Now sing the poet, sing of epic lays,
When jealous gods set ancient Troy ablaze,
For this I will take up my little pen,
To clarify the ways of God to men.
When Priam sat upon his lordly throne,
And Hecuba, his Queen, conceived a son,
The ancient dragon eyed the Trojan nation,
And bristled at humanity’s perfection.
Before the wrathful plagues of Egypt started,
And faithful Moses had the Red Sea parted,
The Jews were trodden under Ramses’ horses,
Overworked but lacking all resources.
But far beyond the rocky shores of Crete,
Where heaven and the blue Aegean meet,
And coral caves embrace the ocean swell,
The Trojan race was doing rather well.
But far away, in Goshen, by the Nile,
Where silent swims the sullen crocodile,
God’s chosen race lived under tooth and claw,
Enslaved to make more bricks with little straw.
Now, Israel required so much relief,
That even Satan questioned the belief,
That God Almighty had a promise sworn,
To Israel a Savior would be born.
And so the devil cast his eyes on Troy,
His war against the Savior to deploy;
The King of Kings more likely to appear,
In buttressed Troy, than Goshen filled with fear.
And now, as Hecuba with fever teams,
The devil masks as Hera, in her dreams;
And through delirium the Queen is hurled,
And births a flaming torch into the world.
This vision, from the Father of all Lies,
With utter terror filled the woman’s eyes,
And as she labored on, her life was spent,
But God would save her child, so innocent.
But on the day that Priam’s son was born,
The hierophant, Aesacus, came to warn:
“Most stately King, unless this child is killed,
Troy will crumble, as the gods have willed.”
But noble Priam, King of Troy, appeals,
And, at the feet of Jupiter, he kneels,
And, cradling the child, he leaves distraught,
And deep into the woods the child is brought.
Upon a stony block the child is placed,
Then, by an angel, Priam’s heir is graced,
And Venus shines, descending through the air
And Paris is entrusted to her care.
As Paris gains intelligence and strength,
Troy returns to clemency, at length,
And nature is substantial to the child,
As Paris grows in leisure in the wild.
The lovely angel, with celestial power,
Constructs a nursery that very hour,
To shield the infant from the sun’s duress,
And sooth his spirit with her cool caress.
When restful slumber meets his wakeful eye,
She sings the child an ancient lullaby,
With lovely sounds, she fills the forest air,
And Paris drifts to sleep without a care.
His dreaming mind is quickly borne away,
By flying nymphs, while Troy stands leagues away,
And Priam mourns, upon his lonely chair,
His empty heart, brimmed over with despair.
Apollo darts around his earthly run,
Bringing years to Priam’s only son,
Raised with care by God’s celestial maid,
Who wakes the lord and this is what she said:
Most sorrowed son, your leisure is your own,
For, while you rest, your father toils alone,
With widowed brow and failing fortunes, thence
Troy’s household virtues long for your defense.
Despite his wisdom, lesser faults abound,
By tortures from his self-inflicted wound,
But Providence is rich in sacred charms,
And Priam waits for you with open arms.
Thus having spoke, the angel darts away,
And leads her morning star across the sky,
And, guided by a lyre, in coral strains,
Paris wanders to the open plains.
And, here, there sang a shepherdess in youth,
A canto, from her sweet Dardanian mouth,
Of wild, white bulls of old, Aegean lore,
Crashing on the rocky Trojan shore:
The white-whipped breakers on the briny blue,
Crash upon the shore and rumble through
The massive gates of Troy and walls around
Till not one stone left standing may be found…
I’ve never heard,” says Priam’s noble heir,
“So dark an omen, for a tune so fair,
Nor have I seen these bulls upon the land,
Destroying all things in the king’s command.”
Then says the girl, “Indeed my song is rare,
And dark in portent, nothing can compare;
But Troy is wracked in fear, and tempest-tossed,
Since Paris, Priam’s infant heir, was lost.”
And so, as if the prescient peace to prove,
Paris, from a plateau high above,
Shows the lass the farthest eastern reach,
And to the west, the white Aegean beach.
And all, in all directions, dwells in calm,
A brighter stillness from a soothing balm;
But, now, above the far palmetto groves,
A cloud is rising, caused by rushing hooves.
Now, with a cord, he ropes the raging lead,
And breaks him, like a strong and fiery steed,
Just as a speaker calms an angry crowd,
Disarming the vexations of the proud.
Then, through the gates of Troy, the oxen plough,
With the piping shepherdess in tow,
And this is how the Prince returned to Troy,
From whence he was once banished, as a boy.
Now through the narrow streets they ride along,
And as the rustic minstrel pipes her song,
Many children join in the parade,
And tapestries, upon the ground, are laid.
And some could see, from shimmers in her hair,
Reflected through the morning atmosphere,
The piping shepherdess was part divine,
So children came to follow in a line.
Now, all the citizenry flocks around,
With instruments to lift the piping sound,
And, up towards the castle, they ascend,
As if parading with some long lost friend.
And when the pageant meets the kingly lord,
It’s clear to him his son has been restored,
His broken heart is made complete and whole,
An empty cup, with new wine teeming full.