Sappho: A New Rendering by Sappho, Henry de Vere Stacpoole (translation)

There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse.

After working my way through more disturbing topics, I’ve come to find that a little poetry serves me well as a palette cleanser, especially when most of the lines are geared towards love.

Most of what is believed of Sappho in popular culture today seems to be wrong (but easily researched with a little Google Fu).  The greater consideration for me is that not much of her poetry survives.  Beyond a single intact poem, all we have left are fragments from a far larger body of work.

This particular translation is by Henry de Vere Stacpoole, published in 1920, and passionately performed by Leanne Yau.  I can’t help but wonder how it would have sounded in original performance, sung and accompanied by a lyre.  It is said that all poetry since is inspired from her.  After experiencing it for myself, even without musical accompaniment, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.  I can easily hear in her words that which may have inspired Shakespeare or the poets of the Romantic Era.  The entire recording is little more than half an hour, but it’s more than enough to understand why and how Sappho has secured her place in literary history.  It’s truly beautiful.

23 thoughts on “Sappho: A New Rendering by Sappho, Henry de Vere Stacpoole (translation)

  1. Pingback: Winding Up the Week #26 – Book Jotter

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