Some there are who say that the fairest thing seen on the black earth is an array of horsemen; some, men marching; some would say ships; but I say she whom one loves best is the loveliest. Light were the work to make this plain to all, since she, who surpassed in beauty all mortality, Helen, once forsaking her lordly husband, fled away to Troy—land across the water. Not the thought of child nor beloved parents was remembered, after the Queen of Cyprus won her at first sight. Since young brides have hearts that can be persuaded easily, light things, palpitant to passion as am I, remembering Anaktória who has gone from me and whose lovely walk and the shining pallor of her face I would rather see before my eyes than Lydia's chariots in all their glory armored for battle.
Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers, others call a fleet the most beautiful of sights the dark earth offers, but I say it's what- ever you love best. And it's easy to make this understood by everyone, for she who surpassed all human kind in beauty, Helen, abandoning her husband—that best of men—went sailing off to the shores of Troy and never spent a thought on her child or loving parents: when the goddess seduced her wits and left her to wander, she forgot them all, she could not remember anything but longing, and lightly straying aside, lost her way. But that reminds me now: Anactória, she's not here, and I'd rather see her lovely step, her sparkling glance and her face than gaze on all the troops in Lydia in their chariots and glittering armor.