Sep 27, 2021
Welcome to Season 5 of The Well Read Poem with poet and
classicist Thomas Banks. Throughout this season, we will be
exploring the poetry of Walter de la Mare. De la Mare was a great
Gothic writer and was very interested in the atmosphere of the
uncanny. Poem begins at timestamp 2:33. Check out our sister
podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of
By Walter de la Mare
- It was the Great Alexander,
Capped with a golden helm,
Sate in the ages, in his floating ship,
In a dead calm.
Voices of sea-maids singing
Wandered across the deep:
The sailors labouring on their oars
Rowed as in sleep.
All the high pomp of Asia,
Charmed by that siren lay,
Out of their weary and dreaming minds
Like a bold boy sate their Captain,
His glamour withered and gone,
In the souls of his brooding mariners,
While the song pined on.
Time like a falling dew,
Life like the scene of a dream
Laid between slumber and slumber
Only did seem. . . .
O Alexander, then,
In all us mortals too,
Wax not so overbold
On the wave dark-blue!
Come the calm starry night,
Who then will hear
Aught save the singing
Of the sea-maids clear?