something wild about this fellow's looks, who is eager to o'ertake
MENELAUS Ho there! thou that with fearful effort seekest to reach
the basement of the tomb and the pillars of burnt sacrifice, stay
thee. Wherefore art flying? Ah! with what speechless amaze the sight
of thee affects me!
HELEN O friends! I am being ill-treated. This man is keeping me from
the tomb, and is eager to take and give me to his master, whose wooing
I was seeking to avoid.
MENELAUS No robber I, or minister of evil.
HELEN At any rate the garb wherein thou art clad is unseemly.
MENELAUS Stay thy hasty flight; put fear aside.
HELEN I do so, now that I have reached this spot.
MENELAUS Who art thou? whom do I behold in thee, lady?
HELEN Nay, who art thou? The self-same reason prompts us both.
MENELAUS never saw a closer resemblance.
HELEN Great God! Yea, for to recognize our friends is of God.
MENELAUS Art thou from Hellas, or a native of this land?
HELEN From Hellas; but I would learn thy story too.
MENELAUS Lady, in thee I see a wondrous likeness to Helen.
HELEN And I in thee to Menelaus; I know not what to say.
MENELAUS Well, thou hast recognized aright a man of many sorrows.
HELEN Hail! to thy wife's arms restored at last!
MENELAUS Wife indeed! Lay not a finger on my robe.
HELEN The wife that Tyndareus, my father, gave thee.
MENELAUS O Hecate, giver of light, send thy visions favourably!
HELEN In me thou beholdest no spectre of the night, attendant on
the queen of phantoms.
MENELAUS Nor yet am I in my single person the husband of two wives.
HELEN What other woman calls thee lord?
MENELAUS The inmate of yonder cave, whom I from Troy convey.
HELEN Thou hast none other wife but me.
MENELAUS Can it be my mind is wandering, my sight failing?
HELEN Dost not believe thou seest in me thy wife?
MENELAUS Thy form resembles her, but the real truth robs me of this
HELEN Observe me well; what need hast thou of clearer proof?
MENELAUS Thou art like her; that will I never deny.
HELEN Who then shall teach thee, unless it be thine own eyes?
MENELAUS Herein is my dilemma; I have another wife.
HELEN To Troy I never went; that was a phantom.
MENELAUS Pray, who fashions living bodies?
HELEN The air, whence thou hast a wife of heaven's workmanship.
MENELAUS What god's handiwork? Strange is the tale thou tellest.
HELEN Hera made it as a substitute, to keep me from Paris.
MENELAUS How then couldst thou have been here, and in Troy, at the
HELEN The name may be in many a place at once, though not the body.
MENELAUS Unhand me! the sorrows I brought with me suffice.
HELEN What! wilt leave me, and take that phantom bride away?
MENELAUS For thy likeness unto Helen, fare thee well.
HELEN Ruined! in thee I found my lord only to lose thee.
MENELAUS The greatness of my troubles at Troy convinces me; thou
HELEN Ah, woe is me! who was ever more unfortunate than I? Those
whom I love best are leaving me, nor shall I ever reach Hellas, my
own dear native land. (The FIRST MESSENGER enters in haste.)
MESSENGER At last I find thee, Menelaus, after an anxious search,
not till I have evandered through the length and breadth of this foreign
strand; I am sent by thy comrades, whom thou didst leave behind.
MENELAUS What news? surely you are not being spoiled by the barbarians?
MESSENGER A miracle hath happened; my words are too weak for the
MENELAUS Speak; for judging by this haste, thou hast stirring news.