Ἅδιον οὐδὲν ἔρωτος· ἃ δ’ ὄλβια, δεύτερα πάντα
ἐστίν· ἀπὸ στόματος δ’ ἔπτυσα καὶ τὸ μέλι.
τοῦτο λέγει Νοσσίς· τίνα δ’ ἁ Κύπρις οὐκ ἐφίλασεν,
οὐκ οἶδεν τήνας τἄνθεα, ποῖα ῥόδα.
(Nossis, Anth. Gr. 5.170)

Nothing is sweeter than love; all good things come second: even honey I spat from my mouth. Nossis says this, and whomever Cypris has not kissed does not know what roses her flowers are. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)


Alexandre Cabanel, Echo

Ἀχὼ φίλα, μοὶ συγκαταίνεσόν τι. — τί;
ἐρῶ κορίσκας: ἁ δὲ μ’ οὐ φιλεῖ. — φιλεῖ.
πρᾶξαι δ’ ὁ καιρὸς καιρὸν οὐ φέρει. — φέρει.
τὺ τοίνυν αὐτᾷ λέξον ὡς ἐρῶ. — ἐρῶ.
καὶ πίστιν αὐτᾷ κερμάτων τὺ δός. — τὺ δός.
ἀχώ, τί λοιπόν, ἢ πόθου τυχεῖν; — τυχεῖν.
(Gauradas, Anth. Gr. 16.152)

Wilt grant a favour if I name it? – Name it.
I love, but doubt if she’s not shy. – Not shy.
Then I’ve the right if I could claim it. – Claim it.
Then tell her for her love sigh I. – Ay, ay.
I have a little gift to make her. – Make her.
Then all that’s left to do’s to take her. – Take her.
(tr. John Maxwell Edmonds)



Πταίης μοι κώνωψ, ταχὺς ἄγγελος, οὔασι δ’ ἄκροις
Ζηνοφίλας ψαύσας προσψιθύριζε τάδε·
“ἄγρυπνος μίμνει σε· σὺ δ’, ὦ λήθαργε φιλούντων,
εὕδεις.” εἶα, πέτευ· ναί, φιλόμουσε, πέτευ·
ἥσυχα δὲ φθέγξαι, μὴ καὶ σύγκοιτον ἐγείρας
κινήσῃς ἐπ’ ἐμοὶ ζηλοτύπους ὀδύνας.
ἢν δ’ ἀγάγῃς τὴν παῖδα, δορᾷ στέψω σε λέοντος,
κώνωψ, καὶ δώσω χειρὶ φέρειν ῥόπαλον.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.152)

Fly for me, mosquito: be my swift messenger. Alight on the rim of Zenophila’s ear and whisper this: “He is awake, and waits for you; but you forget those who love you, and sleep.” Up, fly! Yes, musical one, fly! But speak quietly, so you don’t wake the man who is sleeping with her and arouse in him pangs of jealousy against me. If you bring the girl, I will hood you with a lion’s pelt, mosquito, and give you a club to carry in your hand*.

* The mosquito would thus be attired like Heracles. While other instances of mosquitoes imitating Heracles are (not surprisingly) unknown, Love was sometimes depicted wearing a lion skin.

(tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller, with the latter’s note)



Ὀξυβόαι κώνωπες, ἀναιδέες αἵματος ἀνδρῶν
σίφωνες, νυκτὸς κνώδαλα διπτέρυγα,
βαιὸν Ζηνοφίλαν, λίτομαι, πάρεθ’ ἥσυχον ὕπνῳ
εὕδειν, τἀμὰ δ’, ἰδού, σαρκοφαγεῖτε μέλη.
καίτοι πρὸς τί μάτην αὐδῶ; καὶ θῆρες ἄτεγκτοι
τέρπονται τρυφερῷ χρωτὶ χλιαινόμενοι.
ἀλλ’ ἔτι νῦν προλέγω, κακὰ θρέμματα, λήγετε τόλμης,
ἢ γνώσεσθε χερῶν ζηλοτύπων δύναμιν.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.151)

