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SAPPHO
ONE HUNDRED LYRICS BY BLISS CARMAN
1907
"SAPPHO WHO BROKE OFF A FRAGMENT
OF HER SOUL FOR US TO GUESS AT."
"SAPPHO, WITH THAT GLORIOLE OF EBON HAIR ON CALM…D
BROWS— O POET-WOMAN! NONE FORGOES THE LEAP,
ATTAINING THE REPOSE."
E.B. BROWNING.
INTRODUCTION
THE POETRY OF SAPPHO.—If all the poets and all the lovers of
poetry should be asked to name the most precious of the priceless
things which time has wrung in tribute from the triumphs of human
genius, the answer which would rush to every tongue would be "The
Lost Poems of Sappho." These we know to have been jewels of a
radiance so imperishable that the broken gleams of them still dazzle
men's eyes, whether shining from the two small brilliants and the
handful of star-dust which alone remain to us, or reflected merely
from the adoration of those poets of old time who were so fortunate
as to witness their full glory.
For about two thousand five hundred years Sappho has held her
place as not only the supreme poet of her sex, but the chief lyrist of
all lyrists. Every one who reads acknowledges her fame, concedes
her supremacy; but to all except poets and Hellenists her name is a
vague and uncomprehended splendour, rising secure above a
persistent mist of misconception. In spite of all that is in these days
being written about Sappho, it is perhaps not out of place now to
inquire, in a few words, into the substance of this supremacy which
towers so unassailably secure from what appear to be such shadowy
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