Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom - Robert Frost.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

And all is dross that is not Helena...

Not exactly poetry, but these lines deserve to be included on their sheer merit. Most people would have heard of the beginning of this speech from Christopher Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus', but wouldn't have known where they came from. Here they are.

Dr. Faustus

Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack'd;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear'd to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!


Blogger anj said...

sadly enough...marlow has ceased to affect me - mostly cause i did dr.faustus last sem. nothing like using something as a text to kill all real appreciation...sigh.
but 'the face the launched a thousand ships' will always be a fav.

10:21 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Typical Marlowe... over-the-top in his compliments. It's beautiful and all that but I can never really appreciate Marlowe because I have an unexplained dislike for him ever since I read his "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love".

2:41 am  
Blogger sthupit girl said...

too true. Over the top compliments. For some reason, they just felt like words on paper. No emotion.

I like "the face that launched a thousand ships" best too.

4:37 am  
Blogger Dreamer Gray said...

Well, the reactions do seem a trifle mixed...I don't know, maybe it's my obsession with the ancient history stuff...

8:39 am  
Anonymous aku suk zan said...

Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
- pretty cool line that.. i liked the last line too.. this guy is dressed in arrogance.

5:59 am  
Blogger the bored one said...

yeah, the last line is a bit..well..arrogant. but dont u think literature gives one a right to be over the top sometimes?
and the first line is one of the most oft quoted i think. Other than 'whats in a name' or 'to be or not to be' i guess. it amuses me tht so many people use them without having the darnedest idea where they come from.

6:41 am  
Anonymous tubular bat said...

yeah, as in, whats the poi nt of lit. if its the same as everyday life? some over the topiness is required in this... zooo.

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not a big fan of marlowe becoz he totally gets to my nerve when he substitutes the idea of love with lust with such ease in some of his poems..but must admit love this poem becoz of the brilliance with which he combines two of my favourite's greek myth and poetry..brilliant work!!

7:18 am  
Blogger gitler said...

Marlowe in 'The Passionate Shepherd to his Love' is not one of the best examples of his poetry.This qualifies as a very good example of what he is capable of.
Of course if one must really read about Faust then Goethe is your man.The sheer intensity of his writing on Faust is enough to unnerve you.
By the way, do check out this poem of Carol Ann Duffy's called "Mrs Faust". It's, to put it mildly, superb
ps:Could I contribute to this site? Rini and Jana second this request. Ask them if I qualify or not!

1:19 am  
Blogger Dreamer Gray said...

aku soku zan : 'course you're an Erasmus fan.

the bored one : True...yeah, consider this my good deed for the century or thereabouts.

tubular bat : Also true...but what I'm intrigued by is your nick...

anonymous : Yeah, huge fan of Greek stuff is quite evident from the poems on this blog already!

gitler : Don't like that one either...hmmm, haven't read Goethe...can't find Mrs. Faust on the net, you have a link?

Lol, you qualify on forthrightness alone...contribute in what sense though? 'cos I figured this to be a poetry appreciation site, showcasing personal favourite poems by other authors, not original poems...that'll be another site later when I'm really jobless...say around my exams...if we're on the same page after all, then sure, be my guest...just tell me if we are first, lol.

6:28 am  
Blogger gitler said...

Oh absolutely. I really wanted to put in some poems that i consider classics though my taste runs more to modern poetry than pre-20th cent. Just wondered whether I Could humbly put forward some of my own favourites and if I could then how do I go about doing so?
So I guess we are on the same page here:-)
Still have doubts about the qualifications part check out my blog(and this is not a shameless attempt at self promotion;-))

2:04 am  
Blogger gitler said...

Whatever you might hear to the contrary!!

2:04 am  
Blogger Dreamer Gray said...

Touche...invitation is enroute.

5:53 am  
Blogger gitler said...


9:22 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Hey... UPDATE!

8:13 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gitler: STOP!!!...LEAVE..!!

2:53 am  
Blogger gitler said...


8:00 am  

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