I am Basil Elton, keeper of the Northlight that my father and kept before me. Far from the shore stands the grey lighthouse, above sunken slimy that seen when the tide is , but unseen when the tide is high. that beacon for a have swept the of the seven seas. In the days of my there were many; in the days of my father not so many; and now there so few that I sometimes feel alone, as though I were the last man on our .
From far shores came those white-sailedof old; from far Eastern shores where warm suns shine and sweet linger about and . The old of the sea came often to my and told him of these things, which in he told to my father, and my father told to me in the long evenings when the wind howled eerily from the East. And I have read more of these things, and of many things besides, in the books men gave me when I was young and filled with wonder.
But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is thelore of . , green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or ; that is not . All my days have I watched it and listened to it, and I know it well. At first it told to me only the little tales of calm beaches and near , but with the years it grew more friendly and spoke of other things; of things more and more in and in time. Sometimes at twilight the grey of the have to me glimpses of the ways beyond; and sometimes at night the deep waters of the sea have grown and , to me glimpses of the ways beneath. And these glimpses have been as often of the ways that were and the ways that might be, as of the ways that are; for is more than the , and with the and the of Time.
Out of the South it was that the White Shipcome when the moon was full and high in the heavens. Out of the South it would glide smoothly and over the sea. And whether the sea was rough or calm, and whether the wind was friendly or , it would always glide smoothly and , its sails and its long of . One night I upon the a man, bearded and , and he to beckon me to for fair unknown shores. Many times afterward I saw him under the full moon, and ever did he beckon me.
brightly did the moon shine on the night I answered the , and I walked out over the waters to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams. The man who had beckoned now spoke a welcome to me in a soft I to know well, and the were filled with soft songs of the as we glided away into a South, golden with the glow of that full, mellow moon.
And when the day dawned, rosy and, I beheld the green shore of far lands, bright and , and to me unknown. Up from the sea rose lordly of , tree-studded, and shewing here and there the gleaming white roofs and of . As we drew nearer the green shore the bearded man told me of that land, the Land of Zar, where all the and thoughts of that come to men once and then forgotten. And when I looked upon the I saw that what he said was true, for among the sights before me were many things I had once seen through the mists beyond the and in the depths of . There too were and more than any I had ever known; the of young who in before the world could learn of what had seen and . But we did not set foot upon the sloping meadows of Zar, for it is told that who treads may nevermore to shore.
As the White Ship sailedaway from the of Zar, we beheld on the ahead the spires of a mighty ; and the bearded man said to me: “This is Thalarion, the of a Thousand Wonders, wherein all those that man has to fathom.” And I looked , at , and saw that the was greater than any I had known or of before. Into the the spires of its reached, so that no man might behold ; and far back beyond the stretched the grim, grey walls, over which one might only a few roofs, weird and , yet with rich and . I yearned mightily to this yet , and besought the bearded man to land me at the stone by the carven gate Akariel; but he my wish, saying: “Into Thalarion, the of a Thousand Wonders, many have but none . Therein walk only and mad things that no longer men, and the streets white with the unburied bones of those who have looked upon the Lathi, that over the .” So the White Ship sailed on the walls of Thalarion, and followed for many days a southward-flying bird, whose matched the out of which it had .
Then came we to awith blossoms of every hue, where as far inland as we could see lovely groves and beneath a sun. From buers beyond our came bursts of song and snatches of , with laughter so that I the rowers onward in my to reach the . And the bearded man spoke no word, but watched me as we the lily-lined shore. , a wind blowing from over the meadows and leafy woods brought a at which I . The wind grew stronger, and the was filled with the , of -stricken towns and . And as we sailed madly away from that the bearded man spoke at last, saying: “This is Xura, the Land of .”
So once more the White Ship followed the bird of heaven, over warm blessed seas fanned by, breezes. Day after day and night after night did we sail, and when the moon was full we would listen to soft songs of the , sweet as on that night when we sailed away from my far . And it was by moonlight that we at last in the harbour of Sona-Nyl, which is by twin headlands of that rise from the sea and meet in a . This is the Land of , and we walked to the shore upon a golden bridge of moonbeams.
In the Land of Sona-Nyl there is neither time nor, neither suffering nor death; and there I for many . Green the groves and , bright and the , and the streams, and cool the , and and the , , and of Sona-Nyl. Of that land there is no bound, for beyond each of rises another more . Over the and amidst the of rove at will the folk, of whom all gifted with unmarred and . For the that I there I wandered blissfully through where peep from of , and where the white walks with blossoms. I climbed hills from whose I could see of loveliness, with steepled towns nestling in , and with the golden of glittering on the . And I by moonlight the sparkling sea, the headlands, and the harbour wherein lay the White Ship.
It wasthe full moon one night in the year of Tharp that I saw outlined the beckoning of the bird, and felt the first stirrings of unrest. Then I spoke with the bearded man, and told him of my new yearnings to for Cathuria, which no man hath seen, but which all believe to lie beyond the basalt of the West. It is the Land of Hope, and in it shine the of all that we know elsewhere; or at least so men . But the bearded man said to me: “Beware of those seas wherein men say Cathuria lies. In Sona-Nyl there is no nor death, but who can tell what lies beyond the basalt of the West?” Natheless at the next full moon I boarded the White Ship, and with the bearded man left the harbour for seas.
And the bird of heaven flew before, and led us toward the basaltof the West, but this time the sang no soft songs under the full moon. In my mind I would often the unknown Land of Cathuria with its groves and , and would wonder what new there me. “Cathuria,” I would say to myself, “is the abode of gods and the land of of gold. Its of aloe and sandalwood, even as the groves of Camorin, and among the trees flutter birds sweet with song. On the green and of Cathuria stand of , rich with carven and , and having in cool of silver, where purl with the waters that come from the -born Narg. And the of Cathuria with golden walls, and also of gold. In the of these , and whose beds of coral and . At night the streets and the lit with from the three- shell of the , and here the soft of the singer and the . And the houses of the of Cathuria all , each built over a bearing the waters of the Narg. Of and porphyry the houses, and roofed with glittering gold that the of the sun and the of the as blissful gods from the . Fairest of all is the of the great Dorieb, whom some say to be a and others a god. High is the of Dorieb, and many the of upon its walls. In its wide halls many , and here hang the of the . And the roof is of gold, set upon tall of and , and having such carven of gods and that who looks up to those heights to upon the living Olympus. And the floor of the is of glass, under which flow the cunningly lighted waters of the Narg, with fish not known beyond the bounds of lovely Cathuria.”
Thus would I speak to myself of Cathuria, but ever would the bearded man warn me toback to the shores of Sona-Nyl; for Sona-Nyl is known of men, while none hath ever beheld Cathuria.
And on the thirty-first day that we followed the bird, we beheld the basaltof the West. Shrouded in mist were, so that no man might beyond or see — which indeed some say reach even to the heavens. And the bearded man me to back, but I heeded him not; for from the mists beyond the basalt I there came the of singer and ; sweeter than the sweetest songs of Sona-Nyl, and mine own ; the of me, who had far under the full moon and in the Land of .
So to theof the White Ship sailed into the mist betwixt the basalt of the West. And when the and the mist lifted, we beheld not the Land of Cathuria, but a swift- sea, over which our helpless was borne toward some unknown goal. Soon to our ears came the thunder of falling waters, and to our eyes on the far ahead the spray of a , wherein the of the world drop down to nothingness. Then did the bearded man say to me with tears on his cheek: “We have the Land of Sona-Nyl, which we may never behold |. The gods greater than men, and have .” And I my eyes before the crash that I knew would come, shutting out the sight of the bird which flapped its wings over the of the .
Out of that crash came darkness, and I heard theof men and of things which were not men. From the East winds arose, and chilled me as I on the of stone which had risen beneath my feet. Then as I heard another crash I opened my eyes and beheld myself upon the of that lighthouse from whence I had sailed so many ago. In the darkness there loomed the blurred outlines of a breaking up on the , and as I out over the I saw that the light had for the first time since my had its care.
