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OVID'S METAMORPHOSE S.

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II.

THE STORY OF PHAETON.

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HE sun's bright palace, on high columns rais’d,

With burnish'd gold and flaming jewels blaz'd;
The folding gates diffus’d a silver light,
And with a milder gleam refresh'd the fight;
Of polish'd ivory was the covering wrought :
The matter vied not with the sculptor's thought,
For in the portal was display'd on high
(The work of Vulcan) a fictitious sky;
A waving sea th' inferior earth embrac’d,
And Gods and Goddesses the waters grac'd.
Ægeon here a mighty whale bestrode ;
Triton, and Proteus (the deceiving God),
With Doris here were carv'd, and all her train,
Some loosely swimming in the figur'd main,
While some on rocks their drooping hair divide,
And some on fifhes through the waters glide :
Though various features did the sisters grace,
A fifter's likeness was in every

face.
On earth a different landskip courts the eyes,
Men, towns, and beasts, in distant prospects rise,
And nymphs,and streams,and woods,and rural deities.
O'er all, the heaven's refulgent image shines ;
On either gate were fix engraven signs.

Here

Here Phaeton, still gaining on th' afcent,
To his suspected father's palace went,
Till pressing forward through the bright abode,
He saw at distance the illustrious God:
He saw at distance, or the dazzling light
Had Aalh’d too strongly on his aking fight.

The God fits high, exalted on a throne
Of blazing gems, with purple garments on ;
The hours in order rang'd on either hand,
And days, and months, and years, and ages, stand.
Here spring appears with flowery chaplets bound;
Here summer in her wheaten garland crown'd;
Here autumn the rich troden grapes besmear';
And hoary winter shivers in the rear.

Phæbus beheld the youth from off his throne; That eye, which looks on all, was fix'd on one. He saw the boy's confusion in his face, Surpriz’d at all the wonders of the place ; And cries aloud, " What wants my son? For know

My son thou art, and I must call thee so.”

“ Light of the world,” the trembling youth replies, “ Illustrious parent! since you don't despise “ The parent's name, some certain token give, " That I may Clymenė’s proud boast believe, “ Nor longer under false reproaches grieve."

The tender Sire was touch'd with what he said, And flung the blaze of glories from his head, And bid the youth advance : My son (said he) “ Come to thy father's arms ! for Clymenè “ Has told thee true ; a parent's name I own, * And deem thee worthy to be callid my

fon.

" As

As a fure proof, make some request, and I,
“ Whate'er it be, with that request comply ;
“ By Styx I swear, whose waves are hid in night,
6s And roll impervious to my piercing sight.”

The youth, transported, alks without delay,
To guide the Sun's bright chariot for a day.

The God repented of the oath he took, For anguish thrice his radiant head he shook : My fon (says he) some other proof require ; “ Ram was my promise, rash is thy desire. “ I'd fain deny this with which thou hast made, Or, what I can't deny, would fain diffuade, « Too vast and hazardous the task appears, “ Nor suited to thy strength, nor to thy years. “ Thy lot is mortal, but thy wishes fly “ Beyond the province of mortality : « There is not one of all the Gods that dares “ (However skilld in other great affairs) “ To mount the burning axle-tree, but I; “ Not Jove himself, the ruler of the sky, “ That hurls the three-fork'd thunder from above, * Dares try his strength; yet who so strong as Jove? “ The steeds climb up the first ascent with pain ; “ And when the middle firmament they gain, “ If downwards from the heavens my head I bow, “ And see the earth and ocean hang below, Ev’n I am seiz'd with horror and affright, And my own heart misgives me at the fight. A mighty downfall steeps the evening stage, " And Iteddy reins must curb the horses' rage.

“ Tethys

" But

" Tethys herself has fear'd to see me driven
“ Down headlong from the precipice of heaven.
" Besides, consider what impetuous force
“ Turns stars and planets in a different course :
" I steer against their motions; nor am I
" Borne back by all the current of the sky.
“ But how could you resist the orbs that roll
“ In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid pole ?

you perhaps may hope for pleasing woods, And stately domes, and cities fill'd with Gods; " While through a thousand snares your progress lies, “ Where forms of starry monsters stock the skies : “ For, should you hit the doubtful way aright, “ The Bull with stooping horns stands opposite; “ Next him the bright Hæmonian Bow is strung; “ And next, the Lion's grinning visage hung : “ The Scorpion's claws here clasp a wide extent, And here the Crab's in leffer clasps are bent. “ Nor would you find it easy to compose “ The mettled steeds, when from their nostrils flows “ The scorching fire, that in their entrails glows. “ Ev’n I their head-strong fury scarce reftrain, When they grow warm and reftiff to the reine “ Let not my son a fatal gift require, " But, O! in time, recal your rath desire; You ask a gift that may your parent tell, “ Let these niy fears your parentage reveal ; “ And learn a father from a father's care; “ Look on my face; or, if my heart lay bare, “ Could you but look, you 'd read the father there.

* Choose

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« Choose out a gift from feas, or earth, or skies,
6. For open to your with all nature lies,
" Only decline this one unequal talk,
• For 'tis a mischief, not a gift, you ask;
" You ask a real mischief, Phaeton :

Nay hang not thus about my neck, my son :
“ I grant your wish, and Styx has heard my voice,
“ Choose what you will, but make a wiser choice."

Thus did the God th' unwary youth advise ; But he still longs to travel through the skies. When the fond father (for in vain he pleads) At length to the Vulcanian chariot leads. A golden axle did the work uphold, Gold was the beam, the wheels were orbid with gold. The spokes in rows of silver pleas'd the fight, The seat with party-colour'd gems was bright; Apollo find amid the glare of light. The youth with secret joy the work surveys; When now the morn disclos’d her purple rays ; The stars were fled; for Lucifer had chac'd The stars away, and fled himself at last. Soon as the father saw the rofy morn, And the moon shining with a blunter horn, He bid the nimble hours without delay Bring forth the steeds; the nimble hours obey: From their full racks the generous steeds retire, Dropping ambrosial foams, and snorting fire. Still anxious for his son, the God of day, To make him proof against the burning ray, His temples with celestial ointment wet, Of sovereign virtue to repel the heat;

Then

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