α
κ̣άλ̣λο̣ς̣ [ἀνθ]ρ̣ώπων Ἐλένα [τὸ]ν ἄνδρα
[⸏]τ̣ὸν̣ [     ].στον
κ̣αλλ[ίποι]σ̣’ ἔβα ’ς Τροΐαν πλέοι̣[σα
κωὐδ[ὲ πα]ῖδος οὐδὲ φίλων το[κ]ήων  (10)
π̣ά[μπαν] ἐμνάσθη, ἀλλὰ παράγ̣α̣γ̣’ α̣ὔταν
⸏[         ]σαν
[      ]αμπτον γὰρ [
[     ]… κούφως τ[         ]οη.[.]ν̣
..]μ̣ε̣ νῦν Ἀνακτορί[ας ὀ]ν̣έ̣μναι-  (15)
σ’ οὐ ] παρεοίσας,
τᾶ]ς <κ>ε βολλοίμαν ἔρατόν τε βᾶμα
κἀμάρυχμα λάμπρον ἴδην προσώπω
ἢ τὰ Λύδων ἄρματα †κανοπλοισι
⸏[        μ]άχεντας. (20)

Some say it’s the cavalry, others say an army,
others say a navy is this black earth’s
most beautiful thing — but me, I say it’s this: what-
ever you love.

Easy to make this comprehensible
to everyone.  Take Helen: her beauty
was superhuman, and her man
the best of all,

but she left him, and went sailing off to Troy,
her children and her own dear parents
forgotten.  Instead . . .  lead her . . .
. . . .

. . . . . .
. . . lightly  . . .
. . .          Now that reminds me: Anactoria
isn’t here,

And her — I’d rather watch her lovely step,
the light that sparkles in her face,
than Lydian chariots and the battles
of men in arms.

(This translation makes use of some fairly well-established supplements which are not present in the text as I’ve supplied it.  This is because I was copying from the TLG and am lazy.)

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