Charon and His Charge.

τί εἶναι μαῦρα τὰ βουνὰ, καὶ στέκουν βουρκωμένα;
Why look the distant mountains so gloomy and so drear ?1
Are tempests sweeping o’er them, or is the rain-cloud near ?2
No shadow of the tempest is there, nor wind, nor rain,—3
’Tis Charon that is passing by with all his gloomy train.4
The young men march before him, in all their strength and pride ;5
The tender little infants, they totter by his side ;6
The old men walk behind him—and earnestly they pray,7
Both young and old, imploring him to grant a brief delay.8
O Charon ! halt, we pray thee, beside some little town,9
Or near some sparkling fountain where the waters wimple down.10
The old will drink and be refresh’d—the young the disc will fling,11
And the tender little children pluck flowers beside the spring.”12
I will not stay my journey, nor halt by any town13
Near any sparkling fountain where the waters wimple down :14
The mothers, coming to the well, would meet the babes they bore,15
The wives would know their husbands—nor could I part them more.”16