A dialogue between Charon and Orpheus (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2015-03-13)  CPDL #34785:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2015-03-13).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 143 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: A dialogue between Charon and Orpheus

Composer: Henry Purcell

Number of voices: 2vv   Voicing: BB
Genre: SecularAria

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published:

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

(Orpheus) Haste, haste gentle Charon haste, I prithee come,
And waft me to the blest Elysium,
Through whose cool shade with wand'ring souls I'll flee
Till I have found the fair Eurydice.
Sure he's asleep and hears me not,
So ho!
Awake dull man, awake!
thou dost not know
The pains that parted lovers undergo.

(Charon) What voice is this I hear?
no mortal dare
Invade these gloomy regions of despair,
Where sullen clouds have chas'd away the light,
And drawn dark curtains of eternal night.
And winged Mercury perhaps may bring
Some message to the great infernal King.
Speak, who art thou?

(Orpheus) I prithee come and see,
'Tis Orpheus calls.

(Charon) Then Orpheus wait on me.

(Orpheus) For pity's sake let me no longer stay,
Each minute seems to be a lasting day.

(Charon) The rising tides by angry winds are met,
And swell so high my boat will overset.
I dare not stir.

(Orpheus) Fear not, the winds shall cease,
I'll charm their rage to gentle calms of peace.

(Charon) Then come aboard and whilst we sail along,
Divert the storm by some delightful song.

Be still, still, be still, ye proud waves and your fury give o'er,
Retire all ye winds, and oppose them, oppose them no more;
In the dark, hollow caverns your revels go keep,
Then void of disturbance, then void of disturbance the billows may sleep;
And when they awake they'll be calm and appear
As gentle as if the great Pluto were here.