And in the later watches of the night, when I went within the tower, I saw on the wall awhich still as when I had left it at the I sailed away. With the dawn I the tower and looked for upon the , but what I found was only this: dead bird whose hue was as of the , and a shattered , of a whiteness greater than that of the wave-tips or of the snow.
And thereafter thetold me its no more; and though many times since has the moon shone full and high in the heavens, the White Ship from the South came never .
I am Basil Elton, keeper of þe Norþ Head ligt þat my faþer and eldfaþer kept before me. Far from þe score stands þe grey ligthuse, abuf sunken slimy stones þat be seen hƿen þe tide is neþer, but unseen hƿen þe tide is hih. By þat beaken for a gearhundred haf sƿept þe stunning tall scips of þe sefen seas. In þe days of my eldfaþer þere ƿere many; in þe days of my faþer not so many; and noƿ þere be so feƿ þat I sometimes feel ƿeerdly alone, as þoug I ƿere þe last man on ure tungel.
From far scores came þose hƿite-sailed crafts of old; from far Eastern scores hƿere ƿarm suns scine and sƿeet smells linger abute utelandisc grofes and scining circes. Þe old sciplords of þe sea came often to my eldfaþer and told him of þese þings, hƿic in ƿend he told to my faþer, and my faþer told to me in þe long harfest efenings hƿen þe ƿind huled eerily from þe East. And I haf read more of þese þings, and of many þings besides, in þe books men gafe me hƿen I ƿas geung and filled ƿiþ ƿunder.
But more ƿunderful þan þe lore of old men and þe lore of books is þe hidden lore of sea. Heƿn, green, grey, hƿite, or black; smooþ, ruffled, or hihlandisc; þat sea is not calm. All my days haf I ƿaced it and listened to it, and I knoƿ it ƿell. At first it told to me only þe bare littel tales of calm beeces and near hafens, but ƿiþ þe gears it greƿ more frendly and spoke of oþer þings; of þings more utelandisc and more far-aƿay in room and in time. Sumtimes at tƿiligt þe grey mists of þe utelook haf sundered to gife me glimpses of þe ƿays beyond; and sumtimes at nigt þe deep ƿaters of þe sea haf groƿn sceer and gloƿing, to gife me glimpses of þe ƿays beneaþ. And þese glimpses haf been as often of þe ƿays þat ƿere and þe ƿays þat migt be, as of þe ƿays þat be; for sea is more fern þan þe barroƿs, and laden ƿiþ þe mins and þe sƿefens of Time.
Ute of þe Suþ it ƿas þat þe Hƿite Scip ƿould cum hƿen þe moon ƿas full and hige in þe hefens. Ute of þe Suþ it ƿould glide so smooþly and hƿistly ofer þe sea. And hƿeþer þe sea ƿas ruh or calm, and hƿeþer þe ƿind ƿas frendly or unƿilling, it ƿould alƿays glide smooþly and hƿistly, its sails far-off and its long ƿeerd layers of rudders scifting stedily. One nigt I glimpsed upon þe topside a man, bearded and scruded, and he looked to beckon me to leafe for fair unknoƿn scores. Many times afterƿard I saƿ him under þe full moon, and efer did he beckon me.
Sƿiþe brigtly did þe moon scine on þe nigt I ansƿered þe clepe, and I ƿalked ute ofer þe ƿaters to þe Hƿite Scip on a bricg of moonbeams. Þe man hƿo had beckoned noƿ spoke a ƿelcum to me in a soft tung I looked to knoƿ ƿell, and þe stunds ƿere filled ƿiþ soft songs of þe ruddersmen as ƿe glided aƿay into a riddling Suþ, golden ƿiþ þe gloƿ of þat full, melloƿ moon.
