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Ancient and Modern Love Songs Essay

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Updated: Feb 6th, 2022

Sappho expresses love as a passionate feeling that leaves her speechless and fills her body from head to toe, making her powerless. Love in Sappho’s poems has exceptional emotional power. The poet describes the emotional outburst that occurs when she is next to the object of her love experiences. This outburst is equivalent to death, which shows these feelings’ power, overwhelming the entire body and mind. Sappho uses not only the image of love through external signs but also with the help of states that are invisible to the human eye. One example of such lines in Sappho’s poetry: “trembling shakes my body // and I turn paler than // dry grass. At such times // death isn’t far from me” (Sappho, 2018, p. 61). Readers vividly imagine the woman’s feelings and, perhaps, recall how they felt something similar in their lives.

Undoubtedly, love is one of the most crucial feelings in human life. For this reason, art dedicated to this topic does not lose its relevance. Many modern love songs are cultic and famous to people worldwide, despite being written in a particular language. One of the prime examples is Whitney Houston’s song I Will Always Love You. This song’s lines are full of emotions: “I hope life treats you kind, // And I hope you have // ​​All you’ve dreamed of. // And I wish you joy and happiness. // But above all this, I wish you love. // And I will always love you” (Houston, 1992). The audience sees that the woman loves a man so much that it is more important for her not to be with him, but to know that he is happy. For her, his feelings are much more meaningful than hers since he is the center of her life.

Undoubtedly, Sappho’s poetry is quite unusual and original, so specific differences exist between her works and modern love songs. In particular, in Sappho’s poetry, readers can often find her loving attitude towards representatives of the same sex: “Girls, you be ardent for the fragrant-blossomed // Muses’ lovely gifts, for the clear melodious lyre” (Sappho, 2018, p. 40). In modern society, there is also a tendency towards acceptance and freedom of same-sex relationships. However, in art, this has not yet been expressed clearly enough, which speaks of the freer morals of the past. Despite this, Sappho’s love songs and modern songs are full of similar feelings. They clearly show the emotional state of a woman in love. She is completely immersed in love for a man, ready to sacrifice for him, and wants him to live a happy life.

Notably, love songs have not changed much over the past two thousand years. It is necessary to note the poetic component since a certain rhythm is essential for modern musical art. In the past, the principles of versification were different from modern ones, which complicates the perception of Sappho and other ancient authors’ poetry. Nevertheless, the theme of love, in general, is quite understandable for people of any era. Musical creativity is one of the best ways to express deep feelings like love. Therefore, people praise their beloved and try to convey their attitude as accurately as possible. These songs contain admiration, care, tenderness, and other aspects of this feeling. However, over time, these love components have not changed much, and people can find many similarities in the songs. That is why the poetry of authors such as Sappho is close to many modern people.


Houston, W. (1992). I will always love you [Song]. On The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album [Album]. Arista.

Sappho (2018). The poems of Sappho and others. Digireads.com.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Ancient and Modern Love Songs." February 6, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ancient-and-modern-love-songs/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Ancient and Modern Love Songs'. 6 February.

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