In English
Fragment 104a of Sappho in Greek
Sappho in Greek

Εσπερε παντα φερεις οσα φαινολις εσκεδασ' ΑϜως

αιγα φερεις απυ ποιᾱς οιον μᾱτερι παιδα.

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Epic meter (dactylic hexameter)



Εσπερε = Ἑσπερε

οσα = ὁσα

ως = Ηως

απυ = απο

ποιᾱς = ποιης

μᾱτερι = μητρι


Textual Notes

The first line of this poem is in perfect condition, but the second line was badly garbled in transmission with the exception of the last two words, μτερι παιδα, which are reasonably certain to be correct as they stand. The second line as it comes down to us is metrically impossible: either φερεις οινον φερεις αιγα φερεις μᾱτερι παιδα or alternatively φερεις οιον φερεις οινον φερεις αποιον μητερι παιδα.

The words in italics are conjectural. Απυ ποιᾱς οιον is my attempt to make sense of αποιον along with οιον. The alternate tradition giving φερεις for φερων in the first line has been accepted in order to preserve the repetition of φερεις, which was specifically noted by Demetrius when he preserved this fragment by citing it in his work Περι ἑρμηνειας.

While the statues at Olympia are beautiful in their broken state, with only empty air to suggest what has been lost, it is difficult to leave the lovely first line of this couplet sitting atop a pile of ruins. We can only hope for Sappho's indulgence.