The Judgment of Paris

A Masque

John Weldon (1676-1736}

Editor: Edited by Michael Pilkington

for soloists: four sopranos, tenor, two baritones, SSTBB chorus and orchestra

Ref. no Wel 1-1 (in 'largerworks')                     To order:     

The well-known mythical story deals with the quandary of Paris, the exiled son of Priam of Troy and his queen Hecuba. Mercury (Hermes) descends from Olympus, with a command from Jupiter to Paris, that he must award a prize of a golden apple to one of the three goddesses, Juno, Pallas and Venus. Although Paris fears the consequences of exposure to divine beauty, he accepts the god’s invitation to ‘Freely gaze and view all over,/ Thou may\'st every grace discover’. The trio of divine beauties disrobe and describe the respective gifts they might bestow were they to win the golden apple. Juno offers Paris vast wealth, power and limitless joy; Pallas promises the rewards of martial conquest and eternal fame. Venus tells Paris that if he chooses her, he will receive in return the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus. The goddess of Love triumphs over her rivals, and Paris, enchanted by the naked Venus, accepts her bribe, (an act that will eventually lead to the calamitous Trojan wars).