So saying, he leapt upon Paris. By the crest on his helmet he seized him, and, swinging him round, he dragged him towards the Greek host. The embroidered strap beneath the helmet of Paris strangled him, and so he would have shamefully died, had not Aphrodite marked his plight. Swiftly did she burst the leather strap, and the helmet was left empty in the grasp of Menelaus.
Casting the empty helmet, with a swing, to his comrades, Menelaus sprang back, ready, with another spear, to slay his enemy.
But Aphrodite snatched Paris up, and in thick mist she hid him, and bore him away to his own home. Like a wild beast Menelaus strode through the host, searching for him. But no Trojan would have hidden him, for with a bitter hatred did the men of Troy hate Paris, most beautiful of mortal men.
Then said Agamemnon:
“Hearken to me, ye Trojans. Now hath Menelaus gained the victory. Give us back Helen, and all that is hers, and pay me the recompense that ye owe me for all the evil days that are gone.”
So spake he, and glad were the shouts of the Greeks as they heard the words of their king.
HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE
From where the battle still raged went Hector, son of Priam. At the oak-tree by the gates of Troy there came running to meet him wives and daughters of those who fought. For eagerly did they long for tidings of many a warrior who now lay dead on the field.
When he reached the beautiful, many-pillared palace of his father, his mother came to meet him.
His hand she took in hers, and gently spoke she to him.
“Art thou wearied that thou hast left the battle, Hector, my son?” she said. “Let me bring thee wine that thou may’st be refreshed and yet gain strength.”
“Bring me no wine, dear mother,” said Hector, “lest it take from me the strength and courage that I have. Rather go thou to the temple of Athene and offer her sacrifices, beseeching that she will have mercy on Troy and on the wives of the Trojans and their little children. So may she hold back Diomedes the destroyer. I go to Paris—would that he were dead!”
And the mother of Hector straightway, with other old women, the mothers of heroes, offered sacrifices and prayers to Athene. But Athene paid no heed.
To the palace of Paris, his mighty bronze spear in his hand, then strode Hector.
Paris, the golden-haired, sat in a room with Helen, idly handling his shining shield and breastplate and curved bow.
In bitter scorn spoke Hector to his brother.
“Our people die in battle for thy sake!” he cried, “while here thou sittest idle. Up then, ere the enemies that thou hast made for us burn our city to the ground!”
And Paris answered:
“Justly dost thou chide me, Hector. Even now hath Helen urged me to play the man and go back to battle. Only let me put on my armor, and soon will I overtake thee.”