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MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.

BOOK II.

THE STORY OF PHAETON.

THE 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 sight;
Of polish'd iv'ry was the coy'ring 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 dropping hair divide,
And some on fishes through the waters glide :
Though various features did the Sisters

grace,
A sister's likeness was in ev'ry face.
On earth a different landscape courts the eyes,
Men, towns, and beasts, in distant prospects rise,
And nymphs, and streams, and woods, and rural

deities. O'er all, the heav'n's refulgent image shines ; On either gate were six engraven signs.

Here Phaëton, still gaining on th' ascent, 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 flash'd too strongly on his aching sight.

The god sits 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 flow'ry chaplets bound;
Here Summer in her wheaten garland crown'd;
Here Autumn the rich trodden 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, Surpris'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 Clymene'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 Clymene
Has told thee true ; a parent's name I own,
And deem thee worthy to be call’d my son.
As a sure proof, make some request, and I,
Whate'er it be, with that request comply ;
By Styx I swear, whose waves are hid in night,
And roll impervious to my piercing sight.”

The youth transported, asks, without delay,
To guard 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 son,” says he, “ some other proof require, Rash was my promise, rash is thy desire. I'd fain deny this wish which thou hast made, Or, what I can't deny, would fain dissuade. 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 skill'd 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 downward from the heav'ns 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 sight. A mighty downfall steeps the ev'ning stage, And steady reins must curb the horses' rage. Tethys herself has fear'd to see me driv'n Down headlong from the precipice of heav'n. Besides, consider what impetuous force Turns stars and planets in a diff'rent 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? But you perhaps may hope for pleasing woods, And stately domes, and cities fill'd with gods ;

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