The rough clad boatman sighs
and leans upon his pole. He speaks:
“Didn’t the Sibyl warn you;
didn’t she say the gates of Death
swing wide to welcome those who come
but close tight behind, secure
once they are in?
“You must have read the notice
posted there at the entrance
to this place of woe:
‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’
“War is hell – even you acknowledge this -
and the descent into hell is easy. The road is wide,
but to turn and climb back up to peaceful air,
to leave the stygian marshes,
is a struggle, a labor that few can meet.
“Yet you are known for near Herculean feats…”
The boatman sighs again,
then rises from his pole:
“No. Your coin is paid, your path is set;
proceed onward, downward into the dark.
You’ll not have strength to turn round now,
encumbered as you are with arms and armor.”