HELEN Oh! why, poor man, whoe'er thou art, dost thou turn from me,
loathing me for those troubles Helen caused?
TEUCER I was wrong; I yielded to my anger more than I ought; my reason
was, the hate all Hellas bears to that daughter of Zeus. Pardon me,
lady, for the words I uttered.
HELEN Who art thou? whence comest thou to visit this land?
TEUCER One of those hapless Achaeans am I, lady.
HELEN No wonder then that thou dost bate Helen. But say, who art
thou? Whence comest? By what name am I to call thee?
TEUCER My name is Teucer; my sire was Telamon, and Salamis is the
land that nurtured me.
HELEN Then why art thou visiting these meadows by the Nile?
TEUCER A wanderer I, an exile from my native land.
HELEN Thine must be a piteous lot; who from thy country drives thee
TEUCER My father Telamon. Couldst find a nearer and a dearer?
HELEN But why? This case is surely fraught with woe.
TEUCER The death of Ajax my brother at Troy was my ruin.
HELEN How so? surely 'twas not thy sword that stole his life away?
TEUCER He threw himself on his own blade and died.
HELEN Was he mad? for who with sense endowed would bring himself
TEUCER Dost thou know aught of Achilles. son of Peleus?
HELEN He came, so I have heard, to woo Helen once.
TEUCER When he died, he left his arms for his comrades to contest.
HELEN Well, if he did, what harm herein to Ajax?
TEUCER When another won these arms, to himself he put an end.
HELEN Art thou then a sufferer by woes that he inflicted?
TEUCER Yes, because I did not join him in his death.
HELEN So thou camest, sir stranger, to Ilium's famous town?
TEUCER Aye, and, after helping to sack it, myself did learn what
HELEN Is Troy already fired and utterly by flames consumed?
TEUCER Yea, so that not so much as one vestige of her walls is now
to be seen.
HELEN Woe is thee, poor Helen! thou art the cause of Phrygia's ruin.
TEUCER And of Achaea's too. Ah! 'tis a tale of grievous misery!
HELEN How long is it since the city was sacked?
TEUCER Nigh seven fruitful seasons have come and gone.
HELEN And how much longer did ye abide in Troy?
TEUCER Many a weary month, till through ten full years the moon had
held her course.
HELEN And did ye capture that Spartan dame?
TEUCER Menelaus caught her by the hair, and was for dragging her
HELEN Didst thou thyself behold that unhappy one? or art thou speaking
TEUCER As plain as I now see thee, I then saw her.
HELEN Consider whether ye were but indulging an idle fancy sent by
TEUCER Bethink thee of some other topic; no more of her!
HELEN Are you so sure this fancy was reliable?
TEUCER With these eyes I saw her face to face, if so be I see thee
HELEN Hath Menelaus reached his home by this time with his wife?
TEUCER No; he is neither in Argos, nor yet by the streams of Eurotas.
HELEN Ah me! here is evil news for those to whom thou art telling
TEUCER 'Tis said he disappeared with his wife.
HELEN Did not all the Argives make the passage together?
TEUCER Yes: but a tempest scattered them in every direction.
HELEN In what quarter of the broad ocean?
TEUCER They were crossing the Aegean in mid channel.
HELEN And after that, doth no man know of Menelaus' arrival?