High Born Helen


High-born Helen, round your dwelling
These twenty years I’ve paced in vain:
Haughty beauty, thy lover’s duty
Hath been to glory in his pain.

High-born Helen, proudly telling
Stories of thy cold disdain;
I starve, I die, now you comply,
And I no longer can complain.

These twenty years I’ve lived on tears,
Dwelling for ever on a frown;
On sighs I’ve fed, your scorn my bread;
I perish now you kind are grown.

Can I, who loved my beloved
But for the scorn “was in her eye,”
Can I be moved for my beloved,
When she “returns me sigh for sigh”?

In stately pride, by my bed-side
High-born Helen’s portrait’s hung;
Deaf to my praise, my mournful lays
Are nightly to the portrait sung.

To that I weep, nor ever sleep,
Complaining all night long to her —
Helen, grown old, no longer cold,
Said, “You to all men I prefer.”

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