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Charon And Philomel; a Dialogue Sung

by Robert Herrick, 1648

Ph. Charon! O gentle Charon! let me woo thee
  By tears and pity now to come unto me.
Ch. What voice so sweet and charming do I hear?
  Say what thou art. Ph. I prithee first draw near.
Ch. A sound I hear, but nothing yet can see;
  Speak, where thou art. Ph. O Charon pity me!
  I am a bird, and though no name I tell,
  My warbling note will say I’m Philomel.
Ch. What’s that to me? I waft nor fish or fowls,
  Nor beasts, fond thing, but only human souls.
Ph. Alas for me! Ch. Shame on thy witching note
  That made me thus hoist sail and bring my boat:
  But I’ll return; what mischief brought thee hither?
Ph. A deal of love and much, much grief together.
Ch. What’s thy request? Ph. That since she’s now beneath
  Who fed my life, I’ll follow her in death.
Ch. And is that all? I’m gone. Ph. By love I pray thee.
Ch. Talk not of love; all pray, but few souls pay me.
Ph. I’ll give thee vows and tears. Ch. Can tears pay scores
  For mending sails, for patching boat and oars?
Ph. I’ll beg a penny, or I’ll sing so long
  Till thou shalt say I’ve paid thee with a song.
Ch. Why then begin; and all the while we make
  Our slothful passage o’er the Stygian Lake,
  Thou and I’ll sing to make these dull shades merry,
  Who else with tears would doubtless drown my ferry.

Published in Hesperides

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