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The Princely Pallace of the Sunne stood gorgeous to beholde
On stately Pillars builded high of yellow burnisht golde,
Beset with sparckling Carbuncles that like to fire did shine.
The roofe was framed curiously of Ivorie pure and fine.
The two doore leaves of silver cleare a radiant light did cast:
But yet the cunning workemanship of things therein farre past
The stuffe wherof the doores were made. For there a perfect plat
Had Vulcane drawne of all the worlde: Both of the sourges that
Embrace the earth with winding waves, and of the stedfast ground,
And of the heaven it selfe also that both encloseth round.
And first and formest in the Sea the Gods thereof did stande:
Loude sounding Tryton with his shirle and writhen Trumpe in hande:
Unstable Protew chaunging aye his figure and his hue,
From shape to shape a thousande sithes as list him to renue:
Aegeon leaning boystrously on backes of mightie Whales
And Doris with hir daughters all: of which some cut the wales
With splaied armes, some sate on rockes and dride their goodly haire,
And some did ryde uppon the backes of fishes here and theare.
Not one in all poyntes fully lyke an other coulde ye see,
Nor verie farre unlike, but such as sisters ought to bee.
The Earth had townes, men, beasts and Woods with sundrie trees and rods,
And running Ryvers with their Nymphes and other countrie Gods.
Directly over all these same the plat of heaven was pight,
Upon the two doore leaves, the signes of all the Zodiak bright,
Indifferently six on the left and six upon the right.
When Clymens sonne had climbed up at length with weerie pace,
And set his foote within his doubted fathers dwelling place,
Immediately he preaced forth to put him selfe in sight,
And stoode aloofe. For neere at hande he could not bide the light.
In purple Robe and royall Throne of Emeraudes freshe and greene
Did Phoebus sitte, and on eche hande stoode wayting well beseene,
Dayes, Monthes, yeares, ages, seasons, times, and eke the equall houres.
There stoode the springtime with a crowne of fresh and fragrant floures.
There wayted Sommer naked starke all save a wheaten Hat:
And Autumne smerde with treading grapes late at the pressing Vat.
And lastly quaking for the colde, stood Winter all forlorne,
With rugged heade as white as Dove, and garments all to torne,
Forladen with the Isycles that dangled up and downe
Uppon his gray and hoarie bearde and snowie frozen crowne.
The Sunne thus sitting in the middes did cast his piercing eye,
(With which full lightly when he list he all thinges doth espye)
Upon his childe that stood aloofe, agast and trembling sore
At sight of such unwonted things, and thus bespake him thore:
O noble ympe, O Phaeton which art not such (I see)
Of whome thy father should have cause ashamed for to bee:
Why hast thou traveld to my court? what is thy will with mee?
Then answerde he: Of all the worlde O onely perfect light,
O Father Phoebus, (if I may usurpe that name of right,
And that my mother for to save hir selfe from worldely shame,
Hyde not hir fault with false pretence and colour of thy name)
Some signe apparant graunt whereby I may be knowne thy Sonne,
And let mee hang no more in doubt. He had no sooner donne,
But that his father putting off the bright and fierie beames
That glistred rounde about his heade like cleare and golden streames,
Commaunded him to draw him neere, and him embracing sayde:
To take mee for thy rightfull Sire thou neede not be afrayde.
Thy mother Clymen of a truth from falshood standeth free.
And for to put thee out of doubt aske what thou wilt of mee,
And I will give thee thy desire, the Lake whereby of olde
We Gods do sweare (the which mine eyes did never yet beeholde)
Beare witnesse with thee of my graunt. He scarce this tale had tolde,
But that the foolish Phaeton straight for a day did crave
The guyding of his winged Steedes, and Chariot for to have.
Then did his Father by and by forethinke him of his oth.
And shaking twentie tymes his heade, as one that was full wroth,
Bespake him thus: Thy wordes have made me rashly to consent
To that which shortly both of us (I feare mee) shall repent.
Oh that I might retract my graunt, my sonne I doe protest
I would denie thee nothing else save this thy fond request.
