Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Pallas and Venus
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
An Epigram

THE TROJAN swain had judg’d 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        5
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 drest;
Dreadful, like thine, my shield, and terrible my crest!        10
  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;        15
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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