James Elroy Flecker

Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities

Helen of Troy has sprung from Hell
    To claim her ancient throne,
So we have bidden friends farewell
    To follow her alone.

The Lady of the laurelled brow,
    The Queen of pride and power,
Looks rather like a phantom now,
    And rather like a flower.

Deep in her eyes the lamp of night
    Burns with a secret flame,
Where shadows pass that have no sight,
    And ghosts that have no name.

For mute is battle's brazen horn
    That rang for Priest and King,
And she who drank of that brave morn
    Is pale with evening.

An hour there is when bright words flow,
    A little hour for sleep,
An hour between, when lights are low,
    And then she seems to weep,

But no less lovely than of old
    She shines, and almost hears
The horns that blew in days of gold,
    The shouting charioteers.

And still she breaks the hearts of men,
    Their hearts and all their pride,
Doomed to be cruel once again,
    And live dissatisfied.