183548 SAPPHO AND T.S. ELIOT ANCIENT VS MODERN ASPECTS OF LOVE Sappho, a Greek lyrist, who studied art in Isle of Lesbos, which was the cultural centre in seventh century BC, was famous as a poet during her lifetime. She composed music to be played in accompaniment of a lyre, now known as Sapphic meter, and her poems were about love and loss. She wrote with melody, rhythm and sensual style. She wrote in first person, mainly for women and her poetry consisted of homoerotic content. She became a bit controversial as the writer about woman-love and words lesbian and Sapphic came from her. She was glorified by Plato and Solon as one of the best poets. Sappho’s poetry is very feminine portraying jealousy, insecurity, and she had a way of evoking the sight, tongue, heart etc. as though they belonged to someone else. In her poetry, passion reigns supreme. Naturally her poetry is old fashioned and it projects old-fashioned love. My muse, what ails this ardour?Mine eys be dym, my lymbs shake,My voice is hoarse, my throte scorcht,My tong to this roofe cleaves,My fancy amazde, my thoughtes dull’d,My head doth ake, my life faintsMy sowle begins to take leave,So greate a passion all feele,To think a soare so deadlyI should so rashly ripp up.http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/sappho.htmT.S. ELIOTCompared to Sappho’s love songs, Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the skyLake a patient etherised upon a tableLet us go, through certain half-deserted streetsThe muttering retreatsOf restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shellsStreets that follow like a tedious argumentOf insidious intent. http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.htmlThere are many differences between the two. Naturally Sappho’s lines are ancient and Eliot’s modern. Apart from this, Sappho has written in passionate fervour of love, whereas Eliot shows the most unromantic side of it. Sappho is bristling with the romance, passion and sexual desire, while Eliot’s love is dreary and without imagination. Her poetry brims with imagination and she even uses the limbs as external think tanks. On the contrary, Eliot does not show much imagination or creativity in this song. It is a dry, matter-of-fact kind of song showing a very ordinary life, devoid of all sophistication. Sappho creates a world full of love, peopled by lovers with imaginative and creative dreams and desires. In this song, T.S. Eliot shows the bare modernity with the basest things in life and here love does not create an aura, but an ordinary, drudgery like living together and going around together. In a way both these poets reflect the ancient approach and modern approach to love. In ancient days, love is considered to be an ethereal feeling, reserved only for the lucky few. Physical desires did exist, but they were clothed in decency and fascinating, yet erotic love. Even though Sappho’s poetry was extremely feminine, she does not vulgarise it. In the modern approach, love is shown more as sex and the mental involvement comes as an afterthought and the poets represent this basic difference in their works. ONLINE SOURCES:1. http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/sappho.htm2. http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.html3.