Dialogue betwixt Oliver Cromwell and Charon (Henry Hall)

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  • (Posted 2022-03-29)  CPDL #68611:         
Editors: Mick Swithinbank and Jonathan Goodliffe (submitted 2022-03-29).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 300 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Dialogue betwixt Oliver Cromwell and Charon
Composer: Henry Hall
Lyricist: Not knowncreate page
Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: TB.SAB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1685
Description: a dialogue concluding with a chorus of furies

External websites:

From the“Theatre of music” published by John Playford 1685 volume 2 page 47

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Haste, Charon, haste, 'tis Noll commands thy speed,
Charon, I'm he that made three king-doms bleed.

Proud soul, so black's thy guilt, I know thee well,
thou dost those shades in colour far excel
and seem'st a beauty spot to whiten hell.

Dear Charon, haste, vast streams of injured blood pursue,
and horrid is its cry and dreadful is its hue.

Stay, stay, how guilty must thou be,
who choosest hell for sanctuary;
thy weighty crimes will never let thee float,
but singly thou wilt sink my mighty boat.

Charon, no more delay, you now presume too far,
remember, remember what I was in war.
Did Charles and shall not I pass o'er the lake?

Weak shade! Thou art too bold and dost mistake;
still diff'rent ways great Charles and thou did'st move,
thy course was downward, still his still above.
I saw him ascend whilst angels stooped down
to present a new throne and the loss of his head
to repay with a huge double crown.
Look yonder! I saw the bright troop on the wing
and as they did fly, so spotless and bright was the king
that him from his new brother angels I could not descry
Then opened wide Elisium's radiant gate
and in they flew in gay triumphant state;
and then, so well God and man the martyr did love,
good men wept below, saints rejoiced all above.

'Twas brave and by the praise thou'st giv'n,
thou'st made me what I never was, in love with heav'n!
but Charles from his seat shall remove,
though heavens slight mine, and his actions approve;
as once upon earth, I'll dethrone him above. I to Elisium hence will go.

No, tyrant, no, to dens full of horror thou headlong must fall,
and with furies as black as thy treasons must dwell,
and there as little mercy as thou shewed'st must feel.

Chorus of furies
Drag him down, drag him down to th'abyss.
Let flames and vast serpents about him still roll,
and as he does pitiless, pitiless howl;
let the flames ever scorch him and at him in scorn,
the serpents still hiss, still hiss,
drag him down and make the wretch know
proud tyrants on earth, on earth, shall be slaves here below.