Helen of Troy
Book 1. The Coming Of Paris
Of the coming of Paris to the house of Menelaus, King of Lacedaemon, and of the tale
Paris told concerning his past life.
All day within the palace of the King
In Lacedaemon, was there revelry,
Since Menelaus with the dawn did spring
Forth from his carven couch, and, climbing high
The tower of outlook, gazed along the dry
White road that runs to Pylos through the plain,
And mark'd thin clouds of dust against the sky,
And gleaming bronze, and robes of purple stain.
Then cried he to his serving men, and all
Obey'd him, and their labour did not spare,
And women set out tables through the hall,
Light polish'd tables, with the linen fair.
And water from the well did others bear,
And the good house-wife busily brought forth
Meats from her store, and stinted not the rare
Wine from Ismarian vineyards of the North.
The men drave up a heifer from the field
For sacrifice, and sheath'd her horns with gold;
And strong Boethous the axe did wield
And smote her; on the fruitful earth she roll'd,
And they her limbs divided; fold on fold
They laid the fat, and cast upon the fire
The barley grain. Such rites were wrought of old
When all was order'd as the Gods desire.
And now the chariots came beneath the trees
Hard by the palace portals, in the shade,
And Menelaus knew King Diocles
Of Pherae, sprung of an unhappy maid
Whom the great Elian River God betray'd
In the still watches of a summer night,