In theological sermons we are used to hearing of a great distinction between fleshly and spiritual love, eros and agape.
-- Joseph Campbell, The Flight of the Wild Gander: Essays
Not even the shift that Auden himself saw in the poem, that from erotic love with its inevitable undertones of egotism and potential failure to a brotherly love embodied in agape, is completely evident.
-- Rainer Emig, W.H. Auden: Towards a Postmodern Poetics
Agape originates as the Greek agapen, "to greet with affection." The term was adopted by early Christians in connection with celebrations. The general sense of "love without sexual aspects" came into use in the 1800s.