Rushing war-hosts, horsemen or foot or galleys —
These doth one call, those doth another, fairest
Sights on earth: I say that my love of all is
Sweetest and rarest.
Hear the proof, which lightly, I wot, convinces: —
'Mid the comely, Helen would fain discover
One without peer, and of the goodly princes
Chose for her lover
Him who brought the glory of Troy to ruin!
Reckless all of parent and child, she lavished
On the alien love for her own undoing;
Troyward was ravished.
Anactoria — she who contemns the blessing
Near at hand, is like to a reed wind-shaken.
Such are you! — love held in secure possessing
You have forsaken.
Her whose footfall's music myself had rather
Hear, and see her face in its beauty beaming.
Than to gaze where horsemen and footmen gather
What is best is set above man's attaining;
Yet, if Fortune smiled on us once, 'tis better
To recall with prayer and with upward-straining
Than to forget her.