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the traitor who has so abused his hospitality, before he poises his long lance carefully and hurls it at his enemy. Eight through shield, breastplate, and linen vest goes the good Greek weapon; but Paris leans back to avoid it, and it only grazes him. Menelaus rushes forward, sword in hand, and smites a downright blow on Paris' crest. But the Trojan helmet proves of better quality than the shield, and the Greek blade flies in shivers. Maddened by his double failure, he rashes on his enemy, and seizing him by the horse-hair crest, drags him off by main strength towards the ranks of the Greeks. But in this extremity the goddess of love comes to the rescue of her favourite. At her touch the tough bullhide strap of Paris' head-piece, which was all hut choking him, breaks, and leaves the empty helmet in the hands of Menelaus. He hurls it amongst his comrades in disappointment and disgust, and rushes once more in pursuit of Paris. But Venus has wrapt him in a mist, and carried him off; and while the son of Atreus rushes like a baffled lion up and down the lists in quest of him, while even the Trojans are aiding in the search, and no man among them would have hidden him—for "they all hated him like black death"— he is safely laid by the goddess in Helen's chamber. The scene in which she receives him is, like all the rest of her story, a beautiful contradiction. Her first greeting is bitter enough. Either her heart has been indeed with Menelaus in the fight—or at least she would have had her present husband come back from the field, dead or alive, in some more honourable fashion—
"Back from the battle?' Would thou there hadst died
My husband! Vainly didst thou boast erewhila
Brave words! but still, as of old, the fatal spells of Venus are upon her, and Paris' misadventure in the lists is all too soon condoned.
THE BROKEN TRUCE.
The Greeks claim the victory—reasonably, since the Trojan champion has fled the lists; but again the intrigues of the court of Olympus interfere to interrupt the course of mortal justice. The gods of Homer are not the gods of Epicurus' creed, who, as our English poet sings, "lie beside theirnectar, careless of mankind." They are anything but careless, so far as the affairs of mortals are concerned; but their interference is regulated by the most selfish motives. Men are the puppets whom they make to dance for their gratification— the counters "with which they play their Olympian game, and try to defeat and checkmate each other. Even the respect which they pay to the mortal who is regular in the matter of offering sacrifices is entirely selfish—it seems to be merely the sensual appetite for fat roasts and rich savours. They are commonly influenced by jealousy, pique, revenge, or favouritism; and where they do punish the wrongdoer, it is far more often from a sense of lese-majestie — a slight offered to some cause which is under their special protection—than from any moral indignation at wrong itself. When the scene opens in the fourth book of
the poem, it seems to pass at once from serious melodrama to broad comedy; and but that these dwellers in Olympus really rule the fortunes of the tale, it would be scarcely possible not to believe that the poet so intended it.
We are introduced again, then, to Olympus; and, as before, to a quarrel among the Immortals. It is Jove this time who is the aggressor. He has seen the result of the combat, and taunts Juno with the double patronage extended to the Greeks by herself and Minerva —which, after all, has failed—while Venus, more active and energetic, has rescued her favourite. However, he awards the victory to Menelaus; and suggests, as a solution to all disputes and difficulties, that now Helen should be given up, the Greeks go home, and so the fate of Troy be averted. At the thought of her enemy thus escaping, the queen of the gods cannot contain her rage. Jupiter gives way. He loves Troy much, but domestic.peace and quietness more. He warns his queen, however, that if he now consents to give up Troy to her insatiable revenge, she shall not stand in his way hereafter, in case some community of mortals who may be her especial favourites shall incur his royal displeasure. And Juno, with that utter indifference to human suffering, or human justice, which characterises the deities of Olympus, makes answer in these words :—
"Three cities there are dearest to my heart;
In furtherance of this strange compact, Minerva is once more sent down to the plains of Troy. Her mission now is to incite the Trojans to break the truce by some overt act, and thus not only renew the war, but put themselves plainly in the wrong. Clothing herself in the human shape of the son of old Antenor, she mingles in the Trojan ranks, and addresses herself to the cunning bowman Pandarus. His character in the Iliad has nothing in common with the "Sir Pandarus of Troy," whose name, as the base uncle of Cressida, has passed into an unwholesome by-word, and whom Lydgate, Chaucer, and, lastly, Shakespeare, borrowed from the medieval romancers. Here he is but an archer of known skill, somewhat given to display, with his bow of polished ibex-horns tipped with gold, and vain of his reputation, whom the goddess easily tempts to end the long war at once by a timely shot, and win immortal renown by taking off Menelaus. With a brief prayer and a vow of a hecatomb to Apollo, the god of the bow—who is supposed to be as ready as the rest of the immortals to abet an act of treachery on such conditions—Pandarus ensconces himself behind the shields of his comrades, and choosing out his arrow with the same care which we read of in the great exploits of more modern bowmen, he discharges it pointblank at the unsuspecting Menelaus. The shaft flies true enough, but Minerva is at hand to avert the actual peril from the Greek hero: she turns the arrow aside—