On What Is Best

On what is best 

Some celebrate the beauty 
of knights, or infantry, 
or billowing flotillas 
at battle on the sea. 
Warfare has its glory, 
but I place far above 
these military splendors 
the one thing that you love. 

For proof of this contention 
examine history: 
we all remember Helen, 
who left her family, 
her child, and royal husband, 
to take a stranger’s hand: 
her beauty had no equal, 
but bowed to love’s command. 

As love then is the power 
that none can disobey, 
so too my thoughts must follow 
my darling far away: 
the sparkle of her laughter 
would give me greater joy 
than all the bronze-clad heroes 

Sappho 

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