Helen, thy beauty is to me
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Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicéan barks of yore, That gently, o’er a perfumed sea, The weary, way-worn wanderer bore 5 To his own native shore. On desperate seas long wont to roam, Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,

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Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicéan barks of yore,

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Helen thy beauty is to me like those nic an barks of yore

Helen, thy beauty is to me

Like those Nicéan barks of yore,

That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,

The weary, way-worn wanderer bore

5 To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,

Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,

Thy Naiad1 airs have brought me home

To the glory that was Greece,

10 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,2 from the regions which

Are Holy-Land.


Helen thy beauty is to me like those nic an barks of yore

All Greece hates

the still eyes in the white face,

the lustre as of olives

where she stands

5and the white hands.

All Greece reviles

the wan face when she smiles,

hating it deeper still

when it grows wan and white,

10remembering past enchantments

and past ills.

Greece sees, unmoved,

God’s daughter, born of love,

the beauty of cool feet

15and slenderest knees,

could love indeed the maid,

only if she were laid,

white ash amid funereal cypresses.


Helen thy beauty is to me like those nic an barks of yore

Complete the following steps for two of the poem pairs:

  • Write a brief summary of each stanza (literal).

  • Identify the theme(s) of each poem.

  • Identify tone(s) for each poem.

  • Mark places where each poem shifts (tone, topic, etc.)

  • Circle significant words or short phrases that you would be likely to analyze. (These should be relevant to theme or tone)

  • Write a thesis statement that encompasses both poems. (see instructions)

    For the other two pairs, just write a thesis statement.


Thesis statement poem pairs

  • Can be more than one sentence

  • Should be based on theme (or some other “big picture” aspect of the poem, like purpose).

    • Theme: speaker’s POV regarding the subject

  • Could focus on comparison:

    • “Both poems demonstrate . . .”

  • Could focus on contrast:

    • “While Smith’s poem suggests _______, Jones’ poem shows _______.”

  • Ideally will compare and contrast:

    • “Both Smith and Jones discuss ______, but Smith implies ____ while Jones implies _____.

  • Thesis Statement: poem pairs


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