Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book 3

Index page



Paris, betwixt the hosts, to single fight,
Of all the Greeks, dares the most hardy knight.
King Menelaus doth accept his brave,
Conditioning that he again should have
Fair Helena, with all she brought to Troy,
If he subdu’d; else Paris should enjoy
Her, and her wealth, in peace. Conquest doth grant
Her dear wreath to the Grecian combatant;
But Venus to her champion’s life doth yield
Safe rescue, and conveys him from the field
Into his chamber, and for Helen sends,
Whom much her lover’s foul disgrace offends;
Yet Venus for him still makes good her charms,
And ends the second combat in his arms.


Gamma the single fight doth sing
’Twixt Paris and the Spartan king.

When ev’ry least commander’s will best soldiers had obey’d,
And both the hosts were rang’d for fight, the Trojans would have fray’d
The Greeks with noises, crying out, in coming rudely on;
At all parts like the cranes that fill, with harsh confusion,
Of brutish clangés all the air, and in ridiculous war
(Eschewing the unsuffer’d storms, shot from the winter’s star)
Visit the ocean, and confer the Pygmei soldiers’ death.

The Greeks charg’d silent, and like men, bestow’d their thrifty breath
In strength of far-resounding blows, still entertaining care
Of either’s rescue, when their strength did their engagements dare.

And as, upon a hill’s steep tops, the south wind pours a cloud,
To shepherds thankless, but by thieves that love the night, allow’d,
A darkness letting down, that blinds a stone’s cast off men’s eyes;
Such darkness from the Greeks’ swift feet (made all of dust) did rise.

But, ere stern conflict mix’d both strengths, fair Paris stept before
The Trojan host; athwart his back a panther’s hide he wore,
A crookéd bow, and sword, and shook two brazen-headed darts;
With which well-arm’d, his tongue provok’d the best of Grecian hearts
To stand with him in single fight. Whom when the man, wrong’d most
Of all the Greeks, so gloriously saw stalk before the host;
As when a lion is rejoic’d, (with hunger half forlorn,)
That finds some sweet prey, as a hart, whose grace lies in his horn,
Or sylvan goat, which he devours, though never so pursu’d
With dogs and men; so Sparta’s king exulted, when he viewed
The fair-fac’d Paris so expos’d to his so thirsted wreak,
Whereof his good cause made him sure. The Grecian front did break,
And forth he rush’d, at all parts arm’d, leapt from his chariot,
And royally prepar’d for charge. Which seen, cold terror shot
The heart of Paris, who retir’d as headlong from the king
As in him he had shunn’d his death. And as a hilly spring
Presents a serpent to a man, full underneath his feet,
Her blue neck, swoln with poison, rais’d, and her sting out, to greet
His heedless entry, suddenly his walk he altereth,
Starts back amaz’d, is shook with fear, and looks as pale as death;
So Menelaus Paris scar’d; so that divine-fac’d foe
Shrunk in his beauties. Which beheld by Hector, he let go
This bitter check at him; “Accurs’d, made but in beauty’s scorn,
Impostor, woman’s man! O heav’n, that thou hadst ne’er been born,
Or, being so manless, never liv’d to bear man’s noblest state,
The nuptial honour! Which I wish, because it were a fate
Much better for thee than this shame. This spectacle doth make
A man a monster. Hark! how loud the Greeks laugh, who did take
Thy fair form for a continent of parts as fair. A rape
Thou mad’st of nature, like their queen. No soul, an empty shape,
Takes up thy being; yet how spite to ev’ry shade of good
Fills it with ill! for as thou art, thou couldst collect a brood
Of others like thee, and far hence fetch ill enough to us,
Ev’n to thy father; all these friends make those foes mock them thus
In thee, for whose ridiculous sake so seriously they lay
All Greece, and fate, upon their necks. O wretch! Not dare to stay
Weak Menelaus? But ’twas well; for in him thou hadst tried
What strength lost beauty can infuse, and with the more grief died
To feel thou robb’dst a worthier man, to wrong a soldier’s right.

“Your harp’s sweet touch, curl’d locks, fine shape, and gifts so exquisite,
Giv’n thee by Venus, would have done your fine dames little good,
When blood and dust had ruffled them, and had as little stood
Thyself in stead; but what thy care of all these in thee flies
We should inflict on thee ourselves. Infectious cowardice
In thee hath terrified our host; for which thou well deserv’st
A coat of tombstone, not of steel in which, for form, thou serv’st.”

