(Charlotte Higgins’s article appeared in the Guardian, 1/29.)
Sappho is one of the most elusive and mysterious – as well as best-loved – of ancient Greek poets. Only one of her poems, out of a reputed total of nine volumes' worth, survives absolutely intact. Otherwise, she is known by fragments and shards of lines – and still adored for her delicate outpourings of love, longing and desire.
But now, two hitherto unknown works by the seventh-century lyricist of Lesbos have been discovered. One is a substantially complete work about her brothers; another, an extremely fragmentary piece apparently about unrequited love.
The poems came to light when an anonymous private collector in London showed a piece of papyrus fragment to Dr Dirk Obbink, a papyrologist at Oxford University.
READ ‘NEW’ POEM BY SAPPHO:
[ … ]
But you always chatter that Charaxus is coming,
His ship laden with cargo. That much, I reckon, only Zeus
Knows, and all the gods; but you, you should not
Think these thoughts,
Just send me along, and command me
To offer many prayers to Queen Hera
That Charaxus should arrive here, with
His ship intact,
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