To an army wife, in Sardis:

Some say a cavalry corps,
some infantry, some again,
will maintain that the swift oars

of our fleet are the finest
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whatever one loves, is.

This is easily proved: did
not Helen -- she who had scanned
the flower of the world's manhood --

choose as first among men one
who laid Troy's honour in ruin?
warped to his will, forgetting

love due her own blood, her own
child, she wandered far with him.
So, Anactoria, although you

being far away forget us,
the dear sound of your footstep
and light glancing in your eyes

would move me more than glitter
of Lydian horse or armoured
tread of mainland infantry

-Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard.

(fragment 16)

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