The Fall of Troy (book 7 - 14)
Struck down Eurypylus, and how the shafts
Of Philoctetes dealt to Paris death.
Then the song named all heroes who passed in
To ambush in the Horse of Guile, and hymned
The fall of god-descended Priam's burg;
The feast he sang last, and peace after war;
Then many another, as they listed, sang.
But when above those feasters midnight's stars
Hung, ceased the Danaans from the feast and wine,
And turned to sleep's forgetfulness of care,
For that with yesterday's war-travail all
Were wearied; wherefore they, who fain all night
Had revelled, needs must cease: how loth soe'er,
Sleep drew them thence; here, there, soft slumbered they.
But in his tent Menelaus lovingly
With bright-haired Helen spake; for on their eyes
Sleep had not fallen yet. The Cyprian Queen
Brooded above their souls, that olden love
Might be renewed, and heart-ache chased away.
Helen first brake the silence, and she said:
"O Menelaus, be not wroth with me!
Not of my will I left thy roof, thy bed,
But Alexander and the sons of Troy
Came upon me, and snatched away, when thou
Wast far thence. Oftentimes did I essay
By the death-noose to perish wretchedly,
Or by the bitter sword; but still they stayed
Mine hand, and still spake comfortable words
To salve my grief for thee and my sweet child.
For her sake, for the sake of olden love,
And for thine own sake, I beseech thee now,
Forget thy stern displeasure against thy wife."
Answered her Menelaus wise of wit:
"No more remember past griefs: seal them up
Hid in thine heart. Let all be locked within
The dim dark mansion of forgetfulness.
What profits it to call ill deeds to mind?"
Glad was she then: fear flitted from her heart,
And came sweet hope that her lord's wrath was dead.
She cast her arms around him, and their eyes
With tears were brimming as they made sweet moan;
And side by side they laid them, and their hearts
Thrilled with remembrance of old spousal joy.
And as a vine and ivy entwine their stems
Each around other, that no might of wind
Avails to sever them, so clung these twain
Twined in the passionate embrace of love.
When came on these too sorrow-drowning sleep,
Even then above his son's head rose and stood
Godlike Achilles' mighty shade, in form
As when he lived, the Trojans' bane, the joy
Of Greeks, and kissed his neck and flashing eyes
Lovingly, and spake comfortable words:
"All hail, my son! Vex not thine heart with grief
For thy dead sire; for with the Blessed Gods
Now at the feast I sit. Refrain thy soul
From sorrow, and plant my strength within thy mind.
Be foremost of the Argives ever; yield