Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Image by Denise Sallee
© Denise Sallee 2015
In the first months of serious research into Ella Young's life and writings I discovered she was included in John Matthew's anthology The Book of Celtic VerseThus began our collaboration which led to the publishing by Skylight Press  of
At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young.

The following poem also appears in The Book of Celtic Verse.  William Sharp, writing as, or through, Fiona McLeod is a fascinating story.  I have often wondered if Ella and William knew each other - have yet to see any proof but their poetry has so many similar themes and they share a romantic and mystical style.

The poem seems to have first appeared in the periodical The Pall Mall Magazine, Volume 32 (1904).  It was later published in The Writings of "Fiona Macleod" [pseud.], Volume 7, Duffield, 1910.  Anyone interested in reading more of Sharp's writings should try William Sharp (Fiona Macleod) a Memoir, Volume 2, Duffield, 1912.  William Sharp, Elizabeth Amelia Sharp. Duffield, 1910.  The William Sharp "Fiona Macleod" Archive at the Institute of English Studies,  University of London is also a good source for further exploration. 


"The four cities of the world that was: the sunken city of Murias, and the city of Gorias, and the city of Finias,
and the city of Falias." 
(Ancient Gaelic Chronicle.)

Finias and Falias,

Where are they gone?

Does the wave hide Murias--

Does Gorias know the dawn?

Does not the wind wail

In the city of gems?

Do not the prows sail

Over fallen diadems

And spires of dim gold

And the pale palaces

Of Murias, whose tale was told

Ere the world was old?

Do women cry Alas! . . .

Beyond Finias?

Does the eagle pass

Seeing but her shadow on the grass

Where once was Falias:

And do her towers rise

Silent and lifeless to the frozen skies?

And do whispers and sighs

Fill the twilights of Finias

With love that has not grown cold

Since the days of old?

Hark to the tolling of bells

And the crying of wind!

The old spells

Time out of mind,

They are crying before me and behind!

I know now no more of my pain,

But am as the wandering rain

Or as the wind's shadow on the grass

Beyond Finias of the Dark Rose:

Or, 'mid the pinnacles and still snows

Of the Silence of Falias

I go: or am as the wave that idly flows 

Where the pale weed in songless
thickets grows

Over the towers and fallen palaces

Where the Sea-city was,

The city of Murias.

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