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over the surface of heaven, — the Scorpion extending two great arms, his tail, and his crooked claws over the space of two signs of the zodiac, — when the boy beheld him, reeking with poison and menacing with fangs, his courage failed, and the reins fell from his hands. The horses, unrestrained, went off into unknown regions of the sky, in among the stars, hurling the chariot over pathless places, now up in high heaven, now down almost to the earth. The moon saw with astonishment her brother's chariot running beneath her own. The clouds began to smoke. The forest-clad mountains burned, — Athos and Taurus and Tmolus and Ete; Ida, once celebrated for fountains; the Muses' mountain Helicon, and Hæmus; Ætna, with fires within and without, and Parnassus, with his two peaks, and Rhodope, forced at last to part with his snowy crown. Her cold climate was no protection to Scythia ; Caucasus burned, and Ossa and Pindus, and, greater than both, Olympus, — the Alps high in air, and the Apennines crowned with clouds.
Phaëton beheld the world on fire, and felt the heat intolerable. Then, too, it is said, the people of Æthiopia became black because the blood was called by the heat so suddenly to the surface; and the Libyan desert was dried up to the condition in which it remains to this day. The Nymphs of the fountains, with dishevelled hair, mourned their waters, nor were the rivers safe beneath their banks; Tanaïs smoked, and Caïcus, Xanthus, and Mæander; Babylonian Euphrates and Ganges, Tagus, with golden sands, and Cajster where the swans resort. Nile fled away and hid his head in the desert, and there it still remains concealed. Where he used to discharge his waters through seven mouths into the sea, seven dry channels alone remained. The earth cracked open, and through the chinks light broke into Tartarus, and frightened the king of shadows and his queen. The sea shrank up. Even Nereus and his wife Doris, with the Nereïds, their daughters, sought the deepest caves for refuge. Thrice Neptune essayed to raise his head above the surface, and thrice was driven back by the heat. Earth, surrounded as she was by waters, yet with head and shoulders bare, screening her face with her hand, looked up to heaven, and with husky voice prayed Jupiter if it were his will that she should perish by fire, to end her agony at once by his thunderbolts, or else to consider his own heaven, how both the poles were smoking that sustained his palace, and that all must fall if they were destroyed.
Earth, overcome with heat and thirst, could say no more. Then Jupiter, calling the gods to witness that all was lost unless some speedy remedy were applied, thundered, brandished a lightning bolt in his right hand, launched it against the charioteer, and struck him at the same moment from his seat and from existence. Phaëton, with his hair on fire, fell headlong, like a shooting star which marks the heavens with its brightness as it falls, and Eridanus, the great river, received him and cooled his burning frame. His sisters, the Heliades, as they lamented his fate, were turned into poplar trees, on the banks of the river; and their tears, which continued to flow, became amber as they dropped into the stream. The Italian Naiads reared a tomb for him, and inscribed these words upon the stone:
“ Driver of Phoebus' chariot, Phaëton,
Struck by Jove's thunder, rests beneath this stone.
$ 76. It was not, however, only by accident, or by the ill-advised action of those whom he loved, that Apollo's gifts of light and heat were turned into misfortunes. Mortals who offended him were levelled by the cruel sunstroke, by arrows of malarial venom, of manifold sickness and death.
The Plague sent upon the Greeks before Troy. – When the host of the Achæans was encamped before Troy, the king of men, Atrides, unjustly declined to restore his captive, Chryseis of the
1 Hic situs est Phaëton, currus auriga paterni,
Quem si non tenuit, magnis tamen excidit ausis. - OviD.
The story will be found in the Metam. 2: 1-400.
fair cheeks, to her father Chryses, the priest of far-darting Apollo. Then the aged Chryses went apart, and prayed aloud, “Hear me,
god of the silver bow, . . . let the Danaans pay by thine arrows for my tears !”.
So spake he in prayer; and Phoebus Apollo heard him, and came down from the peaks of Olympus wroth at heart, bearing on his shoulders his bow and covered quiver. And the arrows clanged upon his shoulders in his wrath, as the god moved; and he descended
like to night. Then he sate him aloof from the ships, and let an arrow fly; and there was heard a dread clanging of the silver bow. First did he assail the mules and fleet dogs, but afterward, aiming at the men his piercing dart, he smote; and the pyres of the dead burnt continually in multitude. Nor until Agamemnon had sent back his winsome captive to her father did Apollo remove from the Danaans the loathsome pestilence.
