Ah me! Burn me with my husband! He’s dead – and I will share his flame!
Though he loved me not, I will share his pyre – though his love was an empty name!
As I live – know me, Oenone. In the moments before I die
Hear my woeful tail, of my love betrayed. Why did Fate give me such misery?
He was young, and a handsome shepherd – he was born a Trojan Prince
But exiled from Troy for a prophecy which had warned Troy to send him hence:
It foretold that the deeds of Paris would bring Troy to an evil doom
Troy would cease to be – vanish like the mist that dissolves in the light of the moon.
When I first saw Paris I loved him – and he too, at first, loved me.
In the mountain glades we two played and sang: we were married, and both happy
For awhile – but he wished his birthright: to be royal Trojan prince.
But a nymph cannot leave her home (or she dies) – so I could not with him thence.
Then he spoke me in loving whispers, and he promised me to return
But his fickle heart soon me all forgot: though the truth took me time to learn.
The years passed – and for long I waited. I had bore him a lovely boy.
While our son grew up – dearest Corythus – Paris never came back from Troy.
So my hate grew towards all Trojans. Should I holpen the Trojan men?
All as false as Paris: liars who desert those who love and marry them!
Corythus grew up into manhood, and he joined the Grecian side
For he shared my hate of his father false, who had stolen another’s bride.
Of the Trojan war I cared not – hearing now and then some news
For while Troy still stood, I wished it were destroyed: because Paris did me refuse.
So by mountain glade and streamlet, by the wind and the pale moonlight
I lived fair and free while the armies fought – and each slaughtered each outright.
One fair day while below the war raged, I was much surprised to see
A lone man in pain, leaning on a crutch, to my woods coming seeking me.
It was not Corythus’ voice who called me. I knew not the man who did call
Yet he stumbled on, ’till he sprawled and fell. Then he lay still where he did fall.
I came out and approached him slowly – for I had the healing gift
I would heal all animals that I found: and for men I could choose to make shift.
Then he turned his head, groaned faintly: and I froze, and with horror stood!
It was Paris! Here! Foul adulterer! He had trespassed to my wood!
Paris lay there, bleeding weakly – he was rent with fatal wound
Arrow in one eye, and through hand and foot: this I saw – and I nearly swooned.
All the love I had felt once for him, flooded back. So did all the hate.
So ‘twixt hate and love, I stood wavering: a divided path of Fate.
Paris cried out to me for healing: which the hate in me denied.
But the love in me cried out to forgive! To restore him to my side!
Guess my fierce internal struggle, inside woman’s Oread heart!
My revenge won out. “False adulterer – get thee gone, from here depart!”
How I raged! Him I scorned and spited. “Go and seek your new wife’s bed!
Mighty Trojan prince! Let your doctors heal – if they can. Go to them instead!”
With my heart walled up like granite, I then left him there to die.
What a gall! Asking help from deserted wife? Never! No! Why indeed should I?
His wounds left a bloody trail down the mount. ‘Twas an easy track
For some shepherd swains followed up the hill – and they brought Paris’ body back.
For they recognised the princeling, who had fought in the war below.
They built for up for him a high funeral pyre – so to Hades his shade might go.
They assembled and lit his pyre – in secret I watched all this time.
Then my stone heart cracked – and a cataract of hid love burst these bonds of mine.
And I shrieked my dolorous sorrow, and I wailed like a new-wed maid
My Paris was gone! Gone to Hades – gone! Nothing now! Insubstantial shade!
And my life in my eyes became nothing – so I quickly ran to his pyre
Laid down on his breast, sought eternal rest – fed my body to flame and fire.
For I loved him! Although I hated – it ’twas love! For what is our hate
But our love inversed? Always love comes first!
So be warned from Oenone’s fate!