I Loved Thee, Atthis, in the Long Ago: poem by Sappho


I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk
Wander together by the silver stream,
When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew
And purple misted in the fading light.
Ad joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice,
And the suburb magnificence of love,
The loneliness that saddens solitude,
And the sweet speech that makes it durable —
The bitter longing and the keen desire,
The sweet companionship through quiet days
In the slow amble beauty of the world,
And the unutterable glad release
Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago
In that fair perished summer by the sea.

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