Preface

Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

PREFACE

WHEN, more than a year ago, I wrote to a literary friend of my attempt to express in English verse the passionate pleasure Dr. Wharton's book had brought to me, he replied : "That is a delightfully audacious thought— the extension of Sappho's fragments into lyrics.  I can scarcely conceive anything more audacious."

In simply truth all worship is not idolatry must be audacious ; for it involves the blissful apprehension of an ideal ; it means in the very phrase of Sappho—

Ἔγων δ’ἐμαύτᾳ
τοῦτο σύνοιδα·

Devoutly as the fiery-bosomed Greek turned in her anguish to Aphrodite, praying her to accomplish he heart's desires, I have turned to the one woman who has dared to speak unfalteringly of the fearful mastery of love, and again and again the dumb prayer has risen from my heart—

 σὺ δ’αὔτα
σὐμμαχοσ ἔσσο.