The Judgment Of Paris
Far in the depth of Ida's inmost grove,
A scene for love and solitude design'd;
Where flowery woodbines wild, by Nature wove,
Form'd the lone bower, the royal swain reclined.
All up the craggy cliffs, that tower'd to heaven,
Green waved the murmuring pines on every side;
Save where, fair opening to the beam of even,
A dale sloped gradual to the valley wide.
Echo'd the vale with many a cheerful note;
The lowing of the herds resounding long,
The shrilling pipe, and mellow horn remote,
And social clamours of the festive throng.
For now, low hovering o'er the western main,
Where amber clouds begirt his dazzling throne,
The Sun with ruddier verdure deck'd the plain;
And lakes and streams and spires triumphal shone.
And many a band of ardent youths were seen;
Some into rapture fired by glory's charms,
Or hurl'd the thundering car along the green,
Or march'd embattled on in glittering arms.
Others more mild, in happy leisure gay,
The darkening forest's lonely gloom explore,
Or by Scamander's flowery margin stray,
Or the blue Hellespont's resounding shore.
But chief the eye to Ilion's glories turn'd,
That gleam'd along the extended champaign far,
And bulwarks in terrific pomp adorn'd,
Where Peace sat smiling at the frowns of War.
Rich in the spoils of many a subject clime,
In pride luxurious blazed the imperial dome;
Tower'd 'mid the encircling grove the fane sublime,
And dread memorials mark'd the hero's tomb
Who from the black and bloody cavern led
The savage stern, and soothed his boisterous breast;
Who spoke, and Science rear'd her radiant head,
And brighten'd o'er the long benighted waste:
Or, greatly daring in his country's cause,
Whose heaven-taught soul the awful plan design'd,
Whence Power stood trembling at the voice of laws;
Whence soar'd on Freedom's wing the ethereal mind.
But not the pomp that royalty displays,
Nor all the imperial pride of lofty Troy,
Nor Virtue's triumph of immortal praise
Could rouse the langour of the lingering boy.
Abandon'd all to soft Enone's charms,
He to oblivion doom'd the listless day;
Inglorious lull'd in Love's dissolving arms,
While flutes lascivious breathed the enfeebling lay.
To trim the ringlets of his scented hair:
To aim, insidious, Love's bewitching glance;
Or cull fresh garlands for the gaudy fair,
Or wanton loose in the voluptuous dance:
These were his arts; these won Enone's love,
Nor sought his fetter'd soul a nobler aim.
Ah, why should beauty's smile those arts approve
Which taint with infamy the lover's flame?
Now laid at large beside a murmuring spring,
Melting he listen'd to the vernal song,
And Echo, listening, waved her airy wing,
While the deep winding dales the lays prolong;
When, slowly floating down the azure skies,
A crimson cloud flash'd on his startled sight,
Whose skirts gay-sparkling with unnumber'd dyes
Launch'd the long billowy trails of flickery light.
That instant, hush'd was all the vocal grove,
Hush'd was the gale, and every ruder sound;
And strains aërial, warbling far above,
Rung in the ear a magic peal profound.
Near and more near the swimming radiance roll'd;
Along the mountains stream the lingering fires;
Sublime the groves of Ida blaze with gold,
And all the Heaven resounds with louder lyres.
The trumpet breathed a note: and all in air,
The glories vanish'd from the dazzled eye;
And three ethereal forms, divinely fair,
Down the steep glade were seen advancing nigh.
The flowering glade fell level where they moved;
O'erarching high the clustering roses hung;
And gales from heaven on balmy pinion roved,
And hill and dale with gratulation rung.
The FIRST with slow and stately step drew near,
Fix'd was her lofty eye, erect her mien:
Sublime in grace, in majesty severe,
She look'd and moved a goddess and a queen.
Her robe along the gale profusely stream'd,
Light lean'd the sceptre on her bending arm;
And round her brow a starry circlet gleam'd,
Heightening the pride of each commanding charm.
Milder the NEXT came on with artless grace,
And on a javelin's quivering length reclined:
To exalt her mien she bade no splendour blaze,
Nor pomp of vesture fluctuate on the wind.
