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THE STORY OF PHAETON.
THE Sun's bright palace, on high columns rais’d,
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,
The god sits high, exalted on a throne
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,
The youth transported, asks, without delay,
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 ;