Pallas And Venus. An Epigram

A poem by Matthew Prior

The Trojan swain had judged the great dispute,
And beauty's power obtain'd the golden fruit,
When Venus, loose in all her naked charms,
Met Jove's great daughter clad in shining arms,
The wanton goddess view'd the warlike maid
From head to foot, and tauntingly she said;

Yield sister; rival, yield: naked, you see,
I vanquish: guess how potent I should be,
If to the field I came in armour dress'd,
Dreadful like thine my shield, and terrible my crest!

The warrior goddess with disdain replied,
Thy folly, child, is equal to thy pride:
Let a brave enemy for once advise,
And Venus (if 'tis possible) be wise:
Thou to be strong must put off every dress;
Thy only armour is thy nakedness;
And more than once (or thou art much belied)
By Mars himself that armour has been tried.

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