To this thus Paris spake, (for form, that might inhabit heav’n)
“Hector, because thy sharp reproof is out of justice giv’n,
I take it well; but though thy heart, inur’d to these affrights,
Cuts through them as an axe through oak, that more us’d more excites
The workman’s faculty, whose art can make the edge go far,
Yet I, less practis’d than thyself in these extremes of war,
May well be pardon’d, though less bold; in these your worth exceeds,
In others mine. Nor is my mind of less force to the deeds
Requir’d in war, because my form more flows in gifts of peace.

“Reproach not, therefore, the kind gifts of golden Cyprides.

“All heav’n’s gifts have their worthy price; as little to be scorn’d
As to be won with strength, wealth, state; with which to be adorn’d,
Some men would change state, wealth, or strength. But, if your martial heart
Wish me to make my challenge good, and hold it such a part
Of shame to give it over thus, cause all the rest to rest,
And, ’twixt both hosts, let Sparta’s king and me perform our best
For Helen and the wealth she brought; and he that overcomes,
Or proves superior any way, in all your equal dooms,
Let him enjoy her utmost wealth, keep her, or take her home;
The rest strike leagues of endless date, and hearty friends become;
You dwelling safe in gleby Troy, the Greeks retire their force
T’ Achaia, that breeds fairest dames, and Argos, fairest horse.”

He said, and his amendsful words did Hector highly please,
Who rush’d betwixt the fighting hosts, and made the Trojans cease,
By holding up in midst his lance. The Grecians noted not
The signal he for parley used, but at him fiercely shot,
Hurl’d stones, and still were leveling darts. At last the king of men,
Great Agamemnon, cried aloud: “Argives! for shame, contain;
Youths of Achaia, shoot no more; the fair-helm’d Hector shows
As he desir’d to treat with us.” This said, all ceas’d from blows,
And Hector spake to both the hosts: “Trojans, and hardy Greeks,
Hear now what he that stirr’d these wars, for their cessation seeks.

He bids us all, and you, disarm, that he alone may fight
With Menelaus, for us all, for Helen and her right,
With all the dow’r she brought to Troy; and he that wins the day,
Or is, in all the art of arms, superior any way,
The queen, and all her sorts of wealth, let him at will enjoy;
The rest strike truce, and let love seal firm leagues ’twixt Greece and Troy.”

The Greek host wonder’d at this brave; silence flew ev’rywhere;
At last spake Sparta’s warlike king: “Now also give me ear,
Whom grief gives most cause of reply. I now have hope to free
The Greeks and Trojans of all ills, they have sustain’d for me,
And Alexander, that was cause I stretch’d my spleen so far.

Of both then, which is nearest fate, let his death end the war;
The rest immediately retire, and greet all homes in peace.

Go then (to bless your champion, and give his pow’rs success)
Fetch for the Earth, and for the Sun (the Gods on whom ye call)
Two lambs, a black one and a white, a female and a male;
And we another, for ourselves, will fetch, and kill to Jove.

To sign which rites bring Priam’s force, because we well approve
His sons perfidious, envious, and (out of practis’d bane
To faith, when she believes in them) Jove’s high truce may profane.

All young men’s hearts are still unstaid; but in those well-weigh’d deeds
An old man will consent to pass things past, and what succeeds
He looks into, that he may know, how best to make his way
Through both the fortunes of a fact, and will the worst obey.”

This granted, a delightful hope both Greeks and Trojans fed,
Of long’d-for rest from those long toils, their tedious war had bred.

Their horses then in rank they set, drawn from their chariots round,
Descend themselves, took off their arms, and plac’d them on the ground,
Near one another; for the space ’twixt both the hosts was small.

Hector two heralds sent to Troy, that they from thence might call
King Priam, and to bring the lambs, to rate the truce they swore.

But Agamemnon to the fleet Talthybius sent before,
To fetch their lamb; who nothing slack’d the royal charge was giv’n.

