Comparing the Forgotten God of Love in Robert Bridges’ Poem EPÙÓ and Anne Stevenson’s Poem Eros
It is often—in books, poems, paintings, and sculptures—that one hears of and sees the goddess of love. But when is it that one hears of the god? In Greek mythology, Eros is the god of love, and a god who is many times overlooked. In Robert Bridges’ “EPÙÓ” and Anne Stevenson’s “Eros”, the idea that Eros is overlooked is portrayed, but in two separate ways. Techniques such as diction, imagery, and tone are used to help convey the idea.
EPÙÓ, Greek for Eros, is shown to be beautiful in Bridges’ poem: beautiful and adored, yet forgotten. Eros is venerated—called “idol”, and he plagues the heart as a “tyrant.” He is a “flower” of “lovely youth,” and an image of “eternal truth.” Through these strong words, Eros is portrayed to be the god that people all look up to in admiration for his credible honor and ideal beauty. Eros is so striking that only the famous Pheidias, the Greek Sculptor, can compare through his “marmoreal” works. Greek sculptors strove for perfection and this Eros was—perfection. Although giving thought and love to others, he received none back, yet continued his job without complaint. People recognize the youth and beauty of love with the vivid images that Bridges uses. “With thy exuberant flesh so fair,” people are able to see Eros’s outward beauty. At that instantaneous moment, people are enthralled by Eros’ splendor, but once they are satisfied, they forget, and their momentary enchantment disappears. “None who e’er long’d for thy embrace, Hath cared to look upon thy face.” All those who yearned for love, received it, but once having done so, neglected to see and look upon Eros. By using these beautiful words and images, the tone of this piece is portrayed to be dreary and sad on Eros’s behalf. The question that is asked, “Why hast thou nothing in thy face?” is because no one looks upon Eros’ face and recognizes it as love. After so many times of distributing love, but receiving no recognition, respect, or acknowledgement of any sort, Eros’ face just turned blank.
Continuing on, Bridges writes, “And would in darkness come, but thou makest the light wher’er thou go. Ah yet no victim of thy grace.” This shows the horrible state of disregard that Eros has to face. It is sad, that after all the satisfaction and light love gives, love himself isn’t satisfied and is still enshrouded in the...