To Helen

Original Text: 
Edgar A. Poe, The Raven and Other Poems (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845): 91 (J. Lorimer Graham copy in the Miriam Lutcher Stark Library, University of Texas). Facsimile edition by Thomas Ollive Mabbott (Facsimile Text Society, 1942). PS 2609 A1 1845A ROBA.
3That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
4    The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
5    To his own native shore.
6On desperate seas long wont to roam,
7    Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
9    To the glory that was Greece,
10    And the grandeur that was Rome.
11Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
12    How statue-like I see thee stand,
13The agate lamp within thy hand!
15    Are Holy-Land!


1] Helen: Poe was thinking of the mother of his school friend Robert Stanard, Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard of Richmond, Mass. (Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott [Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969], I, 164). Back to Line
2] Nicéan: of Nicaea, a city of the Byzantine empire (within present-day Turkey) Back to Line
8] Naiad: classical nymph of lake or stream Back to Line
14] Psyche: a Greek word meaning "soul" and the name of Cupid's spouse Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2.0.