Kings, too, have shown great anxiety about musical women; as Parmenion tells us in his Letter to Alexander, which he sent to that monarch after he had taken Damascus, and after he had become master of all the baggage of Darius. Accordingly, having enumerated all the things which he had taken, he writes as follows:—“I found three hundred and twenty-nine concubines of the king, all skilled in music; and forty-six men who were skilful in making garlands, and two hundred and seventy-seven confectioners, and twenty-nine boilers of pots, and thirteen cooks skilful in pre- paring milk, and seventeen artists who mixed drinks, and seventy slaves who strain wine, and forty preparers of perfumes.” And I say to you, O my companions, that there is no sight which has a greater tendency to gladden the eyes than the beauty of a woman. Accordingly Œneus, in the play of Chæremon the tragedian, speaking of some maidens whom he had seen, says, in the play called Œneus,—
And one did lie with garment well thrown back,
Showing her snow-white bosom to the moon:
Another, as she lightly danced, display'd
The fair proportions of her lefthand side,
Naked-a lovely picture for the air
To wanton with; and her complexion white
Strove with the darkening shades. Another bared
Her lovely arms and taper fingers all:
Another, with her robe high round her neck,
Conceal'd her bosom, but a rent below
Show'd all her shapely thighs. The Graces smiled,
And love, not without hope, did lead me on.
Then on th' inviting asphodel they fell,
Plucking the dark leaves of the violet flower,
And crocus, which, with purple petals rising,
Copies the golden rays of the early sun.
There, too, the Persian sweetly-smelling marjoram
Stretch'd out its neck along the laughing meadow.