Cemetery Lights – “Charite’s Revenge”

This black metal project from Rhode Island USA is releasing their debut full-length later this summer via Nuclear War Now. Titled The Underworld, the LP explores several elements of the Greek afterlife. Some preview tracks are available here: https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/…/the-underwo…

But for now, let’s focus on some earlier material (for which we have lyrics available). It’s clear that classical mythology and history have been a deep-seated interest in this project since its inception last year. “Charite’s Revenge” opens the band’s debut 2018 EP Lemuralia, and relates a tale embedded in Book 8 of the Metamorphoses, a Roman novel written in the 2nd century BCE by the philosopher Apuleius. The overall story is that of a man named Lucius who is magically turned into a donkey and undergoes a series of escapades, including many run-ins with gangs of highwaymen, before he is redeemed and rehumanized by the goddess Isis.

During his adventure, Lucius meets a woman named Charite, who is taken captive by a gang of bandits before her husband Tlepolemus rescues her. Later in the story, it is learned that this couple, though reunited, met a tragic end. Tlepolemus had a friend, Thrasyllus, who secretly lusted after Charite. Thrasyllus plotted to murder Tlepolemus on a hunting trip, framing a wild boar as the assailant. Thrasyllus then pursued Charite, but she soon learned of the truth, and exacted her own revenge by first drugging Thrasyllus with a sleeping potion then gouging out his eyes. Having accomplished this, she ran to her husband’s tomb, pulled out a sword and ran herself through to join Tlepolemus in death. Thrasyllus, plunged in eternal darkness and wracked with guilt for betraying his friend and his own beloved, ended his own suffering by locking himself within Tlepolemus’ tomb and starving himself to death. It is a bloody tale of magic and murder worthy of black metal, especially the kind with old school sensibilities such as Cemetery Lights. It explores the lengths to which our base human instincts can drive us, even if it leads us to reap what we sow.

Such a dreadful tale of Thrasyllus
The depths to which lust plummets a man
His desire was the hand of fair Charite
But only his undoing he did reap

Into the wild to make a hunt
Thrasyllus and Tlepolemus, brothers in arms
The former did covet his fellow’s wife
And slew him under a feral beast’s guise

Deprived of Tlepolemus, Charite fell crazed
Starved and destitute, lamenting great
Until Thrasyllus could no longer bide his time
And petitioned for her to be his wife

Charite, struck aghast, did retreat
In dreams came Tlepolemus and told his fate
Awake the chaste wife hatched a vengeful plan
With drugged cup to the lips of wicked man

The blood of thine eyes poured as libation
To sate the grave where belov’d Tlepolemus sleep
Dream that thou art in the hands of the mercy
Thou shalt think Tlepolemus’ fate more sweet

Murderer!

Charite flew to her husband’s tomb in triumph
And fell upon her sword, revenge fulfilled
Blind Thrasyllus went upon the lovers’ sepulchre
Enclosed himself, and starved to death at will

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