In a strange city, all 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
Are not like any thing of ours
Oh no! O no! ours never loom
To heaven with that ungodly gloom!
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 holy rays from heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town,
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently
Up thrones up long-forgotten bowers
Of scultur'd ivy and stone flowers
Up domes up spires up kingly halls
Up fanes up Babylon-like walls
Up many a melancholy shrine
Whose entablatures intertwine
The mask the viol and the vine.
There open temples open graves
Are on a level with the waves
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye,
Not the gaily-jewell'd dead
Tempt the waters from their bed:
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass
No swellings hint that winds may be
Upon a far-off happier sea:
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from the high towers of the town
Death looks gigantically down.
But lo! a stir is in the air!
The wave there is a ripple there!
As if the towers had thrown aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide
As if the turret-tops had given
A vacuum in the filmy heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow
The very hours are breathing low
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down, that town shall settle hence,
All Hades, from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence,
And Death to some more happy clime
Shall give his undivided time.
Edgar Allan Poe