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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "The City in the Sea" (C), American Review, April 1845, 1:393

[page 393:]



LO! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far off in a region unblest,
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 scultured ivy and stone flowers —
Up many and many a marvelous shrine
Whose wreathëd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky
Around the mournful waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air.
No murmuring ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass —
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon a far-off happier sea —
No heavings hint that winds have been
On oceans not so sad-serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave — there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrown 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.



[S:1 - AR, 1845] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The City in the Sea (C)