The Judgment of Paris

Near Priam’s throne, there is an upper room,
Where festal celebrations are in bloom,
And vistas by the hand of God are painted,
And Paris and his kin are reacquainted.

Now from this room, there is a gaping arch,
Where Paris and his kin begin the march,
With Paris and Anchises at the fore,
Discussing how the kingdom to restore.

Anchises (youngest brother of the king),
Was poignantly affected by the sting
Of Paris’s expulsion as a boy,
But now his presence brings him greater joy.

And as the two move forward from the crowd,
A silver light comes streaming from a cloud,
And there an angel shining overhead,
Speaks to them, and this is what she said:

“Wisely judge the things before your eyes,
False beauty taints the mind with subtle lies;
But beauty that is true is also rare,
It is a path to God, an answered prayer.”

And speaking thus, she eyed the Trojan lords,
And then the angel finished with these words:
“To love the beautiful is to defend,
The Kingdom of the Lord, which has no end.”

Then having spoke, she gave each man a gift,
To one, the grace of good from bad to sift,
And to the other, right from wrong to choose,
She gave to both and both would put to use.

And now, of heaven’s graces in pursuit,
They found three women torn by hot dispute:
Hera with Athena, Aphrodite,
Named Venus, daughter of the Lord Almighty.

And so it fell to Paris’ mortal eyes,
To find the one where beauty mostly lies,
And guided by his gift of right discernment,
Paris renders quickly solid judgment.

Now, Hera into apoplexy flies,
Discovered as a demon in disguise;
A false and jealous god, and dispossessed,
Who vows to wage her war against the West:

“Paris, hear me, I will strike your town,
Until the walls of Troy come tumbling down;
And you, Anchises, though your faithful son
Is still not yet conceived, he is undone!

“His Latin head will dangle on a spike,
Before my city, Carthage, he can strike!”
And they were puzzled by these words imparted,
Until the demon, finally, departed.

Now of the two remaining women there,
It was apparent Venus was most fair;
For only she an angel’s image bore,
Anchises there his love for Venus swore.

And even kind Minerva would proclaim,
That Venus’ fair and Beauty are the same;
And from this deed, to rightly apprehend,
Paris would be given Helen’s hand.

With Helen, Paris will their city strengthen
With virtue’s fire, and all their town enliven;
So Paris to his home returns again,
Anchises, though, with Venus would remain.


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