THE FABLE of PHAETON Paraphrased From OVID's METAMORPHOSIS.
1 WIth swelling thoughts fixt on his great intent,
2 Now Phaeton had climb'd the Suns ascent;
3 And to his radiant Father's Pallace came;
4 Whose heavenly seat lookt blazon'd all with flame:
5 On Stately Pedestalls erected high
6 Above the Convex of the utmost Sky:
7 Its Glorious Front, dazled, yet pleas'd the sight,
8 With vigorous sallys of AEthereal Light.
9 The entrance, all divinely deckt, was wrought,
10 Beyond the invention of a humane thought;[Page 57]
11 With various figures exquisite and bold,
12 As the Amazing Novelties they told.
13 Here awful Neptune rises from the deep,
14 Around the peaceful Billows seem to sleep:
15 Here dreadful Whales the Blust'ring Tritons stride,
16 And raise a Silver Tempest as they glide:
17 In mighty shells the lovely Nereids swim,
18 And blewish gods the lofty billows climb.
19 Wide from the Shore a pleasant scene of Land,
20 With careless Beauty did it self expand:
21 Here Mountains, Valleys, Springs, and Sacred Groves,
22 Flocks, Herds, Unpolish'd Shepherds, and their Loves;
23 The Dryads, Satyrs, Silver Gods, and Fawns,
24 Had here their Rural Pallaces and Lawns.
25 Above all this, appear'd the blest abodes,
26 And gay-Pavilions of th' Immortal Gods:
27 Upon a Painted-Zodiack brightly shone
28 With Glittering Emralds Sols refulgent Throne:
29 Here sate in Purple the Bright God of Day,
30 (Whom Phaeton now trembles to survey:)