And hƿen þe day daƿned, rosy and dasling, I beheld þe green score of far lands, brigt and sceen, and to me unknoƿn. Up from þe sea rose lordly scelfes of greenness, tree-studded, and sceƿing here and þere þe gleeming hƿite roofs and beams of utelandisc circes. As ƿe dreƿ nearer þe green score þe bearded man told me of þat land, þe Land of Zar, hƿere abide all þe sƿefens and þougts of sceenness þat cum to men ons and þen be forgotten. And hƿen I looked upon þe scelfes eft I saƿ þat hƿat he said ƿas treƿ, for among þe sigts before me ƿere many þings I had ones seen þruh þe mists beyond þe utelook and in þe gloƿing depþs of sea. Þere too ƿere scapes and sƿefens more ƿunderful þan any I had efer knoƿn; þe sƿefens of yung scops hƿo cƿole in ƿiscfulness before þe ƿorld could lern of hƿat hy had seen and sƿefened. But ƿe did not set foot upon þe sloping meadoƿs of Zar, for it is told þat hy hƿo treads hem may nefermore eftcum to her homely score.
As þe Hƿite Scip sailed hƿistly aƿay from þe halloƿed scelfes of Zar, ƿe beheld on þe far utelook ahead þe spires of a migty stead; and þe bearded man said to me: “Þis is Þalarion, þe Stead of a Þusand Ƿunders, hƿerein abide all þose riddels þat man has ƿorked ƿorþless to faþom.” And I looked eft, at nearer breadþ, and saƿ þat þe stead ƿas greater þan any stead I had knoƿn or sƿefened of before. Into þe heafens þe spires of its circes reaced, so þat no man migt behold her tops; and far back begeond þe utelook streced þe grim, grey ƿalls, ofer hƿic one migt glimps only a feƿ roofs, ƿeerd and foreboding, get donned ƿiþ ric frills and spaning carfings. I gearned migtily to go into þis spellbinding get ƿiþstanding stead, and besougt þe bearded man to land me at þe stone hƿarf by þe great carfen gate Akariel; but he softly ƿiþsaid my ƿisc, saying: “Into Þalarion, þe Stead of a Þusand Ƿunders, many haf gone but none came back. Þerein ƿalk only defils and mad þings þat be no longer men, and þe streets be hƿite ƿiþ þe unberried bones of þose hƿo haf looked upon þe ƿraiþ Laþi, þat leads ofer þe stead.” So þe Hƿite Scip sailed on by þe ƿalls of Þalarion, and folloƿed for many days a suþƿard-flying bird, hƿos glistening feaþers maced þe heafens ute of hƿic it had arisen.
Þen came ƿe to a mild seaboard ric ƿiþ blossoms of efery heƿ, hƿere as far inland as ƿe could see baþed lufly grofes and gleeming ƿineframes beneaþ a midday sun. From boƿers begeond our sigt came bursts of song and snaces of ƿordly friþ, bestreƿn ƿiþ soft laffter so heafenly þat I besaƿt þe roƿers onƿard in my keenness to reace þe setting. And þe bearded man spoke no ƿord, but ƿaced me as ƿe came near þe lily-lined score. Scortly, a ƿind bloƿing from ofer þe blossomed meadoƿs and leafy ƿoods brougt a smell at hƿic I scook. Þe ƿind greƿ stronger, and þe lift ƿas filled ƿiþ þe deadly, lichuse stenc of sickness-stricken tunes and open grafegeards. And as ƿe sailed madly aƿay from þat loaþesum score þe bearded man spoke at last, saying: “Þis is Xura, Þe Land of Lusts Unfulfilled.”
So ons more þe Hƿite Scip folloƿed þe bird of heafen, ofer ƿarm blessed seas fanned by fondling, sƿeet breeses. Day after day and nigt after nigt did ƿe sail, and hƿen þe moon ƿas full ƿe ƿould listen to soft songs of þe ruddersmen, sƿeet as on þat far nigt hƿen ƿe sailed aƿay from my far homeland. And it ƿas by moonligt þat ƿe moored at last in þe harber of Sona-Nyl, hƿic is ƿarded by tƿin headlands of hurst þat rise from þe sea and meet in a scining boƿ. Þis is þe Land of Frills, and ƿe ƿalked to þe green score upon a golden bricg of moonbeams.
