Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Song: ‘Hear, ye sullen powers below!’
By John Dryden (1631–1700)
    HEAR, 1 ye sullen powers below!
      Hear, ye taskers of the dead!
    You that boiling cauldrons blow!
      You that scum the molten lead!
    You that pinch with red-hot tongs!        5
    You that drive the trembling hosts
    Of poor ghosts
    With your sharpened prongs!
    You that thrust them off the brim!
    You that plunge them when they swim        10
    Till they drown;
        Till they go
        On a row
    Down, down, down,
  Ten thousand, thousand, thousand fathoms low—
Chorus.  Till they drown, etc.
    Music for a while
    Shall your cares beguile:
      Wondering how your pains were eased!
      And disdaining to be pleased!
    Till Alecto free the dead        20
      From their eternal bands;
    Till the snakes drop from her head,
      And whip from out her hands.
    Come away,
    Do not stay,        25
    But obey,
    While we play,
    For hell’s broke up, and ghosts have holiday.

Chor.  Come away, etc.
  Laius! Laius! Laius!
  Hear! Hear! Hear!        30
Tiresias.  Hear and appear!
  By the Fates that spun thy thread!
Chor.  Which are three—
Tir.  By the judges of the dead!
Chor.  Which are three—        35
        Three times three—
Tir.  By hell’s blue flame!
    By the Stygian lake!
  And by Demogorgon’s name
    At which ghost’s quake!        40
  Hear and appear!
Note 1. From the Tragedy of Œdipus, 1679. [back]

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