Sacred Texts  Classics  Lucian  Fowler Index  Index  Previous  Next 



Menippus. Hermes

Me. Where are all the beauties, Hermes? Show me round; I am a new-comer.

Her. I am busy, Menippus. But look over there to your right, and you will see Hyacinth, Narcissus, Nireus, Achilles, Tyro, Helen, Leda,--all the beauties of old.

Me. I can only see bones, and bare skulls; most of them are exactly alike.

Her. Those bones, of which you seem to think so lightly, have been the theme of admiring poets.

Me. Well, but show me Helen; I shall never be able to make her out by myself.

Her. This skull is Helen.

Me. And for this a thousand ships carried warriors from every

p. 138

part of Greece; Greeks and barbarians were slain, and cities made desolate.

Her. Ah, Menippus, you never saw the living Helen; or you would have said with Homer,

Well might they suffer grievous years of toil
Who strove for such a prize.

[paragraph continues] We look at withered flowers, whose dye is gone from them, and what can we call them but unlovely things? Yet in the hour of their bloom these unlovely things were things of beauty.

Me. Strange, that the Greeks could not realize what it was for which they laboured; how short-lived, how soon to fade.

Her. I have no time for moralizing. Choose your spot, where you will, and lie down. I must go to fetch new dead.


Next: XIX