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Poem by William Edmondstoune Aytoun


The Refusal of Charon


Why look the distant mountains
	So gloomy and so drear?
Are rain clouds passing oer them,
	Or is the tempest near?
No shadow of the tempest
	Is there, nor wind nor rain
Tis Charon that is passing by,
	With all his gloomy train.

The young men march before him,
	In all their strength and pride;
The tender little infants,
	They totter by his side;
The old men walk behind him,
	And earnestly they pray
Both old and young imploring him
	To grant some brief delay.

O Charon! halt, we pray thee,
	Beside some little town,
Or near some sparkling fountain,
	Where the waters wimple down!
The old will drink and be refreshed,
	The young the disc will fling,
And the tender little children
	Pluck flowers beside the spring.

I will not stay my journey,
	Nor halt by any town,
Near any sparkling fountain,
	Where the waters wimple down:
The mothers coming to the well
	Would know the babes they bore,
The wives would clasp their husbands,
	Nor could I part them more.



William Edmondstoune Aytoun


William Edmondstoune Aytoun's other poems:
  1. Blind Old Milton
  2. The Old Camp
  3. Epitaph of Constantine Kanaris
  4. The Broken Pitcher
  5. The Execution of Montrose


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