The Happy Mariners
From ‘Tale of Eärendel’ – Book of lost Tales Volume II
I know a window in a Western tower
that opens on celestial seas,
and there from wells of dark behind the stars
blows ever cold a keep unearthly breeze.
It is a white tower builded on the Twilit Isles,
and springing from their everlasting shade
it glimmers like a house of lonely pearl,
where lights forlorn take harbour ere they fade.
Its feet are washed by waves that never rest.
There silent boats go by into the West
all piled and twinkling in the dark
with orient fire in many a hoarded spark
that divers won
in the waters of the rumoured Sun.
There sometimes throbs below a silver harp,
touching the heart with sudden music sharp;
or far beneath the mountains high and sheer
the voices of grey sailors echo clear,
afloat among the shadows of the world
in oarless ships and with their canvas furled,
chanting a farewell and a solemn song:
for wide the sea is, and the journey long.
O happy mariners upon journey far,
beyond the grey islands and past Gondobar,
to those great portals on the final shores
where far away constellate fountains leap,
and dashed against Night’s dragon-headed doors
in foam of stars fall sparkling in the deep!
While I, alone, look out behind the moon
from in my white and windy tower,
ye bide no moment and await no hour,
but go with solemn song and harpers’ tune
through the dark shadows and shadowy seas
to the last land of the Two Trees,
whose fruit and flower are moon and sun,
where light of earth of ended and begun.
Ye follow Eärendel without rest,
the shining mariner, beyond the West,
who passed the mouth of night and launched his bark
upon the outer seas of everlasting dark.
Here only comes at whiles a wind to blow
returning darkly down the way ye go,
with perfume laden of unearthly trees.
Here only long afar through window-pane
I glimpse the flicker of the golden rain
that falls for ever of the outer seas.
Submitted by Arfaen