Obrazy na stronie

And all the gods to Thetis' nuptials came,
Sister of Amphitrite, honour'd dame.
Earth-shaking Neptune left his azure main,
And Jove supreme forsook his starry plain: 30
From Helicon, with odorous shrubs o'erspread,
The Muse's tuneful choir Apollo led:
Him Juno follow'd, wife of sovereign Jove;
With harmony the smiling queen of Love
Hasten'd to join the gods of Chiron's festive

Cupid's full quiver o'er her shoulder thrown,
Persuasion follow'd with a bridal crown.
Minerva, though to nuptial rites a foe,
Came; but no helmet nodded o'er her brow.
Diana to the Centaur's grove resorts,
And for one day forgets her rural sports.
His loose locks shaking as the zephyrs play'
Not long behind convivial Bacchus stay'd.
War's god, as when to Vulcan's doom he sped,
No spear his hand sustain'd, no casque his head,
Such now, without his helmet or his lance,
Smiling he look'd, and led the bridal dance.
But from these blissful scenes was Discord warn'd;
Peleus rejected her, and Chiron scorn'd.

As, by the gadfly stung, the heifer strays 50 Far from its fields, through every devious maze; Thus, stung with envy, Discord roam'd, nor ceased Her baneful arts to interrupt the feast..

Oft from her flinty bed she rush'd amain, Then stood, then sunk into her seat again: With desperate hand she tore her snaky head, And with a serpent-scourge she lash'd her flinty To dart the forky lightning, and command [bed. From hell's abyss the Titans' impious band,


Jove from his throne with rebel arm to wrest, 60
Were projects form'd within the fury's breast.
But, though incensed, she dreaded Vulcan's ire,
Who forms Jove's bolt, and checks the raging fire,
Her purpose changing, she with rattling arms
Dissension meditates and dire alarms;
If haply clattering shields can strike dismay,
And from the nuptials drive the gods away.
But Mars she dreaded, oft in arms array'd,
And this new project with complacence weigh'd.
The burnish'd apples, rich with golden rind, 70
Growth of Hesperian gardens, struck her mind;
Resolved contention's baneful seeds to sow,
She tore the blushing apple from its bough,
Grasp'd the dire source whence future battles


And midst the gods the golden mischief flung.
The stately wife of Jove with wondering eyes
Beheld, and wish'd to grasp the golden prize.
Beauty's fair queen to catch the apple strove;
For 'tis the prize of beauty and of love.
Jove mark'd the contest, and, to crush debate, 80
Thus counsel'd Hermes, who beside him sat-
Paris, perchance, from Priam sprung, you


His herds he grazes on mount Ida's brow,
And oft conducts them to the dewy meads,
Through which his streams the Phrygian Xanthus

Show him yon prize, and urge him to declare Which of these goddesses he deems most fair: In whom, of all, his matchless skill can trace The close arch'd eyebrow and the roundest face; On such a face, where bends the circling bow, The golden apple, beauty's prize, bestow.'


Thus spoke the sire: the willing son obey'd, And to their judge the deities convey❜d. Each anxious fair her charms to heighten tries, And dart new lustre from her sparkling eyes. Her veil aside insidious Venus flung; Loose from the clasp her fragrant ringlets hung; She then in golden cauls each curl compress'd, Summon'd her little Loves, and thus address'dBehold, my sons, the hour of trial near! 100 Embrace, my loves, and bid me banish fear. This day's decision will enhance my fame, Crown beauty's queen, or sink in endless shame: Doubting I stand, to whom the swain may say, "Bear thou, most fair, the golden prize away." Nursed was each Grace by Juno's fostering hand, And crowns and sceptres shift at her command: Minerva dictates in the' embattled field, And heroes tremble when she shakes her shield: Of all the goddesses that rule above, 110 Far most defenceless is the queen of Love; Without or spear or shield must Venus live; And crowns and sceptres she has none to give. Yet why despair? Though with no falchion

[ocr errors]


Love's silken chain surrounds my slender waist:
My bow this cestus, this the dart I fling,
And with this cestus I infix my sting;
My sting infix'd renews the lover's pain,
And virgins languish, but revive again.'
Thus to her Loves the rosy-finger'd queen
Told all her fears, and vented all her spleen :
To every word they lent a willing ear, [cheer.
Round their fond mother clung, and strove to


And now they reach Mount Ida's grassy steep, Where youthful Paris feeds his father's sheep:


What time he tends them in the plains below,
Through which the waters of Anaurus flow,
Apart he counts his cattle's numerous stock,
Apart he numbers all his fleecy flock:
A wild goat's skin, around his shoulders cast,
Loose fell, and flow'd below his girded waist;
A pastoral staff, which swains delight to hold,
His roving herds protected and control'd.
Accoutred thus, and warbling o'er his song,
He to his pipe melodious paced along :
Unnoted oft, while he renews his lay,
His flocks desert him, and his oxen stray.
Swift to his bower retires the tuneful man,
To pipe the praise of Hermes and of Pan.
Sunk is each animal in dead repose;
No dog around him barks, no heifer lows:
Echo alone rebounds through Ida's hills,
And all the air with sounds imperfect fills.
The cattle, sunk upon their verdant bed,
Close by their piping lord repose their head:
Beneath the shades which sheltering thickets



When Paris' eye approaching Hermes kenn'd,
Back he retires, with sudden fear impress'd,
And shuns the presence of the heavenly guest;
To the thick shrubs his tuneful reed conveys, 150
And all unfinish'd leaves his warbled lays.
Thus winged Hermes to the shepherd said,
Who mark'd the god's approach with silent

Dismiss thy fears, nor with thy flocks abide; A mighty contest Paris must decide. Haste, Judge announced! for whose decision Three lovely females, of celestial state:


Haste, and the triumph of that face declare
Which sweetest looks, and fairest, midst the fair:
Let her, whose form thy critic eye prefers, 160
Claim beauty's prize, and be this apple hers.'
Thus Hermes spoke; the ready swain obey'd,
And to decide the mighty cause essay'd.
With keenest look he mark'd the heavenly dames;
Their eyes, quick flashing as the lightning's flames,
Their snowy necks, their garments fringed with
And rich embroidery wrought in every fold; [gold,
Their gait he mark'd, as gracefully they moved,
And round their feet his eye sagacious roved.
But, ere the smiling swain his thoughts express'd,
Grasping his hand, him Pallas thus address'd-

Regard not, Phrygian youth, the wife of Jove,
Nor Venus heed, the queen of wedded love: 173
But martial prowess if thy wisdom prize,
Know, I possess it; praise me to the skies.
Thee, fame reports, puissant states obey,
And Troy's proud city owns thy sovereign sway;
Her suffering sons thy conquering arm shall shield,
And stern Bellona shall to Paris yield.
Comply; her succour will Minerva lend, 180
Teach thee war's science, and in fight defend.'
Thus Pallas strove to influence the swain,
Whose favour Juno thus attempts to gain—
Shouldst thou with beauty's prize my charms


All Asia's realms shall own thee for their lord.
Say, what from battles but contention springs?
Such contests shun; for what are wars to kings?
But him, whose hands the rod of empire sway,
Cowards revere, and conquerors obey.
Minerva's friends are oft Bellona's slaves, 190
And the fiend slaughters whom the goddess saves.'

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »