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Proffers of boundless sway thus Juno made; And Venus thus, contemptuous smiling, said(But first her floating veil aloft she threw, And all her graces to the shepherd shew; Loosen'd her little loves' attractive chain, And tried each art to captivate the swain:)
Accept my boon, (thus spoke the smiling dame) Battles forget, and dread Bellona's name : Beauty's rich meed at Venus' hand receive, And Asia's wide domain to tyrants leave. The deathful fight, the din of arms, I fear; Can Venus' hand direct the martial spear? Women with beauty stoutest hearts assail, Beauty, their best defence, their strongest mail. Prefer domestic ease to martial strife, And to exploits of war a pleasing wife: To realms extensive Helen's bed prefer, And scoff at kingdoms, when opposed to her. Thy prize with envy Sparta shall survey, And Troy to Paris tune the bridal lay.'
The shepherd, who astonish'd stood and mute, Consign'd to Venus the Hesperian fruit, The claim of beauty, and the source of woes; For dire debates from this decision rose. Uplifting in her hand the glowing prize, She rallied thus the vanquish'd deities
To me, ye martial dames, the prize resign; Beauty I court, and beauty's prize is mine. Mother of mighty Mars and Vulcan too, Fame says, the choir of Graces sprung from Yet distant far, this day, your daughters stray'd, And no one Grace appear'd to lend you aid. Mars too declined to' assert his mother's right, Though oft his brandish'd sword decides the fight.
His boasted flames why could not Vulcan cast,
And at one blaze his mother's rivals blast?
Vain are thy triumphs, Pallas, vain thy scorn;
Thou, not in wedlock, nor of woman born: 229
Jove's teeming head the monstrous birth contains,
And the barb'd iron ripp'd thee from his brains.
Braced with the' unyielding plaits of ruthless mail,
She curses Cupid and the silken veil :
Connubial bliss and concord she abhors,
In discord glories, and delights in wars.
Yet know, virago, not in feats of arms
Triumph weak women, but in beauty's charms:
Nor men nor women are those mongrels base,
Like you, equivocal in form and face.'
In terms like these the laughter-loving queen Rallied her rivals, and increased their spleen, As, lifting high, she view'd with secret joy Her beauty's triumphs, and the bane of Troy. Inspired with love for her, the fair unknown, By beauty's conquering queen pronounced his Ill fated Paris to the forest's maze [own, Men versed in Pallas' various arts conveys. At Pericles' command they give the blow, And lay the glories of the forest low: He, artist famed, his frantic prince obey'd, 250 And burden'd ocean with the ships he made. From Ida's summits rush'd the daring swain, And to its bowery shades preferr'd the boisterous
The' extended beach with choice oblations stored,
And his protectress Venus oft implored;
The billowy deep his furrowing keel divides,
And in the Hellespont his vessel rides.
But prodigies announce approaching ill,
And with presages sad each bosom fill:
Upheaving waves heaven's starry concave shroud,
And round each Bear is cast a circling cloud. Clouds and big waves discharge their watery
Full on the deck the bursting torrent pours:
Their sturdy oars with unabating sweep
Far whitening agitate the angry deep.
Dardanus pass'd, and Ilion's fertile plains,
The mouth of Ismarus' lake the' adventurer gains.
Now, far remote, they view Pangræa's height:
Now Phillis' rising tomb attracts their sight,
And the dull round she nine times trod in vain,
To view the faithless wanderer again. 271
Hæmonia's meads remote, the Trojan spies
The' Achaian cities unexpected rise:
Phthia, with heroes far renown'd replete ;
Mycenæ, famed for many a spacious street:
Beside the meads, where Erymanthus glides,
Sparta aspires, that boasts her beauteous brides;
Sparta with joy the' expecting swain survey'd,
Laved by Eurotas, by Atrides sway'd:
Nor distant far, o'ershaded by a wood,
Beneath a mountain's brow Therapnæ stood.
Short was their voyage now; the bending oar
Was heard to lash the foamy surge no more;
The sailors, safe embosom'd in the bay,
Firm to the beach confine the corded stay.
In purifying waters plunged the swain,
And, rising thence, paced slowly o'er the plain:
For much he feared, lest his incautious tread
O'er his wash'd feet the spatter'd mire should
Or lest his hair, beneath his casque confined, 290 Should, if he ran, be ruffled with the wind,
The city's splendour Paris' eye detains,
The citizens' abodes, and glistering fanes :
Here Pallas' form, in mimic gold portray'd,
Here Hyacinthus' image he survey'd:
Him with delight the Amiclæans view'd,
Pursuing Phœbus, and by him pursued;
But, sore displeased at jealous Zephyr's spite,
They urged the stripling to unequal fight;
For Phoebus' efforts ineffectual proved,
To save from Zephyr's rage the youth he loved.
Earth with compassion heard Apollo's cries,
And from her bosom bade a flower arise,
His favourite's name, impress'd upon whose leaf,
Still, as the god contemplates, sooths his grief.
Now Priam's son before Atrides' dome
Exulting stood in beauty's purple bloom.
Not Semele, by Jove's caresses won,
On Jove bestow'd so beautiful a son
(Forgive me, Bacchus, seed of Jove supreme):
Such peerless graces round his person beam.. 311
Touch'd by fair Helen's hand, the bolts recede;
She to the spacious hall repair'd with speed:
Her form distinct the' unfolded portals shew;
She look'd, she ponder'd, and again withdrew.
Then on a radiant seat she bade him rest,
And, still insatiate, gazed upon her guest.
A while she likens him in graceful mien
To Love, attendant on the Cyprian queen.
But 'tis not Love, she recollects again;
Nor bow nor quiver deck this gallant swain.
'Tis Bacchus sure, the god of wine, she said;
For o'er his cheeks a rosy bloom is spread.
Daring at length her faltering voice to raise,
She thus express'd her wonder and her praise--
'Whence art thou, stranger? whence thy comely Thy country tell me, and thy natal place: [race? In thee I mark the majesty of kings:
But not from Greece thy lofty lineage springs;
Not sandy Pyle thine origin can show; 330
I know not thee, though Nestor's son I know.
Phthia, the nurse of heroes, train'd not thee;
For known are all the' acidæ to me,
Peleus, and Telamon renown'd in fight,
Patroclus' courtesy, Achilles' might.'
Inspired by love, thus spoke the gentle dame; And he, thus answering, fann'd the rising flame— 'If e'er recording fame, illustrious maid, 338 Hath to thine ear great Ilion's name convey'd, Ilion, whose walls on Phrygian frontiers stand, Rear'd by Apollo's and by Neptune's hand; Him if thou know'st, most opulent of kings, Who reigns o'er Ilion, and from Saturn springs; I to hereditary worth aspire;
The wealthy Priam is my honour'd sire.
My high descent from Dardanus I prove;
And ancient Dardanus descends from Jove.
The' immortals thus forsake the realms of light,
And mix with mortals in the social rite:
Neptune and Phœbus thus forsook the sphere,
Firm on its base my native Troy to rear.
But know, on three fair goddesses of late,
Sentence I pass'd, and closed the long debate.
On Venus, who with charms superior shone,
I lavish'd praises, and conferr'd my boon.
The Cyprian goddess, pleased with my decree,
Reserved this recompense, O queen! for me;
Some faithful fair, possess'd of heavenly charms,
Should, she protested, bless my longing arms;