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Nicean Barks

or Nycean Barks. Edgar Poe, in his lyric To Helen, says-

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently o'er a perfumed sea
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

The way-worn wanderer was Dionysos or Bacchus, after his renowned conquests. His native shore was the Western Horn, called the Amalthean Horn. And the Nicean barks were vessels sent from the island Nysa, to which in infancy Dionysos was conveyed to screen him from Rhea. The perfumed sea was the sea surrounding Nysa, a paradisal island.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Nicean Barks from Infoplease:

  • Nicean Barks - Nicean Barks or Nycean Barks. Edgar Poe, in his lyric To Helen, says- Helen, thy beauty is to me ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: N - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "N"

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