by Thomas Lisle, Dr. (1709 - 1767)

When Orpheus went down to the regions...
Language: English 
When Orpheus went down to the regions below,
  Which men are forbidden to see,
He tun'd up his Lyre, as [old histories]1 show,
  To set his Euridice free.

All Hell was astonish'd a person so wise
  Should [rashly]2 endanger his life,
And venture so far -- but how vast their surprise,
  When they heard that he came for his Wife!

To find out a punishment due to [his]3 fault
  Old Pluto [long]4 puzzl'd his brain;
But Hell had not torments sufficient, he thought,
  So he gave him his Wife back again.

But pity, succeeding, [found place in his heart]5,
  And, pleas'd with his playing so well,
He took her again, in reward of his Art:
  Such [merit]6 had Music in Hell!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Note: A version of this exists as copied down (or possibly written down from memory given the discrepancies) by Benjamin Franklin.
1 Franklin's copy: "historians"
2 Franklin's copy : "so rashly"
3 Boyce, Franklin's copy: "the"
4 Boyce, Franklin's copy: "had"
5 Boyce: "soon vanquished his"; Franklin's copy: "soon mov'd his hard heart"
6 Boyce and Franklin's copy: "power"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 120