Shrill-voiced mosquitoes, shameless suckers of men’s blood, night’s winged predators, I beg you, let Zenophila sleep a little in peace. Here: gorge yourselves on my limbs! But why am I wasting my words? Pitiless beasts also love to be warmed by her tender flesh. But I now forewarn you, evil creatures: do not defy me, or you will feel the strength of my jealous hands. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)



Οὐκέτι που, τλῆμον, σκοπέλων μετανάστρια πέρδιξ,
πλεκτὸς λεπταλέαις οἶκος ἔχει σε λύγοις,
οὐδ’ ὑπὸ μαρμαρυγῇ θαλερώπιδος Ἠριγενείης
ἄκρα παραιθύσσεις θαλπομένων πτερύγων.
σὴν κεφαλὴν αἴλουρος ἀπέθρισε, τἄλλα δὲ πάντα
ἥρπασα, καὶ φθονερὴν οὐκ ἐκόρεσσε γένυν.
νῦν δέ σε μὴ κούφη κρύπτοι κόνις, ἀλλὰ βαρεῖα,
μὴ τὸ τεὸν κείνη λείψανον ἐξερύσῃ.
(Agathias Scholasticus, Anth. Gr. 7.204)

Poor partridge, fugitive from the cliffs! No longer, I suppose, does your woven home hold you in its slender withes, nor do you flutter your wing-tips under the gleam of warm-eyed Dawn the early-riser to keep them warm. A cat cut off your head—but I snatched away all the rest; it did not glut its greedy jaws. Now may the dust not hide you lightly, but heavily, lest she drag off what’s left of you. (tr. Michael A. Tueller)


Theodoros Rallis

Παρθένος ἀργυρόπεζος ἐλούετο, χρύσεα μαζῶν
χρωτὶ γαλακτοπαγεῖ μῆλα διαινομένη·
πυγαὶ δ’ ἀλλήλαις περιηγέες εἱλίσσοντο,
ὕδατος ὑγροτέρῳ χρωτὶ σαλευόμεναι·
τὸν δ’ ὑπεροιδαίνοντα κατέσκεπε πεπταμένη χεὶρ
οὐχ ὅλον Εὐρώταν, ἀλλ’ ὅσον ἠδύνατο.
(Rufinus, Anth. Gr. 5.60)

A silver-footed maiden was bathing, letting the water fall on the golden apples of her breasts, with flesh like curdled milk. Her rounded buttocks, their flesh more fluid than water, gyrated back and forth. Her outspread hand covered the swelling Eurotas – not all of it, but as much as it could. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)


Theodoros Rallis

Ὢ ποδός, ὢ κνήμης, ὢ τῶν (ἀπόλωλα δικαίως)
μηρῶν, ὢ γλουτῶν, ὢ κτενός, ὢ λαγόνων,
ὢ ὤμοιν, ὢ μαστῶν, ὢ τοῦ ῥαδινοῖο τραχήλου,
ὢ χειρῶν, ὢ τῶν (μαίνομαι) ὀμματίων,
ὢ κακοτεχνοτάτου κινήματος, ὢ περιάλλων
γλωττισμῶν, ὢ τῶν (θῦέ με) φωναρίων.
εἰ δ’ Ὀπικὴ καὶ Φλῶρα καὶ οὐκ ᾄδουσα τὰ Σαπφοῦς,
καὶ Περσεὺς Ἰνδῆς ἠράσατ’ Ἀνδρομέδης.
(Philodemus, Anth. Gr. 5.132)

Oh feet! Oh calves! Oh (I’m done for – and rightly so!) thighs! Oh buttocks! Oh vulva! Oh flanks! Oh shoulders! Oh breasts! Oh slender neck! Oh arms! Oh (I’m going mad!) eyes! Oh most lascivious movements! Oh outstanding tonguings! Oh (slay me!) her exlamations! If she is Oscan, named Flora, and does not sing Sappho’s songs – well, even Perseus fell in love with Indian Andromeda. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)