Ο]ἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων
οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ᾽ ἐπὶ γᾶν μέλαιναν
ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον ἔγω δὲ κῆν᾽
ὄττω τὶσ ἔπαται. [transcription]
πά]γχυ δ᾽ εὔμαρεσ σύνετον πόησαι
πά]ντι τ[οῦ]τ᾽. ἀ γὰρ πόλυ περσκόπεισα
κά]λλοσ ἀνθρώπων Ἐλένα [τὸ]ν ἄνδρα
[κρίννεν ἄρ]ιστον, [transcription]
ὂσ τὸ πὰν] σέβασ τροΐα[σ ὄ]λεσσ[ε,
κωὐδὲ πα]ῖδοσ οὔδε [φίλ]ων το[κ]ήων
μᾶλλον] ἐμνάσθη, ἀ[λλὰ] παράγαγ᾽ αὔταν
πῆλε φίλει]σαν, [transcription]
Ὠροσ. εὔκ]αμπτον γαρ [ἀεὶ τὸ θῆλυ]
αἴ κέ] τισ κούφωσ τ[ὸ πάρον ν]οήσῃ.
οὐ]δὲ νῦν, Ἀνακτορί[α, τ]ὺ μέμναι
δὴ] παρειοῖσασ, [transcription]
τᾶ]σ κε βολλοίμαν ἔρατόν τε βᾶμα
κ]αμάρυγμα λάμπρον ἴδην προσώπω
η τὰ λύδων ἄρματα κἀν ὄπλοισι
εὶ μεν ἴδ]μεν οὔ δύνατον γένεσθαι
λῷστ᾽] ὀν᾽ ἀνθρώποισ, πεδέχην δ᾽ ἄραστηαι,
[τῶν πέδειχόν ἐστι βρότοισι λῷον]
[ἢ λελάθεσθαι.] [transcription]
With the emendations by Mr. J.M. Edmonds, the reprinting of which he has been kind enough to permit, a nearly literal rendering would be as follows:
Some say that the fairest thing upon the dark earth is a host of horsemen, and some say a host of foot soldiers, and others again a fleet of ships, but for me it is my beloved. And it is easy to make anyone understand this. When Helen saw the most beautiful of mortals, she chose for best that one, the destroyer of all the honour of Troy and though not much of child or dear parent, but was led astray by Love, to bestow her heart far off, for woman is ever easy to lead astray when she thinks of no account what is near and dear. Even so, Anactoria, you do not remember, it seems, when she is with you, one the gentle sound of whose footfall I would rather see than all the chariots and mail-clad footmen of Lydia. I know that in this world man cannot have the best; yet to pray for a part of what was once shared is better than to forget it...
A troop of horse, the serried ranks of marchers,
A noble fleet, some think these of all on earth
Most beautiful. For me naught else regarding
Is my beloved.
To understand this is for all most simple,
For thus gazing much on mortal perfectino
And knowing already what life could give her,
Him chose fair Helen,
Him the betrayer of Ilium's honour.
The recked she not of adored child or parent,
But yielded to love, and forced by her passion,
Dared Fate in exile.
Thus quickly is bent the will of that woman
To whom things near and dear seem to be nothing.
So mightest thou fail, My Anactoria,
If she were with you.
She whose gentle footfall and radiant face
Hold the power to charm more than a vision
Of chariots and the mail-clad battalions
Of Lydia's army.
So must we learn in world made as this one
Man can never attain his greatest desire,
[But must pray for what good fortune Fate holdeth,