Menelaus and the Trojan Horse
And the red-haired Menelaus answered Helen:
“There was a tale, my lady. So well told.
Now then, I have studied, in my time,
the plans and minds of great ones by the score,
and I have traveled over a good part of the world
but never once have I laid eyes on a man like him—
what a heart that fearless Odysseus had inside him!
What a piece of work the hero dared and carried off
in the wooden horse where all our best encamped,
our champions armed with bloody death for Troy . . .
when along you came, Helen—roused, no doubt,
by a dark power bent on giving Troy some glory,
and dashing Prince Deiphobus squired your every step.
Three times you sauntered round our hollow ambush,
feeling, stroking its flanks,
challenging all our fighters, calling each by name—
yours was the voice of all our long-lost wives!
And Diomedes and I, crouched tight in the midst
with great Odysseus, hearing you singing out,
were both keen to spring up and sally forth
or give you a sudden answer from inside,
but Odysseus damped our ardor, reined us back.
then all the rest of the troops kept stock-still,
all but Anticlus. He was hot to salute you now
but Odysseus clamped his great hands on the man’s mouth
and shut it, brutally—yes, he saved us all,
holding on grim-set till Pallas Athena
lured you off at last.”
Menelaus recounting to Helen and Telemachus an incident regarding the Trojan Horse
from Homer’s The Odyssey, Book 4
translated by Robert Fagles