Saturday, October 22, 2005

The City in the Sea by Edgar Allen Poe

Lo! Death has reared himselfa 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 that 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 marvelous 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.

Once again I am doing another Poe poem (I just love his stuff). I think that what made this poem capture my attention was the use of descriptive language this world is literally created before you eyes. It shows good use of descriptive detail by using unusual images to create this world. I think that the sea is an interesting location for this underworld place that he has created, because images of heaven are usually in the sky. It is also interesting that he associated this land heaven but this land of the dead is melencholy and he establishes a tone in the first stanza that is traditionally un-heavenlike. I also decided to look back at Annabell Lee another poem of his I have done for this blog, and I found it interesting that there were images of the sea throghout that poem as well. He reapeats over and over in that poem "In the city by the sea" and he also associated images of her death with the sea by placing her coffin by the sea and using phrases such as "nights tide." In poem again the sea is associated with death, and this makes me wonder if this is a recurring theme throughout his poems.


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