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THE FIGHT BETWEEN PARIS AND MENELAUS
 To meet the great Greek host came the men
of Troy. With loud shouting and clamour
they came, noisy as the flocks of cranes that
fly to far-off seas before the coming of winter
and sudden rain.
But in silence marched the Greeks,
shoulder to shoulder, their hearts full of
Like the mist that rolls from the crest of
the mountains until no man can see in front
of him further than the cast of a stone, so
did the dust rise in clouds under the tread
of the warriors' feet as they marched across
Front to front did the two armies stand at
last, and from the Trojan ranks strode forth
 Paris the godlike, he who robbed Menelaus
of her who was to him most dear.
From the shoulders of Paris swung a
panther's skin. He bore a curved bow and
sword, and, brandishing two bronze-headed
spears, he challenged all the chieftains of
the Greek host to fight him, man to man, in
As a hungry lion rejoices to see a great-horned
stag coming to be his prey, even so
did Menelaus rejoice when he saw Paris, the
golden-haired and blue-eyed, stride proudly
Straightway, in his armour, did Menelaus
leap from his chariot to the ground.
But when Paris saw him to whom he
had done so sore a wrong, his heart was
As a man who, in a mountain glen,
suddenly sees a deadly snake and shrinks
away from it with shaking limbs, even so
did Paris shrink back amongst his comrades.
Scornfully did Hector his brother behold
'Fair in face thou art!' said Hector, 'but
 shamed I am by thee! I ween these long-haired
Greeks make sport of us because we
have for champion one whose face and form
are beautiful, but in whose heart is neither
strength nor courage. Art thou a coward?
and yet thou daredst to sail across the sea
and steal from her husband the fair woman
who hath brought us so much harm. Thou
shalt see what sort of warrior is he whose
lovely wife thou hast taken. Thy harp and
thy golden locks and fair face, and all the
graces given to thee by Aphrodite, shall
count for little when thou liest in the dust!
Cowards must we Trojans be, else thou
hadst been stoned to death ere this, for all
the evil thou hast wrought.'
Then answered Paris:
'No word hast thou said that I do not
deserve, brave Hector. Yet scorn not the
gifts of golden Aphrodite, for by his own
desire can no man win the love and beauty
that the goddess gives. But let me now
do battle with Menelaus. Make the Trojans
and the men of Greece sit down, while
Menelaus and I fight for Helen. Let him
 who is conqueror have her and all that is
hers for his own, and let the others take an
oath of friendship so that the Greeks may
depart in peace to their own land, and in
peace the Trojans dwell in Troy.'
Greatly did Hector rejoice at his brother's
word. His spear grasped by the middle,
he went through the Trojan ranks and bid
the warriors hold back.
But as he went, the Greeks shot arrows
at brave Hector and cast stones.
'Hold! hold! ye Greeks,' called Agamemnon.
'Hector of the glancing helm hath
somewhat to say to us.'
In silence, then, the two armies stood,
while Hector told them the words of Paris
When they had heard him, Menelaus spoke.
'Many ills have ye endured,' he said, 'for
my sake and because of the sins of Paris.
Yet now, I think, the end of this long war
hath come. Let us fight, then, and death
and fate shall decide which of us shall die.
Let us offer sacrifice now to Zeus, and
call hither Priam, King of Troy. I fear for
 the faith of his sons, Paris and Hector, but
Priam is an old man and will not break
Then were the Greeks and the Trojans
glad. They came down from their chariots,
and took off their arms, and laid them on
the ground, while heralds went to tell Priam
and to fetch lambs and a ram for the sacrifice.
While they went, Hera sent to Troy Iris,
her messenger, in the guise of the fairest
daughter of Priam.
To the hall where Helen sat came lovely
Iris. And there she found Helen, fairest of
women, her white arms swiftly moving back
and forward as she wove a great purple
web of double wool, and wrought thereon
pictures of many battles of the Greeks and.
the men of Troy.
'Come hither, dear lady,' said Iris, 'and
see a wondrous thing. For they that so
fiercely fought with each other, now sit in
silence. The battle is stayed; they lean
upon their shields, and their tall spears are
thrust in the earth by their sides. But for
thee are Menelaus and Paris now going to
 fight, and thou shalt be the wife of the
So spake lovely Iris, and into the sleeping
heart of Helen there came remembrance,
and a hungry longing for her old home, and
for Menelaus, and her father and mother,
and for little Hermione, her child.
The tears rolled down her cheeks, but
quickly she hid her face with a veil of fair
linen, and hastened out, with her two
hand-maidens, to the place where the two armies
At the Skaian gates sat Priam and other
As Helen, in her fair white robes, drew
near, the old men marvelled at her loveliness.
'Small wonder is it,' said they, 'that
Trojans and Greeks should suffer hardships
and lay down their lives for one so beautiful.
Yet well would it be for her to sail away
upon the Greek ships rather than stay here
to bring trouble upon us now, and upon our
Then Priam called to Helen:
 'Come hither, dear child, and sit beside
me, that thou may'st see the man who once
was thy husband, and thy kinsmen, and thy
friends. No blame do I give to thee for all
our woes, but only to the gods who have
chosen thee to be the cause of all this blood-shed.'
Then did Priam ask her the names of the
mighty heroes who stood by their spears
in the Grecian ranks, and Helen, making
answer to him, said:
'Dear father of Paris, my lord, would that
I had died ere I left my own land and my
little child, and all those that I loved, and
followed thy son hither. Agamemnon, a
goodly king and a mighty spearsman, is the
Greek warrior whose name thou dost ask.
Brother of him who was my husband is
he. Ah! shameless me, who did leave mine
Of Odysseus also, and of many another
warrior of great stature and brave looks, did
Priam make inquiry. And Helen told him
all she knew, while tears of longing stood in
 'My two brethren, Castor, tamer of horses,
and Polydeuces, the skilful boxer, I do not
see,' she said ; 'mayhap they have not crossed
the sea.' For she knew not that her two
brothers lay dead in her own beautiful land.
Then was the sacrifice to Zeus offered,
and the vows made between Agamemnon
and Priam, King of Troy.
When the sacrifice and vows were
accomplished, Priam in haste mounted his chariot
and drove away.
'Verily will I return to windy Ilios,' said
the old man, 'for I cannot bear to watch
the fight between Menelaus and my own
dear son. But only Zeus and the gods
know which one of them is to fall.'
Then Hector and Odysseus marked out a
space for the fight, and into a bronze helmet
Hector placed two pebbles and shook them
in the helmet, looking behind him. And
the pebble of Paris leapt out the first, so
that to him fell the lot to cast first his spear
Then did Paris arm himself. Greaves of
beauteous fashioning he placed upon his
 legs, and fastened them with silver ankle-clasps.
Over his shoulders he put his silver-studded
sword of bronze and his great shield.
On his head he placed a helmet with nodding
crest of horse-hair, and in his hand he
grasped his strong spear. In like manner
did Menelaus arm himself.
One moment did they stand face to face,
wrath and hatred in their hearts, their spears
gripped firm in their hands.
Then did Paris hurl his spear and smite
the shield of Menelaus. But the shield was
strong and the spear could not pierce it.
His hand lifted up for the cast, Menelaus
looked upwards and called to Zeus.
'Grant me revenge, great Zeus!' he cried.
On him that hath done me grievous wrong,
grant me vengeance, so that all men
hereafter may shudder to wrong one who hath
treated him as his honoured guest.'
Then hurled he his mighty spear. Through
the bright shield it went, and through the
shining breastplate, tearing the tunic of
Paris on his thigh. But Paris swerved
aside, and so escaped death.
 Then Menelaus drew his silver-studded
sword and drove it crashing down upon the
helmet of Paris. But in four pieces was the
sword shattered, and fell from the hand of
'Surely art thou the most cruel of all the
gods, Zeus!' angrily he cried. 'My spear
is cast in vain, and my sword shattered, and
my vengeance is still to come!'
So saying, he leapt upon Paris. By the
crest on his helmet he seized him, and,
swinging him round, he dragged him towards
the Greek host. The embroidered strap
beneath the helmet of Paris strangled him, and
so he would have shamefully died, had not
Aphrodite marked his plight. Swiftly did
she burst the leather strap, and the helmet
was left empty in the grasp of Menelaus.
Casting the empty helmet, with a swing,
to his comrades, Menelaus sprang back,
ready, with another spear, to slay his enemy.
But Aphrodite snatched Paris up, and in
thick mist she hid him, and bore him away
to his own home. Like a wild beast
Menelaus strode through the host, searching
 for him. But no Trojan would have hidden
him, for with a bitter hatred did the men of
Troy hate Paris, most beautiful of mortal
Then said Agamemnon:
'Hearken tome, ye Trojans. Now hath
Menelaus gained the victory. Give us back
Helen, and all that is hers, and pay me the
recompense that ye owe me for all the evil
days that are gone.'
So spake he, and glad were the shouts of
the Greeks as they heard the words of their