The Charioteer

Erichthonios, first to yoke a horse
Unto a chariot and steer its course
Amongst mankind, and lead them in parade
That honour to Athena might be paid;
And Zeus beheld his skill and was impressed,
Convinced that he should be forever blessed,
He placed him in the sky. As for his birth,
It was the product of both strife and earth.
Hephaistos loved Athena, but she would not
Consent, and hid her in a certain spot
In Attica: but he thought to force his will,
But failed, and on the ground his seed did spill.
Athena struck him with her spear, that naught
Did he receive of all that he had sought.
After this she kicked dust over his seed,
But yet from this a son sprang up with speed.
‘Twas Erichthonios, and like his sire,
He forged a chariot within the fire.
And so he got his name from earth and strife,
For these two things were what brought him to life.
But others say that he was born a snake,
A form most terrible to make one quake
With fear. But who can know the mystery
Except perhaps for a divinity?

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