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The Letter of Paris to Helen

Though I can think of many more things to write,
only welcome me into your bed in the silence of the night
and we can speak together, lying there face to face.
Perhaps you are ashamed and afraid to break the bonds of married love
and be false to a bed's purity that is yours by law.
But that is too simple, even crude; Helen,
can you still think beauty like yours can ever remain in chastity?
You must change, either your beauty or your firm resolution;
beauty and virtue are in contention.
Jove and Venus both have found their delight in the sins of stealth,
and such a secret sin made Jove your father.
If character is conveyed by seed, the child of Jove and Leda could not be chaste. But you can be chaste,
though not until you have safely come within my Trojan walls;
let your sin, I pray, be mine alone.
We will sin together now, but sin will be undone in the hour of our marriage.
My only prayer now is that the promise Venus once made to me will be true.
Your husband himself forces you to this by his actions,
though hardly by his words: that the guest may steal,
he has removed himself.
This was the only time he could find to visit his kingdom on Crete.
Surely he is a husband wonderfully shrewd.
'In my place, I commend to your care all of my affairs
and our guest from Ida,' he said, preparing to leave.
I swear to you, if you neglect the stated wishes of your master,
you do not care for your guest...

Helen page