To helen poe

edgar allan poe the raven

Stanard Helen is standing before him in a recess or alcove in front of a window. We'd like to give Poe the benefit of the doubt, though, and appreciate the beauty of the sentiments he expresses here.

Either way, Poe's elation at finally having found a caring, older woman—or a mom figure—explain the metaphors he uses in this poem written much later in life. Our talk had been serious and sober, But our thoughts they were palsied and sere— Our memories were treacherous and sere,— For we knew not the month was October, And we marked not the night of the year Ah, night of all nights in the year!

Let us bathe in this crystalline light!


Poe published the first version of "To Helen" in in a book simply titled Poems that was dedicated to his fellow cadets from West Point. His father, David Poe, abandoned the family, and his mother died shortly thereafter of tuberculosis they used to call it "the consumption" back then.

Wanderers in that happy valley, Through two luminous windows, saw Spirits moving musically, To a lute's well-tuned law, Round about a throne where, sitting Porphyrogene!

The role of the female in "To Helen" is multifaceted.

To helen theme

In ancient Greek, the name Helen literally means "sunlight; bright as the dawn". Finally, there are mentions of Naiads, or ancient Greek water nymphs, and Psyche, the mythological woman who represents the soul and who marries Eros, the god of love. It was first published in in Poems of Edgar A. In Greek, psyche means soul. But the agate lamp is also another classical allusion: it was Psyche, personification of the soul, who carried such a lamp. Otherwise, the narrator might be akin to a victorious Greek warrior who, like Homer's Odysseus, has returned from some struggle overseas. Jane Stith Stanard, of Richmond, Va. Poe may have intended the narrator to be a direct reflection of himself, who as a boy felt more welcome in Jane Stanard's house than in other environments. Poe also refers to Helen as Psyche, a beautiful princess who became the lover of Cupid. Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, And be sure it will lead us aright— We safely may trust to a gleaming, That cannot but guide us aright, Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night. In the final stanza of the poem, Poe imagines that Mrs. The speaker of the poem doesn't just come out and say "OMG! He was later to write that she was his first real love. It still regularly appears in some of the best poetry anthologies — though, confusingly, Poe went on to write another poem with the same title. Psyche represented the soul to ancient Greeks, and Poe is comparing Helen to the very soul of "regions which are Holy Land" meaning the soul of Greece from which so much of our ideals of beauty, democracy and learning sprang forth.

The poem was published again inwith some revisions, which is the version we use. It has the ability to transport us, you might say.

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In this poem, as the title suggests, Poe addresses Helen — by whom he means Helen of Troy, reputed to be the most beautiful woman in the classical world. In fact, the poem is not easy to defend against the strictures of critics. These were days when my heart was volcanic As the scoriac rivers that roll— As the lavas that restlessly roll Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek In the ultimate climes of the pole— That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek In the realms of the boreal pole. If Poe indeed intended for the name "Helen" to refer to Helen of Troy, then he has given his character high praise indeed. Let us bathe in this crystalline light! He extends this boat imagery into the second stanza, when he says Helen brought him home to the shores of the greatest civilizations of antiquity, classical Greece and Rome. Yeah, we didn't think so. Look at it like this: You're at the mall, and you see a girl or guy at the food court who has the most amazing body and the prettiest face you've ever seen. For further information on Helen of Troy and Psyche, see the comments on the text of the poem. Helen is an object of fascination for the speaker, not just because she is good-looking, though she is that the second stanza is all about her face and hair , but because she makes him feel a certain way. But the agate lamp is also another classical allusion: it was Psyche, personification of the soul, who carried such a lamp. As is typical with many of Poe's poems, the rhythm and rhyme scheme of "To Helen" is irregular but musical in sound.

Along with the ambiguity of Helen's name, the identity of the narrator is also in question, as he does not have a name or much of a physical presence.

He was later to write that she was his first real love. After all, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, and much else were either invented, or perfected and named, by the ancient Greeks.

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To Helen: Study Guide for Poe's Poem