| Quote #1
Helen, thy beauty is to me
The poem's first full stanza is all about setting up this central speaker-as-exile idea. Or at least, it sets up the notion of the speaker as being able to return from his lowly, banished state—thanks to the beauty of our girl, Helen.
| Quote #2
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
A glimpse of something beautiful can remedy feelings of homelessness and exile. Helen's "hyacinth hair" and "classic face" carry the speaker back home. The presence of beauty is enough to get the speaker back to where he belongs.
| Quote #3
To the glory that was Greece,
The speaker's return to Greece and Rome suggests that, prior to meeting Helen, he was exiled from history, or at least the grandeur that these great civilizations represent. In other words, Helen allows him to better identify with the accomplishments of these two extremely important ancient civilizations.