ROMANCES OF LOST CITIES.
"Between Land's End and Scilly rocks
Sunk lies a town that ocean mocks.
Where breathes the man that would not weep O'er such fine climes beneath the deep?"
Historical Records of Ancient Cornwall
"And oh how short are human
Here ended all our golden dreams."
-- JONATHAN SWIFT
THE notion of cities and extensive tracts of cultivated country being under the waters of the ocean and of lakes appears to have existed from all time. In the "Arabian Nights," we have constant references to lands under the sea; and in the traditionary stories of all Celtic people the same idea presents itself in some form or other. Mr Campbell appears to confound stories of mermaids with those traditions which have their origin in actual physical changes. They appear to me to have little relation to each other. [a]
In addition to the traditions given of large tracts of land which have been lost in the sea, I have given those which relate to cities, or towns, or churches which have been buried in the sands. These traditions are of the same general character.
This subject deserves a much more careful investigation than it has yet received. I hope simply to draw attention to the subject, and to show that those dim traditions point to some buried truth. They are like the buried lights which are supposed to indicate the resting-places of the dead.
[a] See West Highland Tales, by J. F. Campbell. Vol. iii. p. 410.