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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

Euripides Bilingual Anthology
TO RECOGNISE OUR FRIENDS IS OF GOD

from Euripides' Helen, * Lines 1-67, 557-560, * Translated by E.P.Coleridge, * Greek Fonts


ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT
Page 2

My name is Helen, and I will now recount the sorrows I have suffered. To a hollow vale on Ida came three goddesses to Paris, for beauty's prize contending, Hera and Cypris, and the virgin child of Zeus, eager to secure his verdict on their loveliness. Now Cypris held out my beauty,-if aught so wretched deserves that name,-as a bride before the eyes of Paris, saying he should marry me; and so she won the day; wherefore the shepherd of Ida left his steading, and came to Sparta, thinking to win me for his bride. But Hera, indignant at not defeating the goddesses, brought to naught my marriage with Paris, and gave to Priam's princely son not Helen, but a phantom endowed with life, that she made in my image out of the breath of heaven; and Paris thought that I was his, although I never was,-an idle fancy! Moreover, the counsels of Zeus added further troubles unto these; for upon the land of Hellas and the hapless Phrygians he brought a war, that he might lighten mother-earth of her myriad hosts of men, and to the bravest of the sons of Hellas bring renown.

Ἑλένη δ΄ ἐκλήθην. ἃ δὲ πεπόνθαμεν κακὰ λέγοιμ΄ ἄν. ἦλθον τρεῖς θεαὶ κάλλους πέρι Ἰδαῖον ἐς κευθμῶν΄ Ἀλέξανδρον πάρα͵ ῞Ηρα Κύπρις τε διογενής τε παρθένος͵ μορφῆς θέλουσαι διαπεράνασθαι κρίσιν. τοὐμὸν δὲ κάλλος͵ εἰ καλὸν τὸ δυστυχές͵ Κύπρις προτείνασ΄ ὡς Ἀλέξανδρος γαμεῖ͵ νικᾶι. λιπὼν δὲ βούσταθμ΄ Ἰδαῖος Πάρις Σπάρτην ἀφίκεθ΄ ὡς ἐμὸν σχήσων λέχος. ῞Ηρα δὲ μεμφθεῖσ΄ οὕνεκ΄ οὐ νικᾶι θεὰς ἐξηνέμωσε τἄμ΄ Ἀλεξάνδρωι λέχη͵ δίδωσι δ΄ οὐκ ἔμ΄ ἀλλ΄ ὁμοιώσασ΄ ἐμοὶ εἴδωλον ἔμπνουν οὐρανοῦ ξυνθεῖσ΄ ἄπο Πριάμου τυράννου παιδί· καὶ δοκεῖ μ΄ ἔχειν͵ κενὴν δόκησιν͵ οὐκ ἔχων. τὰ δ΄ αὖ Διὸς βουλεύματ΄ ἄλλα τοῖσδε συμβαίνει κακοῖς· πόλεμον γὰρ εἰσήνεγκεν Ἑλλήνων χθονὶ καὶ Φρυξὶ δυστήνοισιν͵ ὡς ὄχλου βροτῶν πλήθους τε κουφίσειε μητέρα χθόνα γνωτόν τε θείη τὸν κράτιστον Ἑλλάδος.

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