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[860] Hail! you radiant flare of the sun, by whose fair light I now shall capture her that was my wife, Helen; for I am that Menelaus, who has toiled so hard, I and Achaea's army. I came to Troy, not so much as men suppose [865] for, the sake of a woman, but to punish the man who from my house stole my wife, traitor to my hospitality. But he, by the gods' will, has paid the penalty, ruined, and his country too, by the spear of Hellas. And I have come to bear that wretched woman away—wife I have no mind [870] to call her, though she once was mine—for now she is one among the other Trojan women who share these tents as captives. For they, the very men who who toiled to take her with the spear, have granted to me to slay her, [875] or, if I will, to spare and carry back with me to Argos. Now my purpose is not to put her to death in Troy, but to carry her to Hellas in my sea-borne ship, and then surrender her to death, a recompense to all whose friends were slain in Ilium. [880] Ho! my servants, enter the tent, and drag her out to me by her hair foul with murder; and when a favoring breeze shall blow, to Hellas will we convey her.

O you that do support the earth and rest thereupon, [885] whoever you are, a riddle past our knowledge! Zeus, owhether you are natural necessity, or man's intellect, to you I pray; for, though you tread over a noiseless path, all your dealings with mankind are guided by justice.

What is this? Strange the prayer you offer to the gods!

[890] I thank you, Menelaus, if you will slay that wife of yours. Yet shun the sight of her, lest she strike you with longing. For she ensnares the eyes of men, overthrows their towns, and burns their houses, so potent are her witcheries! Well I know her; so do you and those her victims too.

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