Iris, the rain-bow, then came down, ambassadress from heav’n,
To white-arm’d Helen. She assum’d at ev’ry part the grace
Of Helen’s last love’s sister’s shape, who had the highest place
In Helen’s love, and had to name Laodice, most fair
Of all the daughters Priam had, and made the nuptial pair
With Helicaon, royal sprout of ole Antenor’s seed.

She found queen Helena at home, at work about a weed,
Wov’n for herself; it shin’d like fire, was rich, and full of size,
The work of both sides being alike; in which she did comprise
The many labours warlike Troy and brass-arm’d Greece endur’d
For her fair sake, by cruel Mars and his stern friends procur’d.

Iris came in in joyful haste, and said; “O come with me,
Lov’d nymph, and an admiréd sight of Greeks and Trojans see,
Who first on one another brought a war so full of tears,
Ev’n thirsty of contentious war. Now ev’ry man forbears,
And friendly by each other sits, each leaning on his shield,
Their long and shining lances pitch’d fast by them in the field,
Paris, and Sparta’s king, alone must take up all the strife;
And he that conquers only call fair Helena his wife.”

Thus spake the thousand-colour’d Dame, and to her mind commends
The joy to see her first espous’d, her native tow’rs, and friends;
Which stirr’d a sweet desire in her: to serve the which she hied,
Shadow’d her graces with white veils, and (though she took a pride
To set her thoughts at gaze, and see, in her clear beauty’s flood,
What choice of glory swum to her yet tender womanhood)
Season’d with tears her joys to see more joys the more offence,
And that perfection could not flow from earthly excellence.

Thus went she forth, and took with her her women most of name,
Æthra, Pitthëus’ lovely birth, and Clymene, whom fame
Hath for her fair eyes memoris’d. They reach’d the Scæn Tow’rs,
Where Priam sat, to see the fight, with all his counsellors;
Panthous, Lampus, Clytius, and stout Hicetaon,
Thymœtes, wise Antenor, and profound Ucalegon;
All grave old men; and soldiérs they had been, but for age
Now left the wars; yet counsellors they were exceeding sage.

And as in well-grown woods, or trees, cold spiny grasshoppers
Sit chirping, and send voices out, that scarce can pierce our ears
For softness, and their weak faint sounds; so, talking on the tow’r,
These seniors of the people sat; who when they saw the pow’r
Of beauty, in the queen, ascend ev’n those cold-spirited peers,
Those wise and almost wither’d men, found this heat in their years,
That they were forc’d (though whispéring) to say: “What man can blame
The Greeks and Trojans to endure, for so admir’d a dame,
So many mis’ries, and so long? In her sweet count’nance shine
Looks like the Goddesses. And yet (though never so divine)
Before we boast, unjustly still, of her enforcéd prise,
And justly suffer for her sake, with all our progenies,
Labour and ruin, let her go; the profit of our land
Must pass the beauty.” Thus, tough these could bear so fit a hand
On their affections, yet, when all their gravest powers were us’d,
They could not choose but welcome her, and rather they accus’d
The Gods than beauty; for thus spake the most-fam’d king of Troy:
“Come, lovéd daughter, sit by me and take the worthy joy
Of thy first husband’s sight, old friends, and princes near allied,
And name me some of these brave Greeks, so manly beautified.

Come, do not think I lay the wars, endur’d by us, on thee,
The Gods have sent them, and the tears in which they swum to me.

Sit then, and name this goodly Greek, so tall, and broadly spread,
Who than the rest, that stand by him, is higher by the head;
The bravest man I ever saw, and most majestical,
His only presence makes me think him king amongst them all.”

The fairest of her sex replied: “Most rev’rend father-in-law,
Most lov’d, most fear’d, would some ill death had seiz’d me, when I saw
The first mean why I wrong’d you thus: that I had never lost
The sight of these my ancient friends, of him that lov’d me most,
Of my sole daughter, brothers both, with all those kindly mates,
Of one soil, one age, born with me, though under diff’rent fates!
But these boons envious stars deny; the memory of these
In sorrow pines those beauties now, that then did too much please;
Nor satisfy they your demand, to which I thus reply:
That’s Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, the great in empery;
A king, whom double royalty doth crown, being great and good,
And one that was my brother-in-law, when I contain’d my blood,
And was more worthy; if at all I might be said to be,
My being being lost so soon in all that honour’d me.”

