• The City in the Sea

    Poem lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe (1845 )

    Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
    In a strange city lying alone
    Far down within the dim West,
    Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
    Have gone to their eternal rest.
    There shrines and palaces and towers
    (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
    Resemble nothing that is ours.
    Around, by lifting winds forgot,
    Resignedly beneath the sky
    The melancholy waters lie.

    No rays from the holy heaven come down
    On the long night-time of that town;
    But light from out the lurid sea
    Streams up the turrets silently -
    Gleams up the pinnacles far and free -
    Up domes - up spires - up kingly halls -
    Up fanes - up Babylon-like walls -
    Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
    Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers -
    Up many and many a marvellous shrine
    Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
    The viol, the violet, and the vine.
    Resignedly beneath the sky
    The melancholy waters lie.
    So blend the turrets and shadows there
    That all seem pendulous in air,
    While from a proud tower in the town
    Death looks gigantically down.

    There open fanes and gaping graves
    Yawn level with the luminous waves;
    But not the riches there that lie
    In each idol's diamond eye -
    Not the gaily-jewelled dead
    Tempt the waters from their bed;
    For no ripples curl, alas!
    Along that wilderness of glass -
    No swellings tell that winds may be
    Upon some far-off happier sea -
    No heavings hint that winds have been
    On seas less hideously serene.

    But lo, a stir is in the air!
    The wave - there is a movement there!
    As if the towers had thrust aside,
    In slightly sinking, the dull tide -
    As if their tops had feebly given
    A void within the filmy Heaven.
    The waves have now a redder glow -
    The hours are breathing faint and low -
    And when, amid no earthly moans,
    Down, down that town shall settle hence,
    Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
    Shall do it reverence.

     

    The Enchanted Isle

    Poem lyrics by Luke Aylmer Conolly (I8I3)

    To Rathlin's Isle I chanced to sail 
    When summer breezes softly blew, 
    And there I heard so sweet a tale, 
    That oft I wished it could be true.

    They said, at eve, when rude winds sleep, 
    And hushed is ev'ry turbid swell, 
    A mermaid rises from the deep, 
    And sweetly tunes her magic shell.

    And while she plays, rock dell and cave 
    In dying falls the sound retain, 
    As if some choral spirits gave 
    Their aid to swell her witching strain.

    Then summoned by that dulcet note, 
    Uprising, to th' admiring view, 
    A fairy island seems to float 
    With tints of many a gorgeous hue.

    And glittering fanes, and lofty towers, 
    All on this fairy isle are seen; 
    And waving trees, and shady bowers, 
    With more than mortal verdure green.

    And as it moves, the western sky 
    Glows with a thousand varying rays; 
    And the calm sea, tinged with each dye, 
    Seems like a golden flood of blaze.

    They also say, if earth or stone, 
    From verdant Erin's hallowed land, 
    Were on this magic island thrown, 
    For ever fixed, it then would stand,

    But, when for this, some little boat 
    In silence ventures from the shore- 
    The mermaid sinks - hushed is the note, 
    The fairy isle is seen no more!