In þe Land of Sona-Nyl þere is neiþer time nor room, neiþer suffering nor deaþ; and þere I abode for many elds. Green be þe grofes and feelds, brigt and sƿeet-smelling þe blossoms, heƿn and gleefull þe streams, sceer and cool þe springs, and aþel and lufly þe circes, strongholds, and steads of Sona-Nyl. Of þat land þere is no bund, for beyond eac site of sceenness rises anoþer more sceen. Ofer þe upland and amidst þe ƿunder of steads rofe at ƿill þe bliþe folk, of hƿom all be gifted ƿiþ unmarred lufliness and ƿemless blissfulness. For þe elds þat I abode þere I ƿandered blissfully þreƿ grofes hwere hƿimsiful scrines peep from handsum crudes of scrubs, and hƿere þe hƿigt ƿalks be hemmed ƿiþ soft blossoms. I climbed mild hills from hƿos tops I could see spellbinding oferlooks of lufliness, ƿiþ steepled tunes nestling in blooming dales, and ƿiþ þe golden caps of hƿopping steads glittering on þe endlessly far utelook. And I saƿ by moonligt þe sparkling sea, þe hurst headlands, and þe still harber hƿerein lay moored þe Hƿite Scip.
It ƿas upon þe full moon one nigt in þe unending gear of Þarp þat I saƿ utelined þe beckoning scape of þe heafenly bird, and felt þe first stirrings of unrest. Þen I spoke ƿiþ þe bearded man, and told him of my neƿ gearnings to leafe for faraƿay Caþuria, hƿic no man haþ seen, but hƿic all beleefe to lie beyond þe basalt beams of þe Ƿest. It is þe Land of Hope, and in it scine þe hƿolesum beleeffs of all þat ƿe knoƿ elsehƿere; or at least so men say. But þe bearded man said to me: “Beƿare of þose þretening seas hƿerein men say Caþuria lies. In Sona-Nyl þere is no scaþe nor deþ, but hƿo can tell hƿat lies begeond þe basalt beams of þe Ƿest?” Naþeless at þe next full moon I boarded þe Hƿite Scip, and ƿiþ þe ƿary bearded man left þe bliþe harber for unfared seas.
And þe bird of heafen fleƿ before, and led us toƿard þe basalt beams of þe Ƿest, but þis time þe ruddersmen sang no soft songs under þe full moon. In my mind I ƿould often see þe unknoƿn Land of Caþuria ƿiþ its ƿunderful grofes and halls, and ƿould ƿunder hƿat neƿ mirþs þere foresaƿ me. “Caþuria,” I ƿould say to myself, “is þe abode of gods and þe land of unrimed steads of gold. Its ƿoods be of aloe and sandalƿood, efen as þe sƿeet smelling grofes of Camorin, and among þe trees flutter sceen birds sƿeet ƿiþ song. On þe green and blossomed barroƿs of Caþuria stand circes of rosy marmstone, ric ƿiþ carfen and draƿn ƿolders, and hafing in her geards cool springs of silfer, hƿere purl ƿiþ dasling song þe sƿeet smelling ƿaters þat come from þe scraff-born stream Narg. And þe steads of Caþuria be hemmed ƿiþ golden ƿalls, and her floorings also be of gold. In þe grofes of þese steads be ƿeerd ballockƿorts, and sƿeet smelling mere hƿos beds be of coral and elksand. At nigt þe streets and þe groves be lit ƿiþ brigt ligtfats scaped from þe þree-heƿed scell of þe scellpad, and here scill þe soft ringing of þe singer and þe harper. And þe huses of þe steads of Caþuria be all great halls, eac bilt ofer a sƿeet smelling ƿaterƿay bearing þe ƿaters of þe holy Narg. Of marmstone and porfyry be þe huses, and roofed ƿiþ glittering gold þat þroƿs back þe beams of þe sun and strengþens þe ƿunder of þe steads as blissful gods see hem from þe far-flung caps. Fairest of all is þe hall of þe great king Dorieb, hƿom sum say to be a halfgod and oþers a god. Hige is þe hall of Dorieb, and many be þe spires of marmstone upon its ƿalls. In its ƿide halls many manifolds gaþer, and here hang þe keepsakes of þe elds. And þe roof is of clean gold, set upon tall beams of red and heƿn, and hafing suc carfen licenesses of gods and heleþs þat hy hƿo looks up to þose higts strikes to look upon þe lifing Olympus. And þe floor of þe hall is of glass, under hƿic floƿ þe cunningly lited ƿaters of þe Narg, ric ƿiþ scoƿy fisc not knoƿn beyond þe bunds of lufly Caþuria.”
