Ah how fine it is, when a man is brought down,
to leave a son behind! Orestes took revenge,
he killed that cunning, murderous Aegisthus,
who’d killed his famous father.
The Zeus’s daughter Helen thought of something else.
Into the mixing-bowl from which they drank their wine
she slipped a drug, heart’s-ease, dissolving anger,
magic to make us all forget our pains . . .
No one who drank it deeply, mulled in wine,
could let a tear roll down his cheeks that day,
not even if his mother should die, his father die,
not even if right before his eyes some enemy brought down
a brother or darling son with a sharp bronze blade.
But about your destiny, Menelaus, dear to Zeus,
it’s not for you to die
and meet your fate in the stallion-land of Argos,
no, the deathless ones will sweep you off to the world’s end,
the Elysian Fields, where gold-haired Rhadamanthys waits,
where life glides on in immortal ease for mortal man.