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Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. (Kafka, 1917)


She must just have left the sea. Her hair and lips smelled of the sea till the morning...

How lovely the sea has risen in the open sea. Her hair taught me about waves; I tossed and tossed around dreams.


The Sirens, says one, are the charms of the Gulf of Naples. No, says another; they were chaste priestesses. They were neither chaste nor priestesses, but exactly the reverse. They were sunbeams. They were perilous cliffs. They were a race of peaceful shepherds. They were symbols of persuasion. They were cannibals. They were planetary spirits. They were prophets. They were a species of Oriental owl. They were the harmonious faculties of the soul. (N. Douglas, 1909)


Long ago, the Sirens engaged the Muses in a singing-contest. They were worsted, and the Muses decked themselves with their enemies’ feather-plumes. (N.Douglas, 1909)


It is rather puzzling when one comes to think of it, to conceive how the old Sirens passed their time on days of wintry storm. Modern ones would call for cigarettes, Grand Marnier, and a pack of cards, and bid the gale howl itself out. (N.Douglas, 1909)


The journey of art is long, and, you have to discard the ancient ballast, you have to leave aside the dearest dreams, to regret and to sigh at what you have left behind; we must say goodbye to the land of imagination and leave for the rugged country of the truth [‌] And if it feels like being in exile, we are antique visionaries, sons and grandsons of dreamers, we are not going to say that we are exiled. He, who wrote the Neapolitan legends, would not write them again: they are for him, the abandoned country, a vanished dream, his soul freed from a sweet disease:  regret is in his heart perhaps, but no one can count his secret tears.

(M.Serao, 1890)


There are many different opinions about the whereabouts of her tomb, though in fact many believe that she is still living, that she still runs over the hills and roams the shores. She is the one who intoxicates our city with light and colour, who makes the sea glow, the town overflow with joy; she is who makes us pine and turn pale with love ‌ Parthenope is immortal, she is love, and Naples is the city of love. (M.Serao, 1890)



Siren Land