Þus ƿould I speak to myself of Caþuria, but efer ƿould þe bearded man ƿarn me to ƿend back to þe bliþe scores of Sona-Nyl; for Sona-Nyl is knoƿn of men, hƿile none haþ efer beheld Caþuria.
And on þe þirty-first day þat ƿe folloƿed þe bird, ƿe beheld þe basalt beams of þe Ƿest. Scruded in mist hy ƿere, so þat no man migt look begeond hem or see her caps — hƿic indeed sum say reac efen to þe hefens. And þe bearded man onss more bade me to ƿend back, but I heeded him not; for from þe mists begeond þe basalt beams I liced þere came þe ringing of singer and harper; sƿeeter þan þe sƿeetest songs of Sona-Nyl, and singing mine oƿn ƿorþs; þe ƿorþs of me, hƿo had fared far under þe full moon and abode in þe Land of Frills.
So to þe lude of song þe Hƿite Scip sailed into þe mist betƿixt þe basalt beams of þe Ƿest. And hƿen þe glee ended and þe mist hove, ƿe beheld not þe Land of Caþuria, but a sƿift-floƿing ƿiþstandless sea, ofer hƿic ure helpless scip ƿas borne toƿard sum unknoƿn goal. Soon to ure ears came þe far þunder of falling ƿaters, and to ure eyes arose on þe far utelook ahed þe titanisc spray of a great ƿaterfall, hƿerein þe seas of þe ƿorld drop dune to unending noþingness. Þen did þe bearded man say to me ƿiþ tears on his ceeck: “Ƿe haf forsaken þe fair Land of Sona-Nyl, hƿic ƿe may nefer behold eft. Þe gods be greater þan men, and hy haf ofercum.” And I scut my eyes before þe crasc þat I kneƿ ƿould cum, scutting ute þe site of þe heafenly bird hƿic flapped its unkind ƿoaden ƿings ofer þe ecg of þe falls.
Ute of þat crasc came darkness, and I heard þe huling of men and of þings hƿic ƿere not men. From þe East stormy ƿinds arose, and cilled me as I stooped on þe cut of sodden stone hƿic had risen beneaþ my feet. Þen as I herd anoþer crasc I opened my eyes and beheld myself upon þe scelf of þat ligthuse from hƿenss I had sailed so many elds ago. In þe darkness beneaþ þere loomed þe great blurred utelines of a craft breaking up on þe efil stones, and as I looked ute ofer þe ƿrack I saƿ þat þe ligt had trucked for þe first time sinss my eldfaþer had undernumb its care.
And in þe later ƿaces of þe nigt, hƿen I ƿent ƿiþin þe tuer, I saƿ on þe ƿall a rimebook hƿic still held as hƿen I had left it at þe stund I sailed aƿay. Ƿiþ þe daƿn I ƿent doƿn þe tuer and looked for ƿrack upon þe stones, but hƿat I fund ƿas only þis: a ƿeerd dead bird hƿos heƿ ƿas as of þe heƿn heafens, and a lone scattered spear, of a hƿiteness greater þan þat of þe ƿafe-tips or of þe barroƿ snoƿ.
And þereafter þe sea told me its riddels no more; and þoug many times sinss has þe moon scon full and hige in þe heafens, þe Hƿite Scip from þe Suþ came nefer eft.