When to Sparta there came Paris, with eyes blue as the sea, and hair that gleamed like gold on his purple robe, gallant and brave, and more beautiful than any mortal man, glad was the welcome that he had from Menelaus.
And when Paris gazed on Helen’s face, he knew that in all the world there was no woman half so fair as the wife of Menelaus.
Then did Aphrodite cast her magic upon Helen.
No longer did she love her husband, nor did she remember
Hermione, her own dear child.
When Paris spoke to her words of love, and begged her to flee with him, and to be his wife, she knew only that she loved Paris more than all else. Gladly she went with him, and in his red-prowed ship together they sailed across the green waves to Troyland, where Mount Ida showed her snowy crown high above the forests.
An angry man was Menelaus when he found that Paris had stolen from him the fair wife who was to him as his own heart.
To his elder brother Agamemnon, overlord of all the Greeks, he went and told his grievous tale.
And from far and wide did the Greek hosts gather, until a hundred thousand men and eleven hundred fourscore and six ships were ready to cross the seas to Troyland.
Many were the heroes who sailed away from Greece to punish Paris and his kin, and to bring back fair Helen to her own land.
Few there were who came home, for ten long years of woe and of spilling of blood came to the men of Greece and of Troy from the fatal beauty of Helen the queen.
That night both gods and men slept long; only Zeus, king of the gods, lay wakeful, pondering in his heart how best he might do honor to Achilles. “I shall send a Dream to beguile Agamemnon,” at length he resolved.
Then did he call to a Dream, for by Dreams the gods sent their messages to mortal men.
“Go now, thou evil Dream,” said Zeus, “go to where Agamemnon sleeps in his tent near to his fleet ships, and tell him every word as I shall tell it thee. Bid him call to arms with speed his warriors, for now he shall take the strong city of Troy.”
To the tent of Agamemnon sped the Dream. Taking the form of the old warrior who had striven to make peace between Agamemnon and Achilles, the Dream stooped over the sleeping warrior, and thus to him it spoke:
“Sleepest thou, Agamemnon? Ill fits it for the overlord of so mighty a host to sleep all through the night. From Zeus I come, and to thee he sends this message: ’Call to arms with speed thy warriors, Agamemnon, for now shalt thou take the strong city of Troy.’”
Off then sped the Dream, winging its way like a strip of gray mist aloft to Mount Olympus.
Then Agamemnon awoke from sleep, and the voice of the Dream still rang in his ears.
Speedily he arose from his bed, donned his fair tunic, cast around him his great cloak, and bound his sandals on his feet. Then over his shoulder he cast his silver-studded sword, and with the scepter of his house, token of his overlordship, in his hand, he went down to where the Greek ships lay, and called a council together.