Plate 7: The Siren's alluring song asks us to leave comfortable certainty behind and to meet her on a dubious shore. In return, she promises beauty and illumination. Is she teaching, or teasing?
The Sirens of myth sing entrancing songs from rocky coasts, luring sailors to shipwreck and destruction. Their song promises knowledge of secrets, of the past and of the future. They promise "all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all!" Jane Ellen Harrison comments, "It is strange and beautiful that Homer should make the Sirens appeal to the the spirit, not to the flesh."
We've heard a Siren's song of unification.
This painting "The Siren" (1900, oil on canvas) is by John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 - February 10, 1917), described by Wikipedia as "an English Pre-Raphaelite painter most famous for his paintings of female characters from mythology and literature. He belonged to the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood."
Wikipedia is also the