Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

Troy Town


HEAVENBORN Helen, Sparta's queen,
(O Troy Town!)
Had two breasts of heavenly sheen,
The sun and moon of the heart's desire:
All Love's lordship lay between.
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Helen knelt at Venus' shrine,
(O Troy Town!)
Saying, “A little gift is mine,
A little gift for a heart's desire.
Hear me speak and make me a sign!
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“Look, I bring thee a carven cup;
(O Troy Town!)
See it here as I hold it up,—
Shaped it is to the heart's desire,
Fit to fill when the gods would sup.
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“It was moulded like my breast;
(O Troy Town!)
He that sees it may not rest,
Rest at all for his heart's desire.
O give ear to my heart's behest!
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“See my breast, how like it is;
(O Troy Town!)
See it bare for the air to kiss!
Is the cup to thy heart's desire?
O for the breast, O make it his!
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“Yea, for my bosom here I sue;
(O Troy Town!)
Thou must give it where 'tis due,
Give it there to the heart's desire.
Whom do I give my bosom to?
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“Each twin breast is an apple sweet.
(O Troy Town!)
Once an apple stirred the beat
Of thy heart with the heart's desire:—
Say, who brought it then to thy feet?
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“They that claimed it then were three:
(O Troy Town!)
For thy sake two hearts did he
Make forlorn of the heart's desire.
Do for him as he did for thee!
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
“Mine are apples grown to the south,
(O Troy Town!)
Grown to taste in the days of drouth,
Taste and waste to the heart's desire:
Mine are apples meet for his mouth.”
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Venus looked on Helen's gift,
(O Troy Town!)
Looked and smiled with subtle drift,
Saw the work of her heart's desire:—
“There thou kneel'st for Love to lift!”
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Venus looked in Helen's face,
(O Troy Town!)
Knew far off an hour and place,
And fire lit from the heart's desire;
Laughed and said, “Thy gift hath grace!”
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Cupid looked on Helen's breast,
(O Troy Town!)
Saw the heart within its nest,
Saw the flame of the heart's desire,—
Marked his arrow's burning crest.
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Cupid took another dart,
(O Troy Town!)
Fledged it for another heart,
Winged the shaft with the heart's desire,
Drew the string and said, “Depart!”
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)
Paris turned upon his bed,
(O Troy Town!)
Turned upon his bed and said,
Dead at heart with the heart's desire—
“Oh to clasp her golden head!”
(O Troy's down,
Tall Troy's on fire!)

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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