This is perhaps Sappho’s most beautiful fragment. She describes a girl who is as lovely as the moon at night, and yet who is consumed by her love for Atthis. The two lovers are separated, but Sappho consoles Atthis by reminding him that across the sea in Lydia his beloved is thinking of him.
…But now among the women of Lydia
she shines, as after the sun has set
the rosy-fingered moon will appear, surpassing
all the stars, bestowing her light alike
upon the waves of the briny sea
and on the fields that sparkle with countless flowers.
Everything is bathed in the lovely dew:
roses take their nourishment, and
soft chervil, and the blossoming honey-lotus.
Often, as she moves on her daily round,
she’ll be eating her tender heart
when she thinks of her love for gentle Atthis…