Now marshall’d all beneath their several chiefs, With deafening shouts, and with the clang of arms, The host of Troy advanced. Such clang is heard Along the skies, when from incessant showers Escaping, and from winter’s cold, the cranes 5 Take wing, and over Ocean speed away; Wo to the land of dwarfs! prepared they fly For slaughter of the small Pygmaean race. Not so the Greeks; they breathing valor came, But silent all, and all with faithful hearts 10 On succor mutual to the last, resolved. As when the south wind wraps the mountain top In mist the shepherd’s dread, but to the thief Than night itself more welcome, and the eye Is bounded in its ken to a stone’s cast, 15 Such from beneath their footsteps dun and dense Uprose the dust, for swift they cross the plain.
When, host to host opposed, full nigh they stood,
Then Alexander in the Trojan van Advanced was seen, all beauteous as a God; 20 His leopard’s skin, his falchion and his bow Hung from his shoulder; bright with heads of brass He shook two spears, and challenged to the fight The bravest Argives there, defying all. Him, striding haughtily his host before 25 When Menelaus saw, such joy he felt As hunger-pinch’d the lion feels, by chance Conducted to some carcase huge, wild goat, Or antler’d stag; huntsmen and baying hounds Disturb not him, he gorges in their sight. 30 So Menelaus at the view rejoiced Of lovely Alexander, for he hoped His punishment at hand. At once, all armed, Down from his chariot to the ground he leap’d
When godlike Paris him in front beheld 35
Conspicuous, his heart smote him, and his fate Avoiding, far within the lines he shrank. As one, who in some woodland height descrying A serpent huge, with sudden start recoils, His limbs shake under him; with cautious step 40 He slow retires; fear blanches cold his cheeks; So beauteous Alexander at the sight Of Atreus’ son dishearten’d sore, the ranks Of haughty Trojans enter’d deep again: Him Hector eyed, and thus rebuked severe. 45
Curst Paris! Fair deceiver! Woman-mad!
I would to all in heaven that thou hadst died Unborn, at least unmated! happier far Than here to have incurr’d this public shame! Well may the Grecians taunt, and laughing loud, 50 Applaud the champion, slow indeed to fight And pusillanimous, but wondrous fair. Wast thou as timid, tell me, when with those Thy loved companions in that famed exploit, Thou didst consort with strangers, and convey 55 From distant lands a warrior’s beauteous bride To be thy father’s and his people’s curse, Joy to our foes, but to thyself reproach? Behold her husband! Darest thou not to face The warlike prince? Now learn how brave a Chief 60 Thou hast defrauded of his blooming spouse.