$ 77. The Punishment of Niobe is another illustration of the swift and awful vengeance of Apollo, and also of his sister Diana. This Niobe was the daughter of a certain Tantalus, king of Phrygia, who had been received at the table of the gods by his father, Jupiter. But there was a strain of ingratitude and conceit in both father and daughter. The father not only betrayed the secrets of the gods, but, to ridicule their reputed omniscience, attempted, at a banquet, to deceive them into eating the roasted flesh of his own son Pelops. The gods were not deceived. Pelops was restored to life, — Tantalus consigned to Tartarus. The daughter, Niobe, although she owed her happy marriage with Jupiter's son Amphion, and her seven stalwart sons and seven blooming daughters, to the favor of the gods, and of Latona in particular, boasted of her birth, her marriage, and her offspring, bragged of her superiority to Latona, and, on one occasion, scoffed at the annual celebration in
* From Lang, Leaf & Myers's Iliad, 1: 43-52.
honor of the goddess and her two children. Surveying the people of Thebes with haughty glance, she said, “What folly to prefer beings whom you have never seen to those who stand before your eyes! Will you prefer to me this Latona, the Titan's daughter, with her two children? I have seven times as many. Were I to lose some of my children, I should hardly be left as poor as Latona with her two only. Put off the laurel from your brows, - have done with this worship!” The people left the sacred services uncompleted.
The goddess was indignant. On the Cynthian mountain top she thus addressed her son and daughter: "My children, I who have been so proud of you both, and have been used to hold myself second to none of the goddesses except Juno alone, begin now to doubt whether I am indeed a goddess. I shall be deprived of my worship altogether unless you protect me.” She was proceeding in this strain, but Apollo interrupted her. “Say no more," said he; “speech only delays punishment.” So said Diana also. Darting through the air, veiled in clouds, they alighted on the towers of the city. Spread out before the gates was a broad plain, where the youth of the city pursued their warlike sports. The sons of Niobe were there with the rest, — some mounted on spirited horses richly caparisoned, some driving gay chariots. Ismenos, the first-born, as he guided his foaming steeds, was struck by an arrow from above. “Ah me!” he cried, — dropped the reins and fell lifeless. Another, hearing the sound of the bow, gave the rein to his horses and attempted to escape. The inevitable arrow overtook him as he fled. Two others, younger, stood, wrestling, breast to breast: one arrow pierced them both. Alphenor, an elder brother, hastened to the spot to render assistance, but fell in the act of brotherly duty. One only was left, Ilioneus. “Spare me, ye gods !” he cried, addressing all of them, in his ignorance that all needed not his supplication ; and Apollo would have spared him, but the arrow had already left the string, and it was too late.
When Niobe was acquainted with what had taken place, she was indignant that the gods had dared and amazed that they had been able to do it. Her husband, Amphion, overwhelmed with the blow, destroyed himself. But the mother knelt over the lifeless bodies, and kissed them Raising her pallid arms to heaven, “Cruel Latona,” said she, “satiate thy hard heart, while I follow to the grave my seven sons. Yet where is thy triumph? Bereaved
as I am, I am still richer than thou, my conqueror." Scarce had she spoken, when the bow sounded and struck terror into all hearts except Niobe's alone. She was brave from excess of grief. Her daughters stood in garments of mourning over the biers of their dead brothers. One after another they fell, struck by arrows, beside the corpses that they were bewailing. Only one remained, whom the mother held clasped in her arms, and covered, as it were, with her whole body. “Spare me one, and
that the youngest! Oh,
· spare me one of so many !” she cried; and while she spoke, that one fell dead. Desolate she sat, among sons, daughters, husband, all dead, and seemed torpid with grief. The breeze moved not her hair, no color was on her cheek, her eyes glared fixed and immovable, there was no sign of life about her. Her very tongue cleaved to the roof of her mouth, and her veins ceased to convey the tide of life. · Her neck bent not, her arms made no gesture, her foot no step. She was changed to stone, within and without. Yet tears continued to