Hark, hark! what sound is yon I hear,
Borne hither on the billows clear?
Is it the voice of the restless seas--
Or the murmur of the rising breeze?
Is it the distant sea-boy's song
As homeward bounds his bark along?
No, 'tis the syren of the deep
Arisen from her noon-day sleep!
Where the sun's setting rays just tinge with gold
The smooth and sparkling waves her form behold!
Amidst the flowing tides
How gracefully she glides!
Now, casting back her tresses bright,
She beams on me a glance of light--
She greets me with a rosy smile,
That might the coldest heart beguile,
And with her white transparent hand
She calls me from the pebbly strand;
While far around her wild voice rings,
And these the words the tempter sings:
"Mortal, list! 'Midst earth's green vales,
All fair and flowery though they seem,
Soon youth decays, soon pleasure fails,
And happiness is but a dream.
But here, within the crystal sea,
For ever young--for ever gay--
From cares, and toils, and sorrows free,
We sport the pleasant hours away.
"Thy restless race ne'er cease to rove
In anxious search of phantom good;
Ye may seek mountain, mead, and grove,
Yet never there shall she be woo'd.
But come with me to my ocean-home,
For joys thou dream'st not of are here--
Joys bright as yonder curling foam,
For ever changing, ever dear.
"Treasures to earth-born men unknown
Lie hidden in dark caves below;
These treasures shall be all thine own,
Mortal, if thou with me wilt go.
Come then, the mermaid's shelly grot--
Her bower of coral--come and see!
And be thine every care forgot
Beneath the deep, with love and me!"