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Now when they were come to the beautiful palace of Alexander, the handmaids turned forthwith to their tasks, but she, the fair lady, went to the high-roofed chamber. And the goddess, laughter-loving Aphrodite, took for her a chair, [425] and set it before the face of Alexander. Thereon Helen sate her down, the daughter of Zeus that beareth the aegis, with eyes turned askance; and she chid her lord, and said:“Thou hast come back from the war; would thou hadst perished there, vanquished by a valiant man that was my former lord. [430] Verily it was thy boast aforetime that thou wast a better man than Menelaus, dear to Ares, in the might of thy hands and with thy spear. But go now, challenge Menelaus, dear to Ares, again to do battle with thee, man to man. But, nay, I of myself bid thee refrain, and not war amain against fair-haired Menelaus, [435] nor fight with him in thy folly, lest haply thou be vanquished anon by his spear.” Then Paris made answer, and spake to her, saying:“Chide not my heart, lady, with hard words of reviling. For this present hath Menelaus vanquished me with Athene's aid, [440] but another time shall I vanquish him; on our side too there be gods. But come, let us take our joy, couched together in love; for never yet hath desire so encompassed my soul—nay, not when at the first I snatched thee from lovely Lacedaemon and sailed with thee on my seafaring ships, [445] and on the isle of Cranae had dalliance with thee on the couch of love—as now I love thee, and sweet desire layeth hold of me.” He spake, and led the way to the couch, and with him followed his wife. Thus the twain were couched upon the corded bed; but the son of Atreus ranged through the throng like a wild beast, [450] if anywhere he might have sight of godlike Alexander. But none of the Trojans or their famed allies could then discover Alexander to Menelaus, dear to Ares. Not for love verily were they fain to hide him, could any have seen him, for he was hated of all even as black death. [455] Then the king of men, Agamemnon, spake among them, saying:“Hearken to me, ye Trojans and Dardanians and allies. Victory is now of a surety seen to rest with Menelaus, dear to Ares; do ye therefore give up Argive Helen and the treasure with her, and pay ye in requital such recompense as beseemeth, [460] even such as shall abide in the minds of men that are yet to be.” So spake the son of Atreus, and all the Achaeans shouted assent.

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