Annals of Love 9: Femme Fatale

 

The Face That Launch’d A Thousand Ships

Christopher Marlowe (died 1593, at probably 29 years), English.

 

 

 

 

 

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Helen of Troy, c. 1867, oil on canvas. 

Frederick Augustus Sandys, 1829-1904, British.

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK. Photo from its website.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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Lips, c. 1975, silkscreen ink on paper, 104 sheets, hardcover bound  (the arms of the photographer reflected over the image).

Andy Warhol, 1928-1987

Private collection on loan to the Whitney in 2018/19

 

 

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.

 

 

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Helen of Troy, 1863, oil on panel.  Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1828-1882, British. 

Hamburger Kunsthalle from the website of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Annals of Love 9: Femme Fatale

    1. I want to say…if only he had restrained his own violence. But that devil of violence may have been enmeshed with his creativity and it is true that if we throw our devils wholly out, we become as dead….? Sarah

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