The New Student's Reference Work/Sappho
Sappho (săf′ō̇), one of the great poets of the world, was born on the island of Lesbos in Greece. She was only six when she lost her father, and must have lived about the end of the 7th century B. C., as she flourished at the same time as Alcæus and Stesichorus. But little is known of her life, except that she had a daughter and was acquainted with Alcæus. It is said that she fled from Mitylene to Sicily for refuge about 596, but a few years later came back to Mitylene, where she was the center of a group of girls with a passion for poetry. But two of her odes, one to Aphrodite, with a number of short fragments have survived the wear and tear of centuries, but they are enough to assure her genius. For sincerity, deep feeling, passion and exquisite grace her lyrics stand alone. There is a story that she fell in love with a beautiful youth, and, because he did not return her love, plunged from a precipice, called the Leucadian rock, into the sea.