Serene, though awful, on her brow the light
Of heavenly wisdom shone; nor roved her eyes.
Save to the shadowy cliffs majestic height,
Or the blue concave of the involving skies.
Keen were her eyes to search the inmost soul:
Yet virtue triumph'd in their beams benign,
And impious Pride oft felt their dread control,
When in fierce lightning flash'd the wrath divine1.
With awe and wonder gazed the adoring swain;
His kindling cheeks great Virtue's power confess'd;
But soon 'twas o'er; for Virtue prompts in vain,
When Pleasure's influence numbs the nerveless breast.
And now advanced the QUEEN of melting JOY,
Smiling supreme in unresisted charms:
Ah, then, what transports fired the trembling boy!
How throbb'd his sickening frame with fierce alarms!
Her eyes in liquid light luxurious swim,
And languish with unutterable love.
Heaven's warm bloom glows along each brightening limb,
Where fluttering bland the veil's thin mantlings rove.
Quick, blushing as abash'd, she half withdrew:
One hand a bough of flowering myrtle waved.
One graceful spread, where, scarce conceal'd from view,
Soft through the parting robe her bosom heaved.
'Offspring of Jove supreme! beloved of Heaven!
Attend.' Thus spoke the Empress of the Skies.
'For know, to thee, high-fated prince, 'tis given
Through the bright realms of Fame sublime to rise,
Beyond man's boldest hope; if nor the wiles
Of Pallas triumph o'er the ennobling thought;
Nor Pleasure lure with artificial smiles
To quaff the poison of her luscious draught.
When Juno's charms the prize of beauty claim,
Shall aught on earth, shall aught in heaven contend?
Whom Juno calls to high triumphant fame,
Shall he to meaner sway inglorious bend?
Yet lingering comfortless in lonesome wild,
Where Echo sleeps 'mid cavern'd vales profound,
The pride of Troy, Dominion's darling child,
Pines while the slow hour stalks in sullen round.
Hear thou, of Heaven unconscious! From the blaze
Of glory, stream'd from Jove's eternal throne,
Thy soul, O mortal, caught the inspiring rays
That to a god exalt Earth's raptured son.
Hence the bold wish, on boundless pinion borne,
That fires, alarms, impels the maddening soul;
The hero's eye, hence, kindling into scorn,
Blasts the proud menace, and defies control.
But, unimproved, Heaven's noblest boons are vain,
No sun with plenty crowns the uncultured vale:
Where green lakes languish on the silent plain,
Death rides the billows of the western gale.
Deep in yon mountain's womb, where the dark cave
Howls to the torrent's everlasting roar,
Does the rich gem its flashy radiance wave?
Or flames with steady ray the imperial ore?
Toil deck'd with glittering domes yon champaign wide,
And wakes yon grove-embosom'd lawns to joy,
And rends the rough ore from the mountain's side,
Spangling with starry pomp the thrones of Troy.
Fly these soft scenes. Even now, with playful art,
Love wreathes the flowery ways with fatal snare;
And nurse the ethereal fire that warms thy heart,
That fire ethereal lives but by thy care.
Lo! hovering near on dark and dampy wing,
Sloth with stern patience waits the hour assign'd,
From her chill plume the deadly dews to fling,
That quench Heaven's beam, and freeze the cheerless mind.
Vain, then, the enlivening sound of Fame's alarms,
For Hope's exulting impulse prompts no more:
Vain even the joys that lure to Pleasure's arms,
The throb of transport is for ever o'er.
O who shall then to Fancy's darkening eyes
Recall the Elysian dreams of joy and light?
Dim through the gloom the formless visions rise,
Snatch'd instantaneous down the gulf of night.
Thou who, securely lull'd in youth's warm ray,
Mark'st not the desolations wrought by Time,
Be roused or perish. Ardent for its prey,
Speeds the fell hour that ravages thy prime.
And, 'midst the horrors shrined of midnight storm,
The fiend Oblivion eyes thee from afar,
Black with intolerable frowns her form,
Beckoning the embattled whirlwinds into war.
