Sunday, July 4, 2010

George Washington's favorite poet [could be] Sappho

I mean, why not. He was a nice guy and smart enough. George Washington was brave and loved his wife, whatever it is love means. I sense he could have been outre enough to have liked Sappho's delicious verse. Soldiering and Presidenting took time and energy so I don't expect too much from Father Washington, but today is the 4th of July, and I am grateful for the freedom to post whoever I want.

By the way. Boo! to Pope Gregory and other 3rd Century book-burning Byzantines. Do. Not. Burn. Books. Just don't. Don't be afraid of "pagans" or ideas or women or poetry. Free yourself. I work at it every day and so can Pope Gregory and you too, my beloved reader.

Here's the woman, tr. by Lattimore. I lifted this off

The Anactoria Poem

Some there are who say that the fairest thing seen
on the black earth is an array of horsemen;
some, men marching; some would say ships; but I say
she whom one loves best

is the loveliest. Light were the work to make this
plain to all, since she, who surpassed in beauty
all mortality, Helen, once forsaking
her lordly husband,

fled away to Troy--land across the water.
Not the thought of child nor beloved parents
was remembered, after the Queen of Cyprus
won her at first sight.

Since young brides have hearts that can be persuaded
easily, light things, palpitant to passion
as am I, remembering Anaktória
who has gone from me

and whose lovely walk and the shining pallor
of her face I would rather see before my
eyes than Lydia's chariots in all their glory
armored for battle.


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