Helen of Troy
Book 6. The Sack Of Troy. The Return Of Helen
The sack of Troy, and of how Menelaus would have let stone Helen, but Aphrodite saved
her, and made them at one again, and how they came home to Lacedaemon, and of their
translation to Elysium.
There came a day, when Trojan spies beheld
How, o'er the Argive leaguer, all the air
Was pure of smoke, no battle-din there swell'd,
Nor any clarion-call was sounding there!
Yea, of the serried ships the strand was bare,
And sea and shore were still, as long ago
When Ilios knew not Helen, and the fair
Sweet face that makes immortal all her woe.
So for a space the watchers on the wall
Were silent, wond'ring what these things might mean.
But, at the last, sent messengers to call
Priam, and all the elders, and the lean
Remnant of goodly chiefs, that once had been
The shield and stay of Ilios, and her joy,
Nor yet despair'd, but trusted Gods unseen,
And cast their spears, and shed their blood for Troy.
They came, the more part grey, grown early old,
In war and plague; but with them was the young
Coroebus, that but late had left the fold
And flocks of sheep Maeonian hills among,
And valiantly his lot with Priam flung,
For love of a lost cause and a fair face,
The eyes that once the God of Pytho sung,
That now look'd darkly to the slaughter-place.
Now while the elders kept their long debate,
Coroebus stole unheeded to his band,
And led a handful by a postern gate
Across the plain, across the barren land
Where once the happy vines were wont to stand,