The Tithonus Poem of Sappho (Fragment 58x) in English


Chase after the gifts of the purple-robed Muses, you girls, so young,
And the clear shrill tones of the tortoise-shell lyre which loves your song.

As for me, this body, once tender and smooth, is now grasped tight
by Old Age, and my hair, once lovely and dark, has turned to white.

My heart is made heavy, my knees no longer bear the load,
though they danced light-footed as nimble fawns in days of old.

These things I sigh for and lament, but nothing can be done.
No one, having been born a human, remains eternally young.

They say Tithonus was kidnapped by Dawn, goddess of the rosy arms,
Who, overcome by love's desire, traversed Earth's ends and beyond,

He being young and handsome then -- yet in the course of time
Gray-haired Age caught up with him, despite his deathless wife.


Translation copyright © 2008 Richard Welland Crowell

click here to read this poem in the original Greek