The Kraken

Original Text: 
Works, ed. Lord Tennyson Hallam (London: Macmillan, 1907-08): 19.
2Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
3His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
4The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
5About his shadowy sides: above him swell
6Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
7And far away into the sickly light,
8From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
10Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
11There hath he lain for ages and will lie
12Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
13Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
14Then once by man and angels to be seen,
15In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Notes

1] Kraken: "A mythical sea-monster of enormous size, said to have been seen at times off the coast of Norway" (OED, 1755-). Charles Douglas, in "An Account of the Result of some Attempts Made to Ascertain the Temperature of the Sea in great Depths," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 60 (1770): 39-43, said that he inquired after the "aquatic animals" called the Kraakens, with "dimensions ... far beyond the scale of nature", but never encountered anyone who had heard of a living person having seen one and so believed that they "never existed otherwise than in imagination" (41). Back to Line
9] polypi: squids. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1830
Publication Notes: 
Poems, Chiefly Lyrical
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: