Leagues, leagues over the sea I sail
Couched on a wallowing dolphin's tail.
The sky is on fire, the waves a-sheen,
I dabble my foot in the billows green.
In a sea-weed hat on the rocks I sit,
where tern and sea-mew glide and beat,
and where dark shadows the cormorants meet.
In caverns cool when the tide's a wash,
I sound my conch to the watery splas
From out their grottos at evenings beam,
the mermaids swim with locks agleam.
The sea maid from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream by Arthur Rackham
To where I watch on the yellow sands,
and they pluck sweet music with sea-cold hands.
They bring me coral and amber clear.
But when the stars in heaven appear,
their music ceases, they glide away.
They swim for their grottos across the bay.
Then listen only to my shrill tune,
the surfy tide, and the wondering moon.
Mermaids have reputations, like those of the Srens, for luring men to live with them beneatb the sea, especially if they are young and handsome. Sailors, who are isolated from women by their careers and are particularly susceptible, say that they have seen them sitting on rocks at the site of such dangerous places as reefs and whirlpools, singing to themselves, coaxing the unwary to come closer. The wind is the Mermaid's song and in stormy weather she can be seen dancing on the waves.
Mermaids can sometimes be captured and kept for the knowledge that they can give to humans, particularly their understanding of herbal lore and the ability to prophesy by foretelling the advent of catastrophes, tidal waves and storms. The greatest wish of a Mermaid is to gain a human soul but only rarely can she achieve this, for she must first transform herself into an aeriel spirit and cause no harm for 300 years.
Might there be a creature waiting
Eternally for none at all?
Roaming what was always hers
Mysterious and all alone?
And as she glides in total silence
Inbetween vast coral reefs
Despair is swallowed by the waves until there's nothing left