The Nacreous Oughts

31 July 2008

   I watched the misty
Pleiades sink, Orion
   followed them below;
it's midnight now; the blankness
is complete. I lie alone.

--Sappho (my tr.)

Tonight I've watched
the moon and then
the Pleiades
go down
the night is now
half-gone; youth
goes; I am
in bed alone

(tr Mary Barnard)

The weeping Pleiads wester
   And the moon is under seas;
From bourn to bourn of midnight
   Far sighs the rainy breeze:

It sighs from a lost country
   To a land I have not known;
The weeping Pleiads wester,
   And I lie down alone.

(tr A E Housman, as is the following:)

Th rainy Pleiads wester,
   Orion plunges prone,
And midnight strikes and hastens,
   And I lie down alone.

The rainy Pleiads wester
   And seek beyond the sea
The head that I shall dream of
   That will not dream of me.

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