Heres a rather enjoyable rather tongue in cheek theatrical recitation by the great Edgar Allan Poe of his 1831 poem "To Helen" - Thy Beauty ....Film buffs will I am sure recognise the voice behind Mr Poe on this occasion,but I will not be publishing that name for all the obvious reasons ha ha. To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. Poe then reprinted in 1836 in the Southern Literary Messenger. Poe revised the poem in 1845, making several improvements, most notably changing "the beauty of fair Greece, and the grandeur of old Rome" to "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome." These improved lines are the most well-known lines of the poem In "To Helen," Poe is celebrating the nurturing power of woman. Poe was inspired in part by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, particularly in the second line ("Like those Nicean barks of yore") which resembles a line in Coleridge's "Youth and Age" ("Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore"). Allusions Poe, in referring to Helen, may be alluding to the Greek goddess of light or Helen of Troy who is considered to be the most beautiful woman who ever lived, though there is not enough information given to determine for certain.
Jim Clark All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2010
Helen, thy beauty is to me.
Like those Nicæan barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore,
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs, have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!