Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


The Sirens (Listen, ye mariners! hark to our promises!)

by Bayard Taylor

Listen, ye mariners! hark to our promises!
Prouder than pleasure the gifts we confer:
Though unto passion the Siren gives passion,
He who seeks power receives it from her!

Labor no longer, confronting the turbulent
Elements, ever opposing your will:
Secrets we know, knowing all things, immortal, --
Equal with gods your desires to fulfil.

Secrets that chain in his caverns the Thunder,
Fetter the winds when they eagerest are:
Loosen the stream from its urns in the mountain,
Ay, and the vaults of the earthquake unbar!

Come, and the delicate spell shall be spoken,
Subtly to seize, and securely to bind, --
Wisdom and eloquence, honeyed persuasion,
Giving ye mastery over your kind.

Men shall adore ye, and even Immortals
Stoop from their thrones in Olympian flame:
All that have conquered and triumphed before ye
Dust shall become at the feet of your fame!


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston