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Most people wouldn't associate Sappho with a formal, 18th century style, which is why I decided to use it here. My version is necessarily rather free, but still I think close enough to the original to be called a translation.

Sappho: On What Is Best

Jcorelis3by Jon Corelis11 Oct 2013

translated from the Greek

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
who fought it out at Troy.