Menelaus and Helen
Hot through Troy's ruin Menelaus broke
To Priam's palace, sword in hand, to sate
On that adulterous
whore a ten years' hate
And a king's honour. Through red death, and smoke,
And cries, and then by quieter
ways he strode,
Till the still innermost chamber fronted him.
He swung his sword, and crashed into the
Luxurious bower, flaming like a god.
High sat white Helen, lonely and serene.
He had not remembered that she was so fair,
And that her neck
curved down in such a way;
And he felt tired. He flung the sword away,
And kissed her feet, and knelt
before her there,
The perfect Knight before the perfect Queen.
So far the poet. How should he behold
That journey home, the long connubial years?
He does not tell
you how white Helen bears
Child on legitimate child, becomes a scold,
Haggard with virtue. Menelaus
Waxed garrulous, and sacked a hundred Troys
'Twixt noon and supper. And her golden voice
shrill as he grew deafer. And both were old.
Often he wonders why on earth he went
Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-
eyed and impotent;
Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried;
Paris slept on by Scamander side.