Exploring The Waste Land
A note page linked from The Waste Land, Part III, line 221

Eliot's note for line 221

This may not appear as exact as Sappho's lines, but I had in mind the 'longshore' or 'dory' fisherman, who returns at nightfall.

Commentator's note

These lines appear to me to be more likely an allusion From Robert Louis Stevenson's poem Requiem which has the lines:

Home is sailor, home from the sea
And the Hunter home from the hill.

Except for one complete poem, only fragments survive of Sappho's poetry. Here is what Sappho had to say about Hesperus, the evening star in a poem fragment entitled You Are the Herdsman of the Evening:

Hesperus, thou bringest home all things bright morning scattered;
thou bringest the sheep, the goat, the child to the mother.

or in another translation:

Hesperus, you herd homeward whatever Dawn's light dispersed
You herd sheep--herd goats--herd children home to their mothers

This site has a section from Bulfinch's Mythology discussing Sappho. See also my notes for Sappho on my Miscellanea page for this line.

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T 109 - Sappho
T 117 - Stevenson, Robert Louis


L 7 - Sappho
Very nice entry on Sappho's life and works.

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: nq221.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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