Fanes, bulwarks, mountains, worlds, their tempest whelms;
Yet glory braves unmoved the impetuous sweep.
Fly then, ere, hurl'd from life's delightful realms,
Thou sink to Oblivion's dark and boundless deep.
Fly, then, where Glory points the path sublime,
See her crown dazzling with eternal light!
'Tis Juno prompts thy daring steps to climb,
And girds thy bounding heart with matchless might.
Warm in the raptures of divine desire,
Burst the soft chain that curbs the aspiring mind;
And fly where Victory, borne on wings of fire,
Waves her red banner to the rattling wind.
Ascend the car: indulge the pride of arms,
Where clarions roll their kindling strains on high,
Where the eye maddens to the dread alarms,
And the long shout tumultuous rends the sky.
Plunged in the uproar of the thundering field,
I see thy lofty arm the tempest guide:
Fate scatters lightning from thy meteor-shield,
And Ruin spreads around the sanguine tide.
Go, urge the terrors of thy headlong car
On prostrate Pride, and Grandeur's spoils o'erthrown,
While all amazed even heroes shrink afar,
And hosts embattled vanish at thy frown.
When glory crowns thy godlike toils, and all
The triumph's lengthening pomp exalts thy soul,
When lowly at thy feet the mighty fall,
And tyrants tremble at thy stern control:
When conquering millions hail thy sovereign might,
And tribes unknown dread acclamation join;
How wilt thou spurn the forms of low delight!
For all the ecstasies of heaven are thine:
For thine the joys, that fear no length of days,
Whose wide effulgence scorns all mortal bound:
Fame's trump in thunder shall announce thy praise,
Nor bursting worlds her clarion's blast confound.'
The Goddess ceased, not dubious of the prize:
Elate she mark'd his wild and rolling eye,
Mark'd his lip quiver, and his bosom rise,
And his warm cheek suffused with crimson dye.
But Pallas now drew near. Sublime, serene,
In conscious dignity she view'd the swain:
Then, love and pity softening all her mien,
Thus breathed with accents mild the solemn strain:
'Let those whose arts to fatal paths betray,
The soul with passion's gloom tempestuous blind,
And snatch from Reason's ken the auspicious ray
Truth darts from heaven to guide the exploring mind.
'But Wisdom loves the calm and serious hour,
When heaven's pure emanation beams confess'd:
Rage, ecstasy, alike disclaim her power,
She woo's each gentler impulse of the breast.
Sincere the unalter'd bliss her charms impart,
Sedate the enlivening ardours they inspire:
She bids no transient rapture thrill the heart,
She wakes no feverish gust of fierce desire.
Unwise, who, tossing on the watery way,
All to the storm the unfetter'd sail devolve:
Man more unwise resigns the mental sway,
Borne headlong on by passion's keen resolve.
While storms remote but murmur on thine ear,
Nor waves in ruinous uproar round thee roll,
Yet, yet a moment check thy prone career,
And curb the keen resolve that prompts thy soul.
Explore thy heart, that, roused by Glory's name,
Pants all enraptured with the mighty charm—
And does Ambition quench each milder flame?
And is it conquest that alone can warm?
To indulge fell Rapine's desolating lust,
To drench the balmy lawn in streaming gore,
To spurn the hero's cold and silent dust—
Are these thy joys? Nor throbs thy heart for more?
Pleased canst thou listen to the patriot's groan,
And the wild wail of Innocence forlorn?
And hear the abandon'd maid's last frantic moan,
Her love for ever from her bosom torn?
Nor wilt thou shrink, when Virtue's fainting breath
Pours the dread curse of vengeance on thy head?
Nor when the pale ghost bursts the cave of death,
To glare distraction on thy midnight bed?
Was it for this, though born to regal power,
Kind Heaven to thee did nobler gifts consign,
Bade Fancy's influence gild thy natal hour,
And bade Philanthropy's applause be thine?
Theirs be the dreadful glory to destroy,
And theirs the pride of pomp, and praise suborn'd,
Whose eye ne'er lighten'd at the smile of Joy,
Whose cheek the tear of Pity ne'er adorn'd:
Whose soul, each finer sense instinctive quell'd,
The lyre's mellifluous ravishment defies:
Nor marks where Beauty roves the flowery field,
Or Grandeur's pinion sweeps the unbounded skies.
