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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "The City in the Sea" (G), The Poets and Poetry of America (10th edition), 1850, p. 418






[page 418, continued, column 1:]

THE CITY IN THE SEA.
 
——

    LO! Death has rear'd 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 scultured ivy and stone flowers —
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathéd 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 gayly-jewell'd 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 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 — [column 2:]
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.









Notes:

None.







 
[S:1 - PPA-10th, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The City in the Sea (G)