I may disswade, there lyes herein more perill than thou weene:
The things the which thou doest desire of great importance beene:
More than thy weakenesse well can wielde, a charge (as well appeares)
Of greater weight, than may agree with these thy tender yeares.
Thy state is mortall, weake and frayle, the thing thou doest desire
Is such, whereto no mortall man is able to aspire.
Yea, foolish boy, thou doest desire (and all for want of wit)
A greater charge than any God coulde ever have as yet.
For were there any of them all so overseene and blinde,
To take upon him this my charge, full quickly should he finde
That none but I could sit upon the fierie Axeltree.
No not even he that rules this wast and endlesse space we see,
Not he that darts with dreadfull hande the thunder from the Skie,
Shall drive this chare. And yet what thing in all the world perdie
Is able to compare with Jove? Now first the morning way
Lyes steepe upright, so that the steedes in coolest of the day
And beeing fresh have much adoe to climbe against the Hyll.
Amiddes the heaven the gastly heigth augmenteth terror still.
My heart doth waxe as colde as yse full many a tyme and oft
For feare to see the Sea and land from that same place aloft.
The Evening way doth fall plump downe requiring strength to guide,
That Tethis who doth harbrowgh mee within hir sourges wide
Doth stand in feare lest from the heaven I headlong down should slide.
Besides all this the Heaven aye swimmes and wheeles about full swift
And with his rolling dryves the starres their proper course to shift.
Yet doe I keepe my native course against this brunt so stout,
Not giving place as others doe: but boldely bearing out
The force and swiftnesse of that heaven that whyrleth so about.
Admit thou had my winged Steedes and Chariot in thine hande:
What couldste thou doe? dost thinke thy selfe well able to withstande
The swiftnesse of the whyrled Poles, but that their brunt and sway
(Yea doe the best and worst thou can) shall beare thee quite away?
Perchaunce thou dost imagine there some townes of Gods to finde,
With groves and Temples richt with giftes as is among mankinde.
Thou art deceyved utterly: thou shalt not finde it so.
By blinde bywayes and ugly shapes of monsters must thou go.
And though thou knewe the way so well as that thou could not stray,
Betweene the dreadful bulles sharp hornes yet must thou make thy way.
Agaynst the cruell Bowe the which the Aemonian archer drawes:
Against the ramping Lyon armde with greedie teeth and pawes:
Against the Scorpion stretching farre his fell and venymd clawes:
And eke the Crab that casteth forth his crooked clees awrie
Not in such sort as th'other doth, and yet as dreadfully.
Againe thou neyther hast the powre nor yet the skill I knowe
My lustie coursers for to guide that from their nostrilles throwe
And from their mouthes the fierie breath that breedeth in their brest.
For scarcely will they suffer mee who knowes their nature best
When that their cruell courages begin to catch a heate,
That hardely should I deale with them, but that I know the feate.
But lest my gift should to thy griefe and utter perill tend
My Sonne beware and (whyle thou mayst) thy fonde request amend.
Bycause thou woulde be knowne to bee my childe thou seemst to crave
A certaine signe: what surer signe I pray thee canst thou have
Than this my feare so fatherly the which I have of thee
Which proveth me most certainly thy father for to bee?
Beholde and marke my countenaunce. would to God thy sight
Could pierce within my wofull brest, to see the heavie plight,
And heapes of cares within my heart. Looke through the worlde so round
Of all the wealth and goodes therein: if ought there may be found
In Heaven or Earth or in the Sea, aske what thou lykest best,
And sure it shall not be denide. This onely one request
That thou hast made I heartely beseech thee to relent,
Which for to tearme the thing aright is even a punishment,
And not an honour as thou thinkest: my Phaeton thou dost crave
In stead of honour even a scourge and punishment for to have.
Thou fondling thou, what dost thou meane with fawning armes about
My necke thus flattringly to hang? Thou needest not to dout.
I have alreadie sworne by Styx, aske what thou wilt of mee
And thou shalt have. Yet let thy next wish somewhat wiser bee

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    • George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica, 4.597
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