Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TWO COMETS, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE TWO COMETS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There once dwelt in olympus some notable oddities
Last Line: Think the west is before them, and phaeton driving.
Subject(s): Comets

THERE once dwelt in Olympus some notable oddities,
For their wild singularities called Gods and Goddesses. --
But one in particular beat 'em all hollow,
Whose name, style, and title was Phoeligbus Apollo.
Now Phoeligbus was a genius --his hand he could turn
To any thing, every thing genius can learn:
Bright, sensible, graceful, cute, spirited, handy,
Well bred, well behaved -- a celestial Dandy!
An eloquent god, though he didn't say much;
But he drew a long bow, spoke Greek, Latin, and Dutch;
A doctor, a poet, a soarer, a diver,
And of horses in harness an excellent driver.
He would tackle his steeds to the wheels of the sun,
And he drove up the east every morning, but one;
When young Phaeton begged of his daddy at five,
To stay with Aurora a day, and he'd drive.
So good-natured Phoeligbus gave Phaey the seat,
With his mittens, change, waybill, and stage-horn complete;
To the breeze of the morning he shook his bright locks,
Blew the lamps of the night out, and mounted the box.
The crack of his whip, like the breaking of day,
Warmed the wax in the ears of the leaders, and they
With a snort, like the fog of the morning, cleared out.
For the west, as young Phaey meant to get there about
Two hours before sunset
He looked at his "turnip,"
And to make the delay of the old line concern up,
He gave 'em the reins; and from Aries to Cancer,
The style of his drive on the road seemed to answer;
But at Leo, the ears of the near-wheel horse pricked,
And at Virgo the heels of the off leader kicked;
Over Libra the whiffle-tree broke in the middle,
And the traces snapped short, like the strings of a fiddle.
One wheel struck near Scorpio, who gave it a roll,
And set it to buzz, like a top, round the pole;
While the other whizzed back with its linchpin and hub,
Or, more learnedly speaking, its nucleus or hub;
And, whether in earnest, or whether in fun,
He carried away a few locks of the sun.
The state of poor Phaeton's coach was a blue one,
And Jupiter ordered Apollo a new one;
But our driver felt rather too proud to say "Whoa,"
Letting horses, and harness, and every thing go
At their terrified pleasure abroad; and the muse
Says, they cut to this day just what capers they choose;
That the eyes of the chargers as meteors shine forth;
That their manes stream along in the lights of the north;
That the wheels which are missing are comets, that run
As fast as they did when they carried the sun;
And still pushing forward, though never arriving,
Think the west is before them, and Phaeton driving.

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