about "TO HELEN"

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I want to know the theme of "TO HELEN" and some detail of each line.

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2001


Refers to the classics in several points, the ideal beauty as beacon to the beleaguered poet. Common Romantic and neo-classical themes of the period and this was a poem of Poe's youth. Doesn't give a darn about the thousand ships though Helen, face, her placement in a tower seem to imply a reference to Helen of Troy. Also reference to the love poet Catullus(Nicaean bark)though I do not know the exact poems. First part of the poem her beauty, rather the memory of it, brings the seaworn(lifeworn) poet "home" to the poetic ideals of the classics(glory, grandeur). Second part is the vision of that beacon arrived at at last("Lo!")shining with beauty as much as from the agate lamp(in the first version it was a scroll symbolizing poetry and inspiration). Helen is Psyche, his soul, to which his mind is reunited in the Holy land of ideal memory and happiness. Or something like that?

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