The good old king admir’d, and said: “O Atreus’ blesséd son,
Born unto joyful destinies, that hast the empire won
Of such a world of Grecian youths, as I discover here!
I once march’d into Phrygia, that many vines doth bear,
Where many Phrygians I beheld, well-skill’d in use of horse,
That of the two men, like two Gods, were the commanded force,
Otrëus, and great Mygdonus, who on Sangarius’ sands
Set down their tents with whom myself, for my assistant bands,
Was number’d as a man in chief; the cause of war was then
Th’ Amazon dames, that in their facts affected to be men.

In all there was a mighty pow’r, which yet did never rise
To equal these Achaian youths, that have the sable eyes.”

Then (seeing Ulysses next) he said: “Lov’d daughter, what is he
That, lower than great Atreus’ son; seems by the head to me,
Yet, in his shoulders and big breast, presents a broader show?
His armour lies upon the earth; he up and down doth go,
To see his soldiers keep their ranks, and ready have their arms,
If, in this truce, they should be tried by any false alarms.

Much like a well-grown bell-wether, or feltred ram, he shows,
That walks before a wealthy flock of fair white-fleeced ewes.”

High Jove and Leda’s fairest seed to Priam thus replies:
“This is the old Laertes’ son, Ulysses, call’d the wise;
Who, though unfruitful Ithaca was made his nursing seat,
Yet knows he ev’ry sort of sleight, and is in counsels great.”

The wise Antenor answer’d her: “’Tis true, renownéd dame;
For, some times past, wise Ithacus to Troy a legate came,
With Menelaus, for your cause; to whom I gave receipt
As guests, and welcom’d to my house, with all the love I might.

I learn’d the wisdom of their souls, and humours of their blood;
For when the Trojan council met, and these together stood,
By height of his broad shoulders had Atrides eminence,
Yet, set, Ulysses did exceed, and bred more reverence.

And when their counsels and their words they wove in one, the speech
Of Atreus’ son was passing loud, small, fast, yet did not reach
To much, being naturally born Laconical; nor would
His humour lie for anything, or was, like th’ other, old;
But when the prudent Ithacus did to his counsels rise,
He stood a little still, and fix’d upon the earth his eyes,
His sceptre moving neither way, but held it formally,
Like one that vainly doth affect. Of wrathful quality,
And frantic (rashly judging him) you would have said he was,
But when, out of his ample breast he gave his great voice pass,
And words that flew about our ears, like drifts of winter’s snow,
None thenceforth might contend with him, tho’ nought admir’d for show.”

The third man, aged Priam mark’d, was Ajax Telamon,
Of whom he ask’d: “What lord is that, so large of limb and bone,
So rais’d in height, that to his breast I see there reacheth none?”
To him the Goddess of her sex, the large-veil’d Helen, said:
“That Lord is Ajax Telamon, a bulwark in their aid.

On th’ other side stands Idomen, in Crete of most command,
And round about his royal sides his Cretan captains stand;
Oft hath the warlike Spartan king giv’n hospitable due
To him within our Lacene court, and all his retinue.

And now the other Achive dukes I gen’rally discern;
All which I know, and all their names could make thee quickly learn.

Two princes of the people yet, I nowhere can behold,
Castor, the skilful knight on horse and Pollux, uncontroll’d
For all stand-fights, and force of hand; both at a burthen bred;
My natural brothers; either here they have not followéd
From lovely Sparta, or, arriv’d within the sea-born fleet,
In fear of infamy for me, in broad field shame to meet.”

Nor so; for holy Tellus’ womb inclos’d those worthy men
In Sparta, their belovéd soil. The voiceful heralds then
The firm agreement of the Gods through all the city ring;
Two lambs, and spirit-refreshing wine (the fruit of earth) they bring,
Within a goat-skin bottle clos’d; Idæus also brought
A massy glitt’ring bowl, and cups, that all of gold were wrought;
Which bearing to the king, they cried: “Son of Laomedon
Rise, for the well-rode peers of Troy, and brass-arm’d Greeks, in one,
Send to thee to descend the field, that they firm vows may make;
For Paris, and the Spartan king, must fight for Helen’s sake,
With long-arm’d lances; and the man that proves victorious,
The woman, and the wealth she brought, shall follow to his house;
The rest knit friendship, and firm leagues; we safe in Troy shall dwell,
In Argos and Achaia they, that do in dames excel.”

