Man is a bubble, and all the world is a storm. He kept it on a shelf in our family den, where for years when I was a kid it roared down at us -- unappeasably furious or so I always thought at being trapped up there on its high perch, with no company except some painted beer mugs and a set of purple glass swizzle sticks. Then one day it got broken; I don't remember how.
And the workmanship exceeded all the wealth of gems and gold; for there had Mulciber engraved the seas encircling middle earth; the round of earth, and heaven impending over the land. And there amid the waves were azure deities: Of monstrous whales; and Doris in the sea and all her daughters; some amid the waves and others sitting on the bank to dry their sea-green hair, and others borne about by fishes.
Each was made to show a fair resemblance to her sisters—yet not one appearance was assigned to all—they seemed as near alike as sisters should in truth. And men and cities, woods and savage beasts, and streams and nymphs, and sylvan deities were carved upon the land; and over these an image of the glittering sky was fixed;—six signs were on the right, six on the left.
There, unable to endure the dazzling light, he waited at a distance. Phoebus sat, arrayed in royal purple, on a throne that glittered with the purest emeralds.
What wilt thou in this my palace, Phaethon my child beloved? It is unsafe to satisfy thy will. It is a great request, O Phaethon, which neither suits thy utmost strength nor tender years; for thou art mortal, and thou hast aspired to things immortal.
Ignorance has made thy thought transcend the province of the Gods. I vaunt no vain exploits; but only I can stand securely on the flame-fraught axle-tree: Then, also, Tethys, who receives me in her subject waves, is wont to fear lest I should fall disastrous.
And around the hastening sky revolves in constant whirl, drawing the lofty stars with rapid twist. The force that overcomes the heavenly bodies overwhelms me not, and I am borne against that rapid globe.
Suppose the chariot thine: Canst thou drive straight against the twisted pole and not be carried from the lofty path by the swift car? Art thou deceived to think there may be groves and cities of the Gods, and costly temples wondrously endowed? The journey is beset with dreadful snares and shapes of savage animals.
If thou shouldst hold upon thy way without mistake yet must thy journey be through Taurus' horns, and through the Bow Haemonian, and the jaws of the fierce Lion, and the cruel arms of Scorpion, bent throughout a vast expanse,—and Cancer's curving arms reversely bent.
It is no easy task for thee to rule the mettled four-foot steeds, enflamed in fires that kindle in their breasts, forth issuing in breathings from their mouths and nostrils hot;—I scarce restrain them, as their struggling necks pull on the harness, when their heated fires are thus aroused.
Forsooth thou hast besought undoubted signs of thy descent from me? My fears for thee are certain signs that thou art of my race—by my paternal fears 'Tis manifest I am thy father.
Look round thee on the treasured world's delights and ask the greatest blessing of the sky, or sea or land, and thou shalt suffer no repulse: For, doubt it not, as I have sworn it by the Stygian Waves, whatever thou shalt wish, it shall be given—but thou shouldst wish more wisely.
Wherefore, Phoebus long delaying and reluctant, took the youth to view the spacious chariot, gift of Vulcan.
All the stars took flight, while Lucifer, the last to quit his vigil, gathered that great host and disappeared from his celestial watch. Then with a hallowed drug the father touched the stripling's face, to make him proof against the rapid flame, and wrought around his hair the sun-rays.
Difficult are they to check in full career.
Thou must not drive the car directly through five circles, for the track takes a wide curve, obliquely, and is bound by the extreme edge of three zones. The way is plain; the traces of the Wheel are manifest.
Observe with care that both the earth and sky have their appropriate heat—Drive not too low, nor urge the chariot through the highest plane; for if thy course attain too great a height thou wilt consume the mansions of the sky, and if too low the land will scorch with heat. Take thou the middle plane, where all is safe; nor let the Wheel turn over to the right and bear thee to the twisted Snake!
While I am speaking humid night has touched the margin of Hesperian shores. Take up the reins! But if thy stubborn breast be capable of change use not our car, but heed my counsel while the time permits, and while thy feet are on a solid base, but not, according to thy foolish wish, pressing the axle.
Rather let me light the world beneath thy safe and wondering gaze. Then Tethys, witless of her grandson's fate let back the barriers,—and the universe was theirs to traverse.
Taking the well-known road, and moving through the air with winged feet, they pierced resisting clouds, and spreading wide their pinions soared upon the eastern wind, far-wafted from that realm. But Phaethon, so easy of their yoke, lost all control, and the great car was tossed,—as tapered ships when lightened of their ballast toss and heave unsteady in the surging seas: Warmed in the sunshine, never felt before, the gelid Triones attempted vain to bathe in seas forbid: Now vainy he regrets he ever touched his father's steeds, and he is stunned with grief that so entreating he prevailed to know his true descent.
He rather would be called the son of Merops. As a ship is tossed by raging Boreas, when the conquered helm has been abandoned, and the pilot leaves the vessel to his vows and to the Gods; so, helpless, he is borne along the sky.This essay delves deeply into the origins of the Vietnam War, critiques U.S.
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