Monday, February 20, 2012

"Scandinavian Ballad Stories: The Sunken City", F L Hoedt , by Robert Buchanan

From the book, Little Mermaids and Ugly Ducklings
Hans Christian Andersen's, The Little Mermaid; illustrator, Gennady Spirin

Scandinavian Ballad Stories, by Robert Buchanan

The Sunken City
F L Hoedt 

Where the sea is smiling
So blue and cold
There stood a city
In days of old;
But the black earth opened
To make a grave,
And the city slumbers
Beneath the wave.

Where life and beauty
Dwelt long ago,
The oozy rushes
And seaweeds grow;
And no one sees,
And no one hears,
And none remember
The far-off years.

But go there, lonely,
At eventide,
And hearken, hearken
To the lisping tide;
And faint sweet music
Will float to thee,
Like church bells chiming
Across the sea.

It is the olden,
The sunken town,
Which faintly murmurs
Far fathoms down;
Like the sea-winds breathing
It murmurs by,
And the sweet notes tremble,
And sink, and die.

Where now is moorland,
All dark and dry,
Where fog and night-mist
For ever lie,
Of old there blossomed,
Divinely free,
A flowery kingdom
Of Poesy.

A wondrous region
Of visions proud,
’Neath bright blue heaven
And white dream-cloud!
With scent of roses,
And song of birds,
And gentle zephyrs
Of loving words.

Each thing of beauty
The old earth bore,
Each tone, each odour,
(Alas! no more!)
By Art and Music
Were hither brought,
And grew eternal
In divinest thought.

Here lies the moorland,
All dark and dry,
Here fogs and night-mist
For ever lie;
And no one sees,
And no one hears,
And few remember
These far-off years.

But if thou hast not
In sin and strife
Forgot already
Thy childish life,
If things that harden
The human heart
Have not yet murdered
Thy nobler part—
Then on that moorland, 
In the summer dark,
While the wind sighs past thee,
Stand still and hark,
And a faint sweet music
Will float to thee,
Like church bells chiming
Across the sea.

It is the world
That once hath been,
Which sadly chimeth,
Itself unseen;
Like the sea-winds breathing,
The tones creep by—
They faint, they tremble,
And sweetly die !

Read the rest of Robert Buchanan's, Scandinavian Ballad Stories.

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