31 Smooth were his Cheeks, most lovely eyes, his brows
32 Adorn'd with rays, and his own sacred boughs:
33 Around, the days, the months, and years attend,
34 While, at his feet, the crooked Ages bend:
35 The beauteous Spring (more gay than all the rest,)
36 Stood smiling by, clad in a Flowry Vest:
37 Summer, with Ears of Corn, her temples bound,
38 And Autumn with Luxuriant Clusters crown'd:
39 In order next old hoary-Winter stood;
40 His Aspect horrid, and congeal'd his blood.
41 Surrounded thus with Majesty and State,
42 Bold Phaeton's Illustrious Father sate:
43 The God his ventrous Off-spring now espyes;
44 Amaz'd! demands, What urg'd his enterprize?
45 And what great Embassy cou'd bring him to the Skies?
46 Monarch of Light, the doubtful Youth returns,
47 Whose absence Life it self and Nature mourns:
48 Most splendid Ruler of the wellcome Day,
49 Serenest Spring of all that's fair and gay —
50 If bolder I may speak — if e're — if e're
51 The Thoughts of Love and Clymene were dear;
52 — Then grant a certain sign, that may on Earth
53 Resolve the question'd grandeur of my Birth,
54 My best-lov'd-Son, great Phoebus made Reply,
55 (And back he casts the radiant Energy
56 Of his thick beams) my Phaeton draw Nigh:[Page 60]
57 And doubt no longer my Paternal rights;
58 For, by my Clymene, by th' Intense delights
59 That gave thee Birth, so — now chuse a sign,
60 And by the Dark Infernal Lake 'tis thine.
61 Straight the ambitious youth demands the sway
62 Of his hot Steeds, and Chariot of the Day.
63 Amaz'd, the lucent Deity shook his head,
64 Revolving his Tremendous Oath, and said;
65 Unthinking Phaeton what dost thou ask?
66 Not Iove himself durst undertake the Task:
67 Though not a God in the Blew-Arch more great,
68 Yet even he'd decline our Flaming Seat.
69 Can'st thou, a Mortal, then supply my Throne?
70 Curb my fierce Steeds, and pass the Intemperate Zone?
71 So hard and difficult, the ascent of day
72 Scarce with fresh Horses vanquish I the way:[Page 61]
73 With horror, on the distant Earth at Noon,
74 We from the Zenith's dismal heighth look down
75 The steep Descent; from thence we swiftly roul:
76 Nor here our headlong Coursers Brook controul.
77 Even Lovely Thetis sees my Fall with dread,
78 Though every Night she expects me to her Bed.
79 Besides, thou'lt meet a Thousand rugged Jarrs
80 From the incountring Motions of the Stars;
81 Scarce our Immortal Efforts stem their force:
82 Betwixt the Bulls sharp hornes then lies thy course,
83 By Sagitarius, and the Scorpion's Claws,
84 The Gastly Crab, and Leo's dreadful Jaws.
85 Expect no Groves, nor Flowry Mansions there,
86 Nor Gods, nor Nymphs; but Monsters every where,[Page 62]
87 Then let a Father's timely Care perswade,
88 And yet retract the dangerous Choice thou'st made
89 Be wise, and urge no more this fatal Sign;
90 Alas, my Grief, too sadly, speaks thee Mine.
91 Of all the Earths, or Seas rich Bosoms hide,
92 Or Treasures which in upper Air abide;
93 Ask what thou wilt, or dar'st (besides) to wish;
94 Do, Phaeton, ask any thing but this;
95 And, by my former Sacred Oath, 'tis thine.
96 But the hot Youth, fixt on his rash design,
97 With such an Enterprize, the more inflam'd
98 His anxious Father's Oath, now boldly claim'd,
99 Who forc'd to yield. The nimble hours soon brought
100 His Chariot forth in hot Vesuvio wrought,
101 By crafty Vulcan, and the Cyclops Art,
102 Who'd shown immortal skill in every part:[Page 63]
103 The Wheels, and Axeltree, the purest Gold,
104 Bright as those Lucid Tracts in which they roul'd:
105 The Harness all Emboss'd with Crysolites,
106 And twinkling sparks of wondrous colour'd Lights.
107 But now Aurora from her Eastern Bed,
108 Had, o'er the Expanse her Dewy Mantle spread,
109 The Sickly Moon the Hemisphere resigns;
110 And, with her Waning, Lucifer declines.
111 The Dawning grew more fair and ruddy still,
112 And Sol officious now against his will:
113 With Sacred Compounds his fierce Orb allays,
114 Then crowns the Joyful Hero with his Rays:
115 With tender Speeches caution'd thus the while,
116 Let not Presumption thy fond Thoughts beguile ,
117 To give my hot unruly Steeds their course,
118 But use the Reins, with utmost care and force,[Page 64]
119 Along a beaten, broad, and oblique way,
120 Far from the Poles, now lies the Road of Day.
121 Avoid the Altar, and the hissing Snake,
122 Both opposite, betwixt them keep the Track;
123 Observe a careful distance from the Skyes,
124 Lest thou affront the awful Deities;
125 Nor near the Earth approach, the mean is best;
126 To Destiny with hope I leave the rest.
127 For, loe the pale Commandress of the Night
128 Resigns her Empire to th' expected Light.
129 Take up the Reins; or yet, or yet be wise,
130 And graspa more proportion'd enterprize:
131 But Phaeton, as resolute as great,
132 Undaunted, leaps into the Blazing Seat;
133 Pleas'd with his glorious charge, nor doubts his Skill
134 To manage it, he Mounts th' Olympick Hill. [Page 65]
135 Aloud th' Immortal Steeds begin to Neigh,
136 And strike their Fiery Hoofs, and make new Day;
137 As through she clouds they cut their sparkling way:
138 And finding now the Reeling Chariot fraught
139 With nothing congruous to Celestial weight;
140 Unruly grow, and heedless of the Rein,
141 Its feeble Checks, and trembling Guide disdain;
142 And, all disorder'd, careless of their way,
143 Through Paths unknown to Sol himself, they stray:
144 Now near the Fair Triones, who, in vain,
145 Implor'd more Temperate Quarters in the Main
146 With Heat reviv'd, see the fierce Serpent roul,
147 Tho' fix'd his Station near the Frozen Pole.
148 Bootes sweats, and drives his Lazy Team
149 A nimble pace; untry'd before by them,[Page 66]
150 As much distress'd, unhappy Phaeton
151 From Great Olympus arched Top looks down:
152 Black horror now, and aggravating fear,
153 Through all his Conscious thoughts triumphant were:
154 He Curst his Pride, conspicuous Seat, and Birth,
155 And covets the obscurest place on Earth;
156 To be the Son of Meropes, safe below,
157 Unknown to Gods and Men, would please him now;
158 So, all confus'd, the hopeless Pilot Raves,
159 And yields, at last, to the relentless Waves.
160 What can he do? much of the Glowing East
161 Is yet Unconquer'd; more he dreads the West,
162 That dangerous Fall; nor one clear Track can fin'd
163 In Heaven; nor call his Horses Names to mind:
164 Who now near where the dreadful Scorpion lay,
165 Hurryd the shatter'd Chariot of the Day:[Page 67]
166 Proud of the Reins, which from his trembling hands
167 Now faintly drop, no obstacle withstands
168 Their furious course; but through the blazing Sky
169 They foam, and rave, and all disorder'd fly.
170 Now upward, to the Stars, a Path they rend,
171 Then down agen the frightful Steeps descend:
172 Below, her own Diana from afar,
173 With wonder, views her radiant Brothers Car:
174 The exhaled Earth down to its Centre dry,
175 Wants Iuice, her fainting Products to supply:
176 Assaulted with the too prevailing rays,
177 In fatal Flames, whole Towns and Mountains blaze:
178 High Athos, Oete, and the Pin'y top
179 Of pleasant Ida into Cinders drop:
180 Old Tmolus, the Cicillian Mount, and high
181 Parnassus, smoak up to the darkned Sky:
182 Vesuvio roars, more fierce its entrails glow;
183 Nor work the Cyclops at their Anvils now. [Page 68]
184 Steep Othrys, Cynthus, Erix, Mimas, flame
185 Nor Rhodopean Snows the fiercer Fire can tame.
186 Cauoasus frys, Dindyma chaps, and burns
187 Her kindling Grove; fair Aphrodites mourns.
188 The Airy Alps, and Gloomy Appenine,
189 With Ossa, in the conflagration shine:
190 Surrounded thus with Smoak, and Wrathful Fires,
191 Unhappy Phaeton almost expires:
192 Despair within, and Terror all without,
193 By's surious Steeds, at pleasure, hurl'd about;
194 Gasping, and saint, still hurried round, nor more,
195 Tho prop't by Fate, a Mortal could have bore:
196 They say, the Ethiopians now with heat
197 Adust, and scorch't, diffus'd a Sable Sweat;
198 And all the wasted Fountains sadly ring
199 Of some fair Nais, Mourning for her Spring. [Page 69]
200 Nor from the Mightyer Streams the Flame recoils,
201 For in its Channel antient Tana'is boyls.
202 Xanthus, whose Waves agen that Fate must know;
203 Maeander, whose wild Waters, circling flow.
204 Melas, Eurotas, Ister, and the Fair
205 Euphrates, Torrents, half exhausted are.
206 Orontes, Phasis, and the cooler Stream
207 Of Sperchius now like boyling Chaldron's Steam;
208 Alpheus, Ganges, and the flowing Gold,
209 That in the Rich Pactolus Channel roul'd:
210 The Muses Mourn; their Swans, who, as they dye
211 In Charming Notes, breath their own Elegy:
212 Deep, in his utmost Subterranean Bed,
213 Great Nilus hides his undiscover'd Head. [Page 70]
214 Earth cracks, to Hell descend the hated beams,
215 And Plague the howling Ghosts with worse extreams:
216 The exhausted Ocean leaves a Field of Sand;
217 Nor does vext Neptune one cool Wave command.
218 He has lost his share of the grand Monarchy,
219 And vainly lifts his forked Trident high.
220 The Lovely Sisters melt upon the Rocks,
221 While Aged Doris tares her Silver Locks:
222 The Phocoe dye; the Dolphins vainly dive
223 In scalding streams, to keep themselves alive.
224 As much the Goddess of the Earth distrest,
225 With trembling Lips the King of Gods addrest;
226 If thou the Groaning World's Destruction mean,
227 (Incensed Iove) Why sleep thy THUNDERS then? [Page 71]
228 If thou the cause of this Calamity;
229 Or if 'tis some less potent God then thee:
230 Where's all thy goodness, all thy gentle care
231 For Mortals now-that should these Ills repair?
232 Have I for this thy Sacred Victims fed
233 In Hecatombs, to thy high Altars led?
234 Those Altars, which with thy bright Temples smoak,
235 While Iove, in vain, the gasping-Priests Invoke:
236 And loe the Mighty Poles begin to fume;
237 And, Wher's thy Starry Seat should they consume?
238 Tyr'd Atlas sweating, of his load complains,
239 And scarce the burning Axletree sustains:
240 But, fainting here, she stop'd, and shrinks her head
241 Below the gloomy Lodgings of the Dead.
242 Iove calls the Gods (with him, whose daring Son,
243 Too fond of Glory, had this Mischief done:)
244 To view the dreadful flames; then mounts on high,[Page 72]
245 The lostyest Turret that commands the Sky;
246 From whence he us'd to shade the sultry Air,
247 And with kind Showers the Parched Earth to chear:
248 But throws his Flood-gates open now in vain,
249 And prest the light transparent clouds for Rain:
250 At which incens'd, his ruddy Thunder glows,
251 Nor durst the God of beams himself oppose.
252 See the wing'd Vengeance now, see where it breaks,
253 On the rash cause of those lamented Wrecks;
254 And sends the bold Usurper breathless down
255 To the scorch't Earth from his affected Throne:
256 So strike the Gallick Tyrant, that has hurl'd
257 As guilty flames through the complaining World.
258 So awful Iove, so Strike him from his Seat,
259 And all his Aims, and all his Hopes defeat.