Hail to sweet Fancy's unexpressive charm!
Hail to the pure delights of social love!
Hail, pleasures mild, that fire not while ye warm,
Nor rack the exulting frame, but gently move!
But Fancy soothes no more, if stern remorse
With iron grasp the tortured bosom wring.
Ah then! even Fancy speeds the venom's course,
Even Fancy points with rage the maddening sting.
Her wrath a thousand gnashing fiends attend,
And roll the snakes, and toss the brands of hell;
The beam of Beauty blasts: dark heavens impend
Tottering: and Music thrills with startling yell.
What then avails, that with exhaustless store
Obsequious Luxury loads thy glittering shrine?
What then avails, that prostrate slaves adore,
And Fame proclaims thee matchless and divine?
What though bland Flattery all her arts apply?
Will these avail to calm the infuriate brain?
Or will the roaring surge, when heaved on high,
Headlong hang, hush'd, to hear the piping swain?
In health how fair, how ghastly in decay
Man's lofty form! how heavenly fair the mind
Sublimed by Virtue's sweet enlivening sway!
But ah! to guilt's outrageous rule resign'd.
How hideous and forlorn! when ruthless Care
With cankering tooth corrodes the seeds of life,
And deaf with passion's storms when pines Despair,
And howling furies rouse the eternal strife.
Oh, by thy hopes of joy that restless glow,
Pledges of Heaven! be taught by Wisdom's lore;
With anxious haste each doubtful path forego,
And life's wild ways with cautious fear explore.
Straight be thy course: nor tempt the maze that leads
Where fell Remorse his shapeless strength conceals,
And oft Ambition's dizzy cliff he treads,
And slumbers oft in Pleasure's flowery vales.
Nor linger unresolved: Heaven prompts the choice,
Save when Presumption shuts the ear of Pride:
With grateful awe attend to Nature's voice,
The voice of Nature Heaven ordain'd thy guide.
Warn'd by her voice the arduous path pursue,
That leads to Virtue's fane a hardy band:
What though no gaudy scenes decoy their view,
Nor clouds of fragrance roll along the land?
What though rude mountains heave the flinty way?
Yet there the soul drinks light and life divine,
And pure aërial gales of gladness play,
Brace every nerve, and every sense refine.
Go, prince, be virtuous and be blest. The throne
Rears not its state to swell the couch of Lust:
Nor dignify Corruption's daring son,
To o'erwhelm his humbler brethren of the dust.
But yield an ampler scene to Bounty's eye,
An ampler range to Mercy's ear expand:
And, 'midst admiring nations, set on high
Virtue's fair model, framed by Wisdom's hand.
Go then: the moan of Woe demands thine aid:
Pride's licensed outrage claims thy slumbering ire:
Pale Genius roams the bleak neglected shade,
And battening Avarice mocks his tuneless lyre.
Even Nature pines, by vilest chains oppress'd:
The astonish'd kingdoms crouch to Fashion's nod.
O ye pure inmates of the gentle breast,
Truth, Freedom, Love, O where is your abode?
O yet once more shall Peace from heaven return,
And young Simplicity with mortals dwell!
Nor Innocence the august pavilion scorn,
Nor meek Contentment fly the humble cell!
Wilt thou, my prince, the beauteous train implore
'Midst earth's forsaken scenes once more to bide?
Then shall the shepherd sing in every bower,
And Love with garlands wreathe the domes of Pride.
The bright tear starting in the impassion'd eyes
Of silent Gratitude: the smiling gaze
Of Gratulation, faltering while he tries
With voice of transport to proclaim thy praise:
The ethereal glow that stimulates thy frame,
When all the according powers harmonious move,
And wake to energy each social aim,
Attuned spontaneous to the will of Jove:
Be these, O man, the triumphs of thy soul;
And all the conqueror's dazzling glories slight,
That meteor-like o'er trembling nations roll,
To sink at once in deep and dreadful night.
