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Helen   


MESSENGER My message is: thy countless toils have all been toiled
in vain.
MENELAUS That is an old tale of woe to mourn! come, thy news?
MESSENGER Thy wife hath disappeared, soaring away into the embracing
air; in heaven she now is hidden, and as she left the hollowed cave
where we were guarding her, she hailed us thus, "Ye hapless Phrygians,
and all Achaea's race! for me upon Scamander's strand by Hera's arts
ye died from day to day, in the false belief that Helen was in the
hands of Paris. But I, since I have stayed my appointed time, and
kept the laws of fate, will now depart unto the sky that gave me birth;
but the unhappy daughter of Tyndareus, through no fault of hers, hath
borne an evil name without reason." (Catching Sight of HELEN) Daughter
of Leda, hail to thee, so thou art here after all! I was just announcing
thy departure to the hidden starry realms, little knowing that thou
couldst fly at will. I will not a second time let thee flout us thus,
for thou didst cause tiki lord and his comrades trouble all for naught
in Ilium.
MENELAUS This is even what she said; her words are proved true; O
longed-for day, how hath it restored thee to my arms!
HELEN O Menelaus, dearest husband, the time of sorrow has been long,
but joy is now ours at last. Ah, friends, what joy for me to hold
my husband in a fond embrace after many a weary cycle of yon blazing
lamp of day!
MENELAUS What joy for me to hold my wife! but with all that I would
ask about these years, I now know not where I may first begin.
HELEN O rapture! the very hair upon my head starts up for joy! my
tears run down! Around thy neck I fling my arms, dear husband, to
hug my joy to me.
MENELAUS O happy, happy sight! I have no fault to find; my wife,
he daughter of Zeus and Leda, is mine again, she whom her brothers
on their snow-white steeds, whilst torches blazed, made my happy bride,
but gods removed her from my home. Now is the deity guiding us to
a new destiny, happier than of yore.
HELEN Evil into good transformed hath brought us twain together at
last, dear husband; but late though it be, God grant me joy of my
good luck!
MENELAUS God grant thee joy! I join thee in the self-same prayer;
for of us twain one cannot suffer without the other.
HELEN No more, my friends, I mourn the past; no longer now I grieve.
My own dear husband is restored to me, whose coming from Troy I have
waited many a long year.
MENELAUS I to thee, and thou to me. And after these long, long years
I have at last discovered the fraud of the goddess. But these tears,
in gladness shed, are tears of thankfulness rather than of sorrow.
HELEN What can I say? What mortal heart could e'er have had such
hope? To my bosom I press thee, little as I ever thought to.
MENELAUS And I to mine press thee, who all men thought hadst gone
to Ida's town and the hapless towers of Ilium.
HELEN Ah me! ah me! that is a bitter subject to begin on.
MENELAUS Tell me, I adjure thee, how wert thou from my home conveyed?
HELEN Alas! alas! 'tis a bitter tale thou askest to hear.
MENELAUS Speak, for I must hear it; all that comes is Heaven's gift.
HELEN I loathe the story I am now to tell.
MENELAUS Tell it for all that. 'Tis sweet to hear of trouble past.
HELEN I ne'er set forth to be the young barbarian's bride, with oars
and wings of lawless love to speed me on my way.
MENELAUS What deity or fate tore thee from thy country, then?
HELEN Ah, my lord! 'twas Hermes, the son of Zeus, that brought and
placed me by the banks of Nile.
MENELAUS A miracle! Who sent thee thither? O monstrous story!
HELEN I wept, and still my eyes are wet with tears. 'Twas the wife
of Zeus that ruined me.
MENELAUS Hera? wherefore should she afflict us twain?
HELEN Woe is me for my awful fate! Woe for those founts and baths

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