legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish
Mermaids are mythological aquatic creatures with a female human head and torso and the tail of a fish. Mermaids are represented broadly in folklore, literature and popular culture.
- To aid your toils, to scatter death,
Swift, as the sheeted lightning's force,
When the keen north-wind's freezing breath
Spreads desolation in its course,
My soul within this icy sea,
Fulfils her fearful destiny.
Thro' Time's long ages I shall wait
To lead the victims to their fate;
With callous heart, to hidden rocks decoy,
And lure, in seraph-strains, unpitying, to destroy.
- Anne Bannerman, 'The Mermaid' (1800)
- O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears.
- Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song:
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
- Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?
I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb I would sing and say,
"Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"
- Alfred Tennyson, The Mermaid; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 511.
- Slow sail'd the weary mariners and saw,
Betwixt the green brink and the running foam,
Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
To little harps of gold; and while they mused
Whispering to each other half in fear,
Shrill music reach'd them on the middle sea.
- Alfred Tennyson, The Sea Fairies; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 511.
- A mermaid found a swimming lad
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.
- William Butler Yeats, "A Man Young And Old: III. The Mermaid" (1926).