He said; and Priam’s aged joints with chilléd fear did shake,
Yet instantly he bade his men his chariot ready make.

Which soon they did, and he ascends. He takes the reins, and guide
Antenor calls; who instantly mounts to his royal side,
And, through the Scæan ports to field, the swift-foot horse they drive.

And when at them of Troy and Greece the aged lords arrive,
From horse, on Troy’s well-feeding soil, ’twixt both the hosts they go.

When straight up-rose the king of men, up-rose Ulysses too,
The heralds in their richest coats repeat (as was the guise)
The true vows of the Gods (term’d theirs, since made before their eyes)
Then in a cup of gold they mix the wine that each side brings,
And next pour water on the hands of both the kings of kings.

Which done, Atrides drew his knife, that evermore he put
Within the large sheath of his sword; with which away he cut
The wool from both fronts of the lambs, which (as a rite in use
Of execration to their heads, that brake the plighted truce)
The heralds of both hosts did give the peers of both; and then,
With hands and voice advanc’d to heav’n, thus pray’d the king of men:
“O Jove, that Ida dost protect, and hast the titles won
Most glorious, most invincible; aid thou all-seeing Sun,
All-hearing, all-recomforting; Floods; Earth; and Pow’rs beneath,
That all the perjuries of men chastise ev’n after death!
Be witnesses, and see perform’d the hearty vows we make.—
If Alexander shall the life of Menelaus take,
He shall from henceforth Helena, with all her wealth, retain,
And we will to our household Gods, hoise sail, and home again.

If, by my honour’d brother’s hand, be Alexander slain,
The Trojans then shall his forc’d queen, with all her wealth, restore,
And pay convenient fine to us, aid ours for evermore.

If Priam and his sons deny to pay his, thus agreed,
When Alexander shall be slain; or that perfidious deed,
And for the fine, will I fight here, till dearly they repay,
By death and ruin, the amends, that falsehood keeps away.”

This said, the throats of both the lambs cut with his royal knife,
He laid them panting on the earth, till, quite depriv’d of life,
The steel had robb’d them of their strength; then golden cups they crown’d,
With wine out of a cistern drawn; which pour’d upon the ground,
They fell upon their humble knees to all the Deities,
And thus pray’d one of both the hosts, that might do sacrifice:
“O Jupiter, most high, most great, and all the deathless Pow’rs!
Who first shall dare to violate the late sworn oaths of ours,
So let the bloods and brains of them, and all they shall produce,
Flow on the stain’d face of the earth, as now this sacred juice;
And let their wives with bastardice brand all their future race.”

Thus pray’d they; but, with wish’d effects, their pray’rs Jove did not grace;
When Priam said: “Lords of both hosts, I can no longer stay
To see my lov’d son try his life, and so must take my way
To wind-exposéd Ilion. Jove yet and heav’n’s high States
Know only, which of these must now pay tribute to the Fates.”

Thus, putting in his coach the lambs, he mounts and reins his horse;
Antenor to him; and to Troy, both take their speedy course.

Then Hector, Priam’s martial son, stepp’d forth, and met the ground,
With wise Ulysses, where the blows of combat must resound;
Which done, into a helm they put two lots, to let them know
Which of the combatants should first his brass-pil’d jav’lin throw;
When all the people standing by, with hands held up to heav’n,
Pray’d Jove the conquest might not be by force or fortune giv’n,
But that the man, who was in right the author of most wrong,
Might feel his justice, and no more these tedious wars prolong,
But, sinking to the house of death, leave them (as long before)
Link’d fast in leagues of amity, that might dissolve no more.

Then Hector shook the helm that held the equal dooms of chance,
Look’d back, and drew; and Paris first had lot to hurl his lance,
The soldiers all sat down enrank’d, each by his arms and horse
That then lay down and cool’d their hoofs. And now th’ allotted course
Bids fair-hair’d Helen’s husband arm; who first makes fast his greaves
With silver buckles to his legs; then on his breast receives
The curets that Lycaon wore (his brother) but made fit
For his fair body; next his sword he took, and fasten’d it,
All damask’d, underneath his arm; his shield then grave and great
His shoulders wore; and on his head his glorious helm he set,
Topp’d with a plume of horse’s hair, that horribly did dance,
And seem’d to threaten as he mov’d; at last he takes his lance,
Exceeding big, and full of weight, which he with ease could use.

