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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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