To Sappho Dead


Death of Sappho, Gustave Moreau, c.1870

by Florence Earle Coates

How glad you must be to lie at rest,
Forgetful of him whom you loved so,
Of him who loved you not:
To leave all the watching and waiting,
The hoping and doubting, behind you—
To know no more of the longing
That burned like a fire at your heart!

How glad you must be to lose yourself—
Utterly, utterly, Sappho,
In sleep that is sleep indeed!—
To turn from the pain and the passion,
The dreams of delight that, on waking,
But mocked you and left you more lonely—
The visions that ever betrayed!

How glad, after all—oh, how glad to forget
The golden one, dread Aphrodite!—
The laughter deceitful and sweet
Wherewith from her own glowing bosom
She gave the red rose that consumed you,
Whose fire only floods all-embracing
Could cool, as they rocked you in sleep!

Hereafter for others her emblem shall bloom:
For others shall be the delusion,
The torturing doubt, the despair;
But you, cradled deep mid the waters,
Naught heeding of ebb-tide or flowing,
Your heart pulsing not with their pulsing,—
You, Sappho, untroubled shall rest.

About the Author:

Florence Earle Coates (July 1, 1850 – April 6, 1927) was an American poet.