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Mermaid, Dragon, Fiend Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Graves Type: Poetry Views: 314

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In my childhood rumors ranOf a world beyond our door-

Terrors to the life of manThat the highroad held in store.Of mermaids' doleful gameIn deep water I heard tell,

Of lofty dragons belching flame,Of the hornèd fiend of Hell.Tales like these were too absurdFor my laughter-loving ear:

Soon I mocked at all I heard,Though with cause indeed for fear.Now I know the mermaid kinI find them bound by natural laws:

They have neither tail nor fin,But are deadlier for that cause.Dragons have no darting tongues,Teeth saw-edged, nor rattling scales;

No fire issues from their lungs,No black poison from their tails:For they are creatures of dark air,Unsubstantial tossing forms,

Thunderclaps of man's despairIn mid-whirl of mental storms.And there's a true and only fiendWorse than prophets prophesy,

Whose full powers to hurt are screenedLest the race of man should die.Ever in vain will courage plotThe dragon's death, in coat of proof;

Or love abjure the mermaid grot;Or faith denounce the cloven hoof.Mermaids will not be deniedThe last bubbles of our shame,

The Dragon flaunts an unpierced hide,The true fiend governs in God's name.


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