Helen in Egypt, Eidolon, Book III: 4
Helen herself seems almost ready for this sacrifice-at least, for the immolation of herself before this greatest love of Achilles, his dedication to 'his own ship' and the figurehead, 'an idol or eidolon . . . a mermaid, Thetis upon the prow.'
Did her eyes slant in the old way?
was she Greek or Egyptian?
had some Phoenician sailor wrought her?
was she oak-wood or cedar?
had she been cut from an awkward block
of ship-wood at the ship-builders,
and afterwards riveted there,
or had the prow itself been shaped
to her mermaid body,
curved to her mermaid hair?
was there a dash of paint
in the beginning, in the garment-fold,
did the blue afterwards wear away?
did they re-touch her arms, her shoulders?
did anyone touch her ever?
Had she other zealot and lover,
or did he alone worship her?
did she wear a girdle of sea-weed
or a painted crown? how often
did her high breasts meet the spray,
how often dive down?
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Comments about this poem (Helen in Egypt, Eidolon, Book III: 4 by Hilda Doolittle )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931)
Alfred Lord Tennyson
(6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
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