The New Charon:

A poem by Robert Herrick


The musical part being set by Mr. Henry Lawes.



Euc. Charon, O Charon, draw thy boat to th' shore,
And to thy many take in one soul more.
Cha. Who calls? who calls? Euc. One overwhelm'd with ruth;
Have pity either on my tears or youth,
And take me in who am in deep distress;
But first cast off thy wonted churlishness.
Cha. I will be gentle as that air which yields
A breath of balm along the Elysian fields.
Speak, what art thou? Euc. One once that had a lover,
Than which thyself ne'er wafted sweeter over.
He was---- Cha. Say what? Euc. Ah me, my woes are deep.
Cha. Prithee relate, while I give ear and weep.
Euc. He was a Hastings; and that one name has
In it all good that is, and ever was.
He was my life, my love, my joy, but died
Some hours before I should have been his bride.
Chorus. Thus, thus the gods celestial still decree,
For human joy contingent misery.
Euc. The hallowed tapers all prepared were,
And Hymen call'd to bless the rites. Cha. Stop there.
Euc. Great are my woes. Cha. And great must that grief be
That makes grim Charon thus to pity thee.
But now come in. Euc. More let me yet relate.
Cha. I cannot stay; more souls for waftage wait
And I must hence. Euc. Yet let me thus much know,
Departing hence, where good and bad souls go?
Cha. Those souls which ne'er were drench'd in pleasure's stream,
The fields of Pluto are reserv'd for them;
Where, dress'd with garlands, there they walk the ground
Whose blessed youth with endless flowers is crown'd.
But such as have been drown'd in this wild sea,
For those is kept the Gulf of Hecate,
Where with their own contagion they are fed,
And there do punish and are punished.
This known, the rest of thy sad story tell
When on the flood that nine times circles hell.
Chorus. We sail along to visit mortals never;
But there to live where love shall last for ever.

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