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Helen of Troy

Book 3. The Flight Of Helen
The flight of Helen and Paris from Lacedaemon, and of what things befell them in their
voyaging, and how they came to Troy.
I.
The grey Dawn's daughter, rosy Morn awoke
In old Tithonus' arms, and suddenly
Let harness her swift steeds beneath the yoke,
And drave her shining chariot through the sky.
Then men might see the flocks of Thunder fly,
All gold and rose, the azure pastures through,
What time the lark was carolling on high
Above the gardens drench'd with rainy dew.
II.
But Aphrodite sent a slumber deep
On all in the King's palace, young and old,
And one by one the women fell asleep,
Their lamentable tales left half untold,
Before the dawn, when folk wax weak and cold,
But Helen waken'd with the shining morn,
Forgetting quite her sorrows manifold,
And light of heart as was the day new-born.
III.
She had no memory of unhappy things,
She knew not of the evil days to come,
Forgotten were her ancient wanderings,
And as Lethaean waters wholly numb
The sense of spirits in Elysium,
That no remembrance may their bliss alloy,
Even so the rumour of her days was dumb,
And all her heart was ready for new joy.
IV.
The young day knows not of an elder dawn,
Joys of old noons, old sorrows of the night,
And so from Helen was the past withdrawn,
Her lord, her child, her home forgotten quite,
Lost in the marvel of a new delight:
She was as one who knows he shall not die,
When earthly colours melt into the bright
Pure splendour of his immortality.
 
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