"A brave Mind however blinded with Passion is sensible of Remorse as soon as the injur'd Object presents itself; and Paris never behaves himself ill in War, but when his Spirits are depress'd by the Consciousness of an Injustice."
— Pope, Alexander (1688-1744)
The old Scholiasts refining on this Simile will have it that Paris is compar'd to a Goat on account of his Incontinence, and to a Stag for his Cowardice: To this last they make an Addition which is very ludicrous, that he is also liken'd to a Deer for his Skill in Musick , and cite Aristotle to prove that Animal delights in Harmony, which Opinion is alluded to by Mr. Waller in these Lines,
Here Love takes stand, and while she charms the Ear
Empties his Quiver on the list'ning Deer.
But upon the whole, it is whimsical to imagine this Comparison consists in any thing more, than the Joy which Menelaus conceiv'd at the sight of his Rival, in the hopes of destroying him. It is equally an Injustice to Paris , to abuse him for understanding Musick, and to represent his Retreat as purely the Effect of Fear, which proceeded from his Sense of Guilt with respect to the particular Person of Menelaus . He appear'd at the Head of the Army to challenge the boldest of the Enemy: Nor is his Character elsewhere in the Iliad by any means that of a Coward. Hector at the end of the sixth Book confesses, that no Man could justly reproach him as such. Nor is he represented so by Ovid (who copy'd Homer very closely) in the end of his Epistle to Helen . The Moral of Homer is much finer: A brave Mind however blinded with Passion is sensible of Remorse as soon as the injur'd Object presents itself; and Paris never behaves himself ill in War, but when his Spirits are depress'd by the Consciousness of an Injustice. This also will account for the seeming Incongruity of Homer in this Passage, who (as they would have us think) paints him a shameful Coward, at the same time that he is perpetually calling him the divine Paris , and Paris like a God . What he says immediately afterwards in answer to Hector 's Reproof, will make this yet more clear.
See The Iliad of Homer, Translated by Mr. Pope, 6 vols. (London: Printed by W. Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott, 1715-1720). <Link to ESTC><Link to Vol. I in ECCO-TCP><Vol. II><Vol. III><Vol. IV><Vol. V><Vol. VI>