apart that day for sacrifice; there too shalt thou find the tender
maid, whom ye left in your house, for as yet no nuptial torch has
shed its light for her.
Oh! for wings to cleave the air in the track of Libyan cranes, whose
serried ranks leave far behind the wintry storm at the shrill summons
of some veteran leader, who raises his exultant cry as he wings his
way o'er plains that know no rain and yet bear fruitful increase.
Ye feathered birds with necks outstretched, comrades of the racing
clouds, on on! till ye reach the Pleiads in their central station
and Orion, lord of the night; and as ye settle on Eurotas' banks proclaim
the glad tidings that Menelaus hath sacked the city of Dardanus, and
will soon be home.
Ye sons of Tyndareus at length appear, speeding in your chariot through
the sky, denizens of heaven's courts beneath the radiant whirling
stars, guide this lady Helen safely o'er the azure main, across the
foam-flecked billows of the deep-blue sea, sending the mariners a
favouring gale from Zeus; and from your sister snatch the ill-repute
of wedding with a barbarian, even the punishment bequeathed to her
from that strife on Ida's mount, albeit she never went to the land
of Ilium, to the battlements of Phoebus. (The SECOND MESSENGER enters
in haste, as THEOCLYMENUS comes out of the palace.)
SECOND MESSENGER O king, at last have I found thee in the palace;
for new tidings of woe art thou soon to hear from me.
THEOCLYMENUS How now?
MESSENGER Make haste to woo a new wife; for Helen hath escaped.
THEOCLYMENUS Borne aloft on soaring wings, or treading still the
MESSENGER Menelaus has succeeded in bearing her hence; 'twas he that
brought the news of his own death.
THEOCLYMENUS O monstrous story! what ship conveyed her from these
shores? Thy tale is past belief.
MESSENGER The very ship thou didst thyself give the stranger; and
that thou mayest briefly know all, he is gone, taking thy sailors
THEOCLYMENUS How was it? I long to know, for I never thought that
a single arm could master all those sailors with whom thou wert despatched.
MESSENGER Soon as the daughter of Zeus had left this royal mansion
and come unto the sea, daintily picking her way, most craftily she
set to mourn her husband, though he was not dead but at her side.
Now when we reached thy docks well walled, we began to launch the
fastest of Sidonian ships, with her full complement of fifty rowers,
and each task in due succession followed; some set up the mast, others
ranged the oars with their blades ready, and stored the white sails
within the hold, and the rudder was let down astern and fastened securely.
While we were thus employed, those Hellenes, who had been fellow-voyagers
with Menelaus, were watching us, it seems, and they drew nigh the
beach, clad in the rags of shipwrecked men,-well built enough, but
squalid to look upon. And the son of Atreus, directly he saw them
approach, bespoke them, craftily introducing the reason for his mourning:
"Ye hapless mariners, how have ye come hither? your Achaean ship where
wrecked? Are ye here to help bury dead Atreus' son, whose missing
body this lady, daughter of Tyndareas, is honouring with a cenotaph?"
Then they with feigned tears proceeded to the ship, bearing aboard
the offerings to be thrown into the deep for Menelaus. Thereat were
we suspicious, and communed amongst ourselves regarding the number
of extra voyagers; but still we kept silence out of respect for thy
orders, for by intrusting the command of the vessel to the stranger
thou didst thus spoil all. Now the other victims gave no trouble,
and we easily put them aboard; only the bull refused to go forward
along the gangway, but rolled his eyes around and kept bellowing,
and, arching his back and glaring askance towards his horns, he would
not let us touch him. But Helen's lord cried out: "O! ye who laid