Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SIRENS, by EDWIN ARNOLD



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THE SIRENS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Across the quiet bay / at end of day
Last Line: Better than that fair land and fatal singing.
Subject(s): Sirens (Mythology)


ACROSS the quiet bay
At end of day
With lazy dip of oars a bark is flitting,
Upon the yellow sands,
Waving their hands,
Three women, fairer than of earth, are sitting.

And one with painted water-weeds is weaving garlands rare,
And one is stringing speckled shells to bind her black silk hair;
And one with rosy fingers wakes the life o' the silver strings,
And with clear note and throbbing throat enchantingly she sings.

Wander no more on the wearying wave,
Seek ye no farther a mariner's grave:
Leave the dull dash of the laboring oar,
Turn from the tempest, and hasten to shore.
Come! are the planks of the plashy deck
Pillow as soft as a woman's neck?
Come! will the roar of the ravenous deep
Lull ye like singing to dreamy sleep
Come! ye shall lie through the spangled night
Circled in arms of the warmest white:
Come! ye shall dance through the sunny day
Watching the winds and the waters play:
Come to us! come! for we know the best
Where the bunches of purple are juiciest:
Come! ye shall pluck them and press them well
Drinking their blood from the white sea-shell.
Come! we have kisses and love for each,
Turn the brass beak to the shelving beach.
Never was here dull Pain or carking Sorrow,
But ever bright to-day promises brighter morrow.

"No sorrow here!" they sang, and each in turn took up the strain,
Harping upon that subtle harp the same sweet song again.
And still with dainty wreathed arms, and white, inviting breast,
They wooed them to the Golden Isle, the home of happy rest.
But there along the deep
Lay a ghastly heap
Of white bones, bleaching all the summer long;
Relics they were
Of the marinere.
Who heard and passioned at the pleasant song.

So the galley bent her sail
To the rising gale,
And over the silver seas her way went winging,
Trusting the noise
Of the tempest's voice
Better than that fair land and fatal singing.





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