The City In The Sea

Lo! Death has reared 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 sculptured ivy and stone flowers- 
Up many and many a marvellous 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 
Deathlooks 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.