Archive for June 29th, 2017

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Song of the Syren Parthenope by Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson

A Rhapsody, written at Naples.

Mine are these waves, and mine the twilight depths
O’er which they roll, and all these tufted isles
That lift their backs like dolphins from the deep,
And all these sunny shores that gird us round!

Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid’s shell!
Ye who have wander‘d hither from far climes,
(Where the coy summer yields but half her sweets,)
To breathe my bland luxurious airs, and drink
My sunbeams! and to revel in a land
Where Nature—deck’d out like a bride to meet
Her lover—lays forth all her charms, and smiles
Languidly bright, voluptuously gay,
Sweet to the sense, and tender to the heart.

Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid’s shell;
Ye who have fled your natal shores in hate
Or anger, urged by pale disease, or want,
Or grief, that clinging like the spectre bat,
Sucks drop by drop the life-blood from the heart,
And hither come to learn forgetfulness,
Or to prolong existence! ye shall find
Both—though the spring Lethean flow no more,
There is a power in these entrancing skies
And murmuring waters and delicious airs,
Felt in the dancing spirits and the blood,
And falling on the lacerated heart
Like balm, until that life becomes a boon,
Which elsewhere is a burthen and a curse.

Hear then—O hear the Sea-maid’s airy shell,
Listen, O listen! ’tis the Syren sings,
The spirit of the deep—Parthenope—
She who did once i’ the dreamy days of old
Sport on these golden sands beneath the moon,
Or pour’d the ravishing music of her song
Over the silent waters; and bequeath’d
To all these sunny capes and dazzling shores
Her own immortal beauty, and her name.

From: Jameson, Mrs., The Diary of an Ennuyée: A new edition, 1836, Baudry’s European Library: Paris, p. 98.

Date: 1826

By: Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson (1794-1860)