Sappho Fragment 2, ‘The apple grove’ (Contributed by Andrew Bellon)

The musical language of this fragment has always haunted me, especially the second stanza. The ἐν δ’ ὔδωρ ψῦχρον κελάδει δι’ ὔσδων μαλίνων, creates a startling and sonorous spatial depth that for me is one of the most remarkable lines in Greek poetry.

Andrew Bellon


δεῦρυ μ†μ’ ἐς Κρητας .π[ ]ναῦον
ἄγνον, ὄππ[αι δὴ] χάριεν μὲν ἄλσος
μαλί[αν], βῶμοι †δ’ ἔνι θυμιάμε-
   νοι [λι]βανώτῳ·
ἐν δ’ ὔδωρ ψῦχρον κελάδει δι’ ὔσδων
μαλίνων, βρόδοισι δὲ παῖς ὀ χῶρος
ἐσκίαστ’, αἰθυσσομένων δὲ φύλλων
  κῶμα †κατέρρ[ει]·
ἐν δὲ λείμων ἰππόβοτος τέθαλε
ἠρινίοισιν ἄνθεσιν, αἰ δ’ ἄνητοι
  μέλλιχα πνέοισιν [
[ ] ἔλθε δὴ σὺ στέμ[ματ’] ἔλοισα Κύπρι,
χρυσίαισιν ἐν κυλίκεσσιν ἄβρως
ὀμ[με]μείχμενον θαλίαισι νέκταρ
Lobel-Page 2 / Voigt 2 / Diehl 5, 6 / Bergk 4, 5




to me from Krete,

to your sacred precinct

of graceful apple groves,

and altars of fragrant sacrifice.



cold water splashes

beyond apple branches,

and the place is all shadowy with roses.

A dreamless sleep falls

from the shimmering leaves.



is a meadow where horses linger

with blossoms and spring flowers;

breezes blowing gently.



Kyprian goddess, 

mix our joy

with nectar in golden cups

and pour it out like wine.


Dugald Sutherland MacColl (British draftsman, 1859-1948) 1894 22.5 cm (diameter) Drawing after an Attic white-ground cup by the Pistoxenos Painter, provenance Kamiros, Rhodes, now in the collection of the British Museum, London [GR 1864.10-7.77 (Vase D 2)]. Published in Harrison, Jane Ellen and D.S. MacColl. Greek vase paintings; a selection of examples, with preface, introduction and descriptions. London: T.F. Unwin, 1894.

Translation by Andrew Bellon.

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