Poetry Tuesday: To Helen. . . twice

Ordinarily I would not condone the mockery of one of my fave poems–the end of the second stanza is especially poignant–but when the satire is this funny, allowences must be made. {Can you tell I spent a semester at Cambridge?}
So, here’s one of Poe’s best, followed by its Yankovic, even though it’s also old and not all that well understood to someone not of the 19th century British noble class.

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn 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!

(After seeing her bowl with her usual success.)

Helen, thy bowling is to me
Like that wise Alfred Shaw’s of yore,
Which gently broke the wickets three:
From Alfred few could smack a four:
Most difficult to score!

The music of the moaning sea,
The rattle of the flying bails,
The grey sad spires, the tawny sails –
What memories they bring to me,
Beholding thee!

Upon our old monastic pitch,
How sportsmanlike I see thee stand!
The leather in thy lily hand,
Oh, Helen of the yorkers, which
Are nobly planned!



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