In like sort, Sparta’s warlike king himself with arms indues.

Thus arm’d at either army both, they both stood bravely in,
Possessing both hosts with amaze, they came so chin to chin,
And, with such horrible aspécts, each other did salute.

A fair large field was made for them; where wraths, for hugeness mute,
And mutual, made them mutually at either shake their darts
Before they threw. Then Paris first with his long jav’lin parts;
It smote Atrides’ orby targe, but ran not through the brass,
For in it (arming well the shield) the head reflected was.

Then did the second combatant apply him to his spear,
Which ere he threw, he thus besought almighty Jupiter:
“O Jove! Vouchsafe me now revenge, and that my enemy,
For doing wrong so undeserv’d, may pay deservedly
The pains he forfeited; and let these hands inflict those pains,
By conqu’ring, ay, by conqu’ring dead, him on whom life complains;
That any now, or anyone of all the brood of men
To live hereafter, may with fear from all offence abstain,
Much more from all such foul offence to him that was his host,
And entertain’d him as the man whom he affected most.”

This said, he shook and threw his lance; which strook through Paris’ shield,
And, with the strength he gave to it, it made the curets yield,
His coat of mail, his breast, and all, and drove his entrails in,
In that low region where the guts in three small parts begin;
Yet he, in bowing of his breast, prvented sable death.

This taint he follow’d with his sword, drawn from a silver sheath,
Which lifting high, he strook his helm full where his plume did stand,
On which it piecemeal brake, and fell from his unhappy hand.

At which he sighing stood, and star’d upon the ample sky,
And said: “O Jove, there is no God giv’n more illiberally
To those that serve thee than thyself, why have I pray’d in vain?
I hop’d my hand should have reveng’d, the wrongs I still sustain,
On him that did them, and still dares their foul defence pursue;
And now my lance hath miss’d his end, my sword in shivers flew,
And he ’scapes all.” With this, again he rush’d upon his guest,
And caught him by the horse-hair plume, that dangled on his crest,
With thought to drag him to the Greeks; which he had surely done,
And so, besides the victory, had wondrous glory won,
(Because the needle-painted lace, with which his helm was tied
Beneath his chin, and so about his dainty throat implied,
Had strangled him;) but that, in time, the Cyprian seed of Jove
Did brake the string, with which was lin’d that which the needle wove,
And was the tough thong of a steer; and so the victor’s palm
Was, for so full a man-at-arms, only an empty helm.

That then he swung about his head, and cast among his friends,
Who scrambled, and took ’t up with shouts. Again then he intends
To force the life-blood of his foe, and ran on him amain,
With shaken jav’lin; when the Queen, that lovers loves, again [1]
Attended, and now ravish’d him from that encounter quite,
With ease, and wondrous suddenly; for she, a Goddess, might.

She hid him in a cloud of gold, and never made him known,
Till in his chamber, fresh and sweet, she gently set him down,
And went for Helen; whom she found in Scæa’s utmost height,
To which whole swarms of city dames had climb’d to see the sight.

To give her errand good success, she took on her the shape
Of beldame Græa, who was brought by Helen, in her rape,
From Lacedæmon, and had trust in all her secrets still,
Being old, and had (of all her maids) the main bent of her will,
And spun for her her finest wool. Like her, Love’s Empress came,
Pull’d Helen by the heav’nly veil, and softly said: “Madame,
My lord calls for you, you must needs make all your kind haste home;
He’s in your chamber, stays, and longs; sits by your bed; pray come,
’Tis richly made, and sweet; but he more sweet, and looks so clear,
So fresh, and movingly attir’d, that, seeing, you would swear
He came not from the dusky fight, but from a courtly dance,
Or would to dancing.” This she made a charm for dalliance;
Whose virtue Helen felt, and knew, by her so radiant eyes,
White neck, and most enticing breasts, the deified disguise.

At which amaz’d, she answer’d her: “Unhappy Deity!
Why lov’st thou still in these deceits to wrap my phantasy?
Or whither yet, of all the towns giv’n to their lust beside,
In Phrygia, or Mæonia, com’st thou to be my guide,
If there (of divers-languag’d men thou hast, as here in Troy,
Some other friend to be my shame; since here thy latest joy
By Menelaus now subdu’d, by him shall I be borne
Home to his court, and end my life in triumphs of his scorn?
And, to this end, would thy deceits my wanton life allure?
Hence, go thyself to Priam’s son and all the ways abjure
Of Gods, or godlike-minded dames, nor ever turn again
Thy earth-affecting feet to heav’n but for his sake sustain
Toils here; guard, grace him endlessly, till he requite thy grace
By giving thee my place with him; or take his servant’s place,
If, all dishonourable ways, your favours seek to serve
His never-pleas’d incontinence; I better will deserve,
Than serve his dotage now. What shame were it for me to feed
This lust in him; all honour’d dames would hate me for the deed!
He leaves a woman’s love so sham’d, and shows so base a mind,
To feel nor my shame nor his own; griefs of a greater kind
Wound me than such as can admit such kind delights so soon.”

The Goddess, angry that, past shame, her mere will was not done,
Replied: “Incense me not, you wretch, lest, once incens’d, I leave
Thy curs’d life to as strange a hate, as yet it may receive
A love from me; and lest I spread through both hosts such despite,
For those plagues they have felt for thee, that both abjure thee quite,
And setting thee in midst of both, turn all their wraths on thee,
And dart thee dead; that such a death may wreak thy wrong of me.”

This strook the fair dame with such fear, it took her speech away,
And, shadow’d in her snowy veil, she durst not but obey;
And yet, to shun the shame she fear’d, she vanish’d undescried
Of all the Trojan ladies there, for Venus was her guide.

Arriv’d at home, her women both fell to their work in haste;
When she, that was of all her sex the most divinely grac’d,
Ascended to a higher room, though much against her will,
Where lovely Alexander was, being led by Venus still.

The laughter-loving Dame discen’d her mov’d mind by her grace,
And, for her mirth sake, set a stool, full before Paris’ face,
Where she would needs have Helen sit; who, though she durst not choose
But sit, yet look’d away for all the Goddess’ pow’r could use,
And used her tongue too, and to chide whom Venus sooth’d so much,
And chid, too, in this bitter kind: “And was thy cowardice such,
So conquer’d, to be seen alive? O would to God, thy life
Had perish’d by his worthy hand, to whom I first was wife!
Before this, thou wouldst glorify thy valour and thy lance,
And, past my first love’s, boast them far. Go once more, and advance
Thy braves against his single pow’r; this foil might fall by chance.

Poor conquer’d man! ’Twas such a chance, as I would not advise
Thy valour should provoke again. Shun him, thou most unwise,
Lest next, thy spirit sent to hell, thy body be his prise.”

He answer’d: “Pray thee, woman, cease, to chide and grieve me thus.

Disgraces will not ever last. Look on their end. On us
Will other Gods, at other times, let fall the victor’s wreath,
As on him Pallas put it now. Shall our love sink beneath
The hate of fortune? In love’s fire, let all hates vanish. Come,
Love never so inflam’d my heart; no, not when, bringing home
Thy beauty’s so delicious prise, on Cranaë’s blest shore
I long’d for, and enjoy’d thee first.” With this he went before,
She after, to the odorous bed. While these to pleasure yield,
Perplex’d Atrides, savage-like, ran up and down the field,
And ev’ry thickest troop of Troy, and of their far-call’d aid,
Search’d for his foe, who could not be by any eye betray’d;
Nor out of friendship (out of doubt) did they conceal his sight,
All hated him so like their deaths, and ow’d him such despite.

At last thus spake the king of men: “Hear me, ye men of Troy,
Ye Dardans, and the rest, whose pow’rs you in their aids employ.

The conquest on my brother’s part, ye all discern is clear,
Do you then Argive Helena, with all her treasure here,
Restore to us, and pay the mulct, that by your vows is due,
Yield us an honour’d recompense, and, all that should accrue
To our posterities, confirm; that when you render it,
Our acts may here be memoris’d.” This all Greeks else thought fit.


[1] When the Queen, etc.—This place Virgil imitateth.

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