Like thine, yon orb's stupendous glories burn
With genial beam; nor, at the approach of even,
In shades of horror leave the world to mourn,
But gild with lingering light the empurpled heaven.'
Thus while she spoke, her eye, sedately meek,
Look'd the pure fervour of maternal love.
No rival zeal intemperate flush'd her cheek—
Can Beauty's boast the soul of Wisdom move?
Worth's noble pride, can Envy's leer appal,
Or staring Folly's vain applauses soothe?
Can jealous Fear Truth's dauntless heart enthrall?
Suspicion lurks not in the heart of Truth.
And now the shepherd raised his pensive head:
Yet unresolved and fearful roved his eyes,
Scared at the glances of the awful maid;
For young unpractised Guilt distrusts the guise
Of shameless Arrogance.—His wavering breast,
Though warm'd by Wisdom, own'd no constant fire,
While lawless Fancy roam'd afar, unblest
Save in the oblivious lap of soft Desire.
When thus the queen of soul-dissolving smiles:
'Let gentler fate my darling prince attend,
Joyless and cruel are the warrior's spoils,
Dreary the path stern Virtue's sons ascend.
Of human joy full short is the career,
And the dread verge still gains upon your sight;
While idly gazing far beyond your sphere,
Ye scan the dream of unapproach'd delight:
Till every sprightly hour and blooming scene
Of life's gay morn unheeded glides away,
And clouds of tempests mount the blue serene,
And storms and ruin close the troublous day.
Then still exult to hail the present joy,
Thine be the boon that comes unearn'd by toil;
No forward vain desire thy bliss annoy,
No flattering hope thy longing hours beguile.
Ah! why should man pursue the charms of Fame,
For ever luring, yet for ever coy?
Light as the gaudy rainbow's pillar'd gleam,
That melts illusive from the wondering boy!
What though her throne irradiate many a clime,
If hung loose-tottering o'er the unfathom'd tomb?
What though her mighty clarion, rear'd sublime,
Display the imperial wreath and glittering plume?
Can glittering plume, or can the imperial wreath
Redeem from unrelenting fate the brave?
What note of triumph can her clarion breathe,
To alarm the eternal midnight of the grave?
That night draws on: nor will the vacant hour
Of expectation linger as it flies:
Nor fate one moment unenjoy'd restore:
Each moment's flight how precious to the wise!
O shun the annoyance of the bustling throng,
That haunt with zealous turbulence the great:
There coward Office boasts the unpunish'd wrong,
And sneaks secure in insolence of state.
O'er fancied injury Suspicion pines,
And in grim silence gnaws the festering wound:
Deceit the rage-embitter'd smile refines,
And Censure spreads the viperous hiss around.
Hope not, fond prince, though Wisdom guard thy throne,
Though Truth and Bounty prompt each generous aim,
Though thine the palm of peace, the victor's crown,
The Muse's rapture, and the patriot's flame:
Hope not, though all that captivates the wise,
All that endears the good exalt thy praise:
Hope not to taste repose: for Envy's eyes
At fairest worth still point their deadly rays.
Envy, stern tyrant of the flinty heart,
Can aught of Virtue, Truth, or Beauty charm?
Can soft Compassion thrill with pleasing smart,
Repentance melt, or Gratitude disarm?
Ah no. Where Winter Scythia's waste enchains,
And monstrous shapes roar to the ruthless storm,
Not Phoebus' smile can cheer the dreadful plains,
Or soil accursed with balmy life inform.
Then, Envy, then is thy triumphant hour,
When mourns Benevolence his baffled scheme:
When Insult mocks the clemency of Power,
And loud dissension's livid firebrands gleam:
When squint-eyed Slander plies the unhallow'd tongue,
From poison'd maw when Treason weaves his line,
And Muse apostate (infamy to song!)
Grovels, low muttering, at Sedition's shrine.
Let not my prince forego the peaceful shade,
The whispering grove, the fountain and the plain:
Power, with the oppressive weight of pomp array'd,
Pants for simplicity and ease in vain.
The yell of frantic Mirth may stun his ear,
But frantic Mirth soon leaves the heart forlorn;
And Pleasure flies that high tempestuous sphere:
Far different scenes her lucid paths adorn.
She loves to wander on the untrodden lawn,
Or the green bosom of reclining hill,
Soothed by the careless warbler of the dawn,
Or the lone plaint of ever-murmuring rill.
Or from the mountain glade's aërial brow,
While to her song a thousand echoes call,
Marks the wide woodland wave remote below,
Where shepherds pipe unseen, and waters fall.
Her influence oft the festive hamlet proves,
Where the high carol cheers the exulting ring;
And oft she roams the maze of wildering groves,
Listening the unnumber'd melodies of Spring.
Or to the long and lonely shore retires;
What time, loose-glimmering to the lunar beam,
Faint heaves the slumberous wave, and starry fires
Gild the blue deep with many a lengthening gleam.
Then to the balmy bower of Rapture borne,
While strings self-warbling breathe Elysian rest,
Melts in delicious vision, till the morn
Spangle with twinkling dew the flowery waste.
The frolic Moments, purple-pinion'd, dance
Around, and scatter roses as they play;
And the blithe Graces, hand in hand, advance,
Where, with her loved compeers, she deigns to stray;
Mild Solitude, in veil of rustic dye,
Her sylvan spear with moss-grown ivy bound;
And Indolence, with sweetly languid eye,
And zoneless robe that trails along the ground;
But chiefly Love—O thou, whose gentle mind
Each soft indulgence Nature framed to share;
Pomp, wealth, renown, dominion, all resign'd,
Oh, haste to Pleasure's bower, for Love is there.
Love, the desire of Gods! the feast of heaven!
Yet to Earth's favour'd offspring not denied!
Ah! let not thankless man the blessing given
Enslave to Fame, or sacrifice to Pride.
Nor I from Virtue's call decoy thine ear;
Friendly to Pleasure are her sacred laws:
Let Temperance' smile the cup of gladness cheer;
That cup is death, if he withhold applause.
Far from thy haunt be Envy's baneful sway,
And Hate, that works the harass'd soul to storm;
But woo Content to breathe her soothing lay,
And charm from Fancy's view each angry form.
No savage joy the harmonious hours profane!
Whom Love refines, can barbarous tumults please?
Shall rage of blood pollute the sylvan reign?
Shall Leisure wanton in the spoils of Peace?
Free let the feathery race indulge the song,
Inhale the liberal beam, and melt in love:
Free let the fleet hind bound her hills along,
And in pure streams the watery nations rove.
To joy in Nature's universal smile
Well suits, O man, thy pleasurable sphere;
But why should Virtue doom thy years to toil?
Ah! why should Virtue's laws be deem'd severe?
What meed, Beneficence, thy care repays?
What, Sympathy, thy still returning pang?
And why his generous arm should Justice raise,
To dare the vengeance of a tyrant's fang?
From thankless spite no bounty can secure;
Or froward wish of discontent fulfil,
That knows not to regret thy bounded power,
But blames with keen reproach thy partial will.
To check the impetuous all-involving tide
Of human woes, how impotent thy strife!
High o'er thy mounds devouring surges ride,
Nor reck thy baffled toils, or lavish'd life.
The bower of bliss, the smile of love be thine,
Unlabour'd ease, and leisure's careless dream.
Such be their joys who bend at Venus' shrine,
And own her charms beyond compare supreme.'
Warm'd as she spoke, all panting with delight,
Her kindling beauties breathed triumphant bloom;
And Cupids flutter'd round in circlets bright,
And Flora pour'd from all her stores perfume.
'Thine be the prize,' exclaim'd the enraptured youth,
'Queen of unrivall'd charms, and matchless joy.'—
O blind to fate, felicity, and truth!
But such are they whom Pleasure's snares decoy.
The Sun was sunk; the vision was no more;
Night downward rush'd tempestuous, at the frown
Of Jove's awaken'd wrath: deep thunders roar,
And forests howl afar, and mountains groan,
And sanguine meteors glare athwart the plain;
With horror's scream the Ilian towers resound,
Raves the hoarse storm along the bellowing main,
And the strong earthquake rends the shuddering ground.