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.
In a dream I spoke with the Cyprus-born, And said to her, "Mother of beauty, mother of joy, Why hast thou given to men "This thing called love, like the ache of a wound In beauty's side, To burn and throb and be quelled for an hour And never wholly depart?" And the daughter of Cyprus said to me, "Child of the earth, Behold, all things are born and attain, But only as they desire,— "The sun that is strong, the gods that are wise, The loving heart, Deeds and knowledge and beauty and joy,— But before all else was desire."