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Here Phaeton, still gaining on th' ascent, To his fufpected father's palace went, Till preffing forward through the bright abode, He faw at diftance the illuftrious God: He faw at diftance, or the dazzling light Had flash'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 fummer in her wheaten garland crown'd; Here autumn the rich troden grapes befmear; And hoary winter fhivers in the rear.

Phœbus beheld the youth from off his throne; That eye, which looks on all, was fix'd on one. He saw the boy's confufion in his face,

Surpriz'd at all the wonders of the place;

And cries aloud, "What wants my fon? For know “My son thou art, and I must call thee so.”

"Light of the world," the trembling youth replies, "Illuftrious parent! fince you don't defpife "The parent's name, fome certain token give, "That I may Clymenè'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 call'd my fon.

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"As a fure proof, make some request, and I,
"Whate'er it be, with that requeft comply;
"By Styx I swear, whofe waves are hid in night,
"And roll impervious to my piercing fight.”
The youth, transported, afks 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 (fays he) some other proof require;
"Rash was my promife, rash is thy defire.
"I'd fain deny this with which thou haft made,
“Or, what I can't deny, would fain dissuade.
"Too vaft and hazardous the task appears,
"Nor fuited to thy ftrength, 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 fkill'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 ftrength; yet who fo ftrong 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 fee the earth and ocean hang below,
"Ev'n I am feiz'd with horror and affright,
"And my own heart mifgives me at the fight.
"A mighty downfall steeps the evening stage,
"And steddy reins must curb the horses' rage.



"Tethys herself has fear'd to see me driven "Down headlong from the precipice of heaven. "Besides, confider what impetuous force "Turns stars and planets in a different course; "I fteer 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 adverfe whirls, and stem the rapid pole? "But you perhaps may hope for pleafing woods, "And ftately domes, and cities fill'd with Gods; "While through a thousand snares your progrefs lies, "Where forms of starry monsters stock the skies : "For, fhould you hit the doubtful way aright, "The Bull with stooping horns ftands oppofite; "Next him the bright Hæmonian Bow is ftrung; "And next, the Lion's grinning visage hung: "The Scorpion's claws here clasp a wide extent, "And here the Crab's in leffer clafps are bent. "Nor would you find it easy to compose "The mettled steeds, when from their noftrils flows "The fcorching fire, that in their entrails glows. "Ev'n I their head-ftrong fury scarce restrain, "When they grow warm and reftiff to the rein. "Let not my fon a fatal gift require,

"But, O! in time, recal your rash desire; "You ask a gift that may your parent tell, "Let thefe my 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 out a gift from feas, or earth, or skies,

For open to your wish all nature lies,
"Only decline this one unequal task,
«For 'tis a mischief, not a gift, you ask;
"You ask a real mischief, Phaeton :

"Nay hang not thus about my neck, my fon :
"I grant your wish, and Styx has heard my voice,
"Choose what you will, but make a wifer choice."
Thus did the God th' unwary youth advise;
But he ftill 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 orb'd with gold.
The spokes in rows of filver pleas'd the fight,
The feat with party-colour'd gems was bright;
Apollo fhin'd amid the glare of light.

The youth with fecret joy the work furveys;
When now the morn difclos'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 faw the rofy morn,

And the moon fhining 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 ambrofial foams, and fnorting fire.
Still anxious for his fon, the God of day,
To make him proof against the burning ray,
His temples with celeftial ointment wet,
Of fovereign virtue to repel the heat;

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Then fix'd the beamy circle on his head,
And fetch'd a deep fore-boding figh, and said.
"Take this at least, this last advice, my fon:
"Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on :
"The courfers of themfelves will run too faft,
"Your art must be to moderate their haste.
"Drive them not on directly through the skies,
"But where the Zodiac's winding circle lies,
"Along the midmost Zone; but fally forth
"Nor to the diftant fouth, nor ftormy north.
"The horfes' hoofs a beaten track will show,
"But neither mount too high, nor fink too low,
"That no new fires or heaven or earth infeft;

"Keep the mid-way, the middle way is best.
"Nor, where in radiant folds the Serpent twines,
"Direct your course, nor where the Altar fhines.
"Shun both extremes; the reft let fortune guide,
"And better for thee than thyself provide!
"See, while I fpeak, the fhades disperse away,
"Aurora gives the promise of a day;

"I'm call'd, nor can I make a longer stay.
"Snatch up the reins; or still th' attempt forfake,
"And not my chariot, but my counsel take,

"While yet fecurely on the earth you


"Nor touch the horses with too rafh a hand.

Let me alone to light the world, while you
"Enjoy thofe beams which you may fafely view."
He spoke in vain; the youth with active heat
And fprightly vigour vaults into the feat;
And joys to hold the reins, and fondly gives
Thofe thanks his father with remorfe receives.


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