THEOCLYMENUS "Righteous?" She who betrayed me?
SERVANT There is an honourable treachery, which 'tis right to commit.
THEOCLYMENUS By giving my bride to another?
SERVANT Only to those who had a better right.
THEOCLYMENUS Who hath any rights o'er mine?
SERVANT He that received her from her father.
THEOCLYMENUS Nay, but fortune gave her to me.
SERVANT And destiny took her away.
THEOCLYMENUS "Tis not for thee to decide my affairs.
SERVANT Only supposing mine be the better counsel.
THEOCLYMENUS So I am thy subject, not thy ruler.
SERVANT Aye, a subject bound to do the right, and eschew the wrong.
THEOCLYMENUS It seems thou art eager to be slain.
SERVANT Slay me; thy sister shalt thou never slay with my consent,
but me perchance; for to die for their masters is the fairest death
that noble slaves can find. (THE DIOSCURI appear from above.)
DIOSCURI Restrain those bursts of rage that hurry thee to undue lengths,
Theoclymenus, king of this country. We are the twin sons of Zeus that
call to thee by name, whom Leda bore one day, with Helen too who hath
fled from thy palace. For thou art wroth for a marriage never destined
for thee; nor is thy sister Theonoe, daughter of a Nereid goddess,
wronging thee because she honours the word of God and her father's
just behests. For it was ordained that Helen should abide within thy
halls up till the present time, but since Troy is razed to the ground
and she hath lent her name to the goddesses, no longer need she stay,
now must she be united in the self-same wedlock as before, and reach
her home and share it with her husband. Withhold then thy malignant
blade from thy sister, and believe that she herein is acting with
discretion. Long, long ago had we our sister saved, seeing that Zeus
has made us gods, but we were too weak for destiny as well as the
deities, who willed these things to be. This is my bidding to thee;
while to my sister I say, "Sail on with thy husband; and ye shall
have a prosperous breeze; for we, thy brethren twain, will course
along the deep and bring you safely to your fatherland. And when at
last thy goal is reached and thy life ended, thou shalt be famous
as a goddess, and with thy twin brethren share the drink-offering,
and like us receive gifts from men, for such is the will of Zeus.
Yea, and that spot where the son o Maia first appointed thee a home
when from Sparta he removed thee, after stealing an image of thee
from Heaven's mansions to prevent thy marriage with Paris, even the
isle that lies like a sentinel along the Attic coast, shall henceforth
be called by thy name amongst men, for that it welcomed thee when
stolen from thy home. Moreover, Heaven ordains that the wanderer Menelaus
shall find a home within an island of the blest; for to noble souls
hath the deity no dislike, albeit these oft suffer more than those
of no account."
THEOCLYMENUS Ye sons of Leda and of Zeus, I will forego my former
quarrel about your sister, nor no longer seek to slay mine own. Let
Helen to her home repair, if such is Heaven's pleasure. Ye know that
ye are sprung of the same stock as your sister, best of women, chastest
too; hail then for the true nobility of Helen's soul, a quality too
seldom found amongst her sex!
CHORUS (chanting) Many are the forms the heavenly will assumes;
and many a thing God brings to pass contrary to expectation: that
which was looked for is not accomplished, while Heaven finds out a
way for what we never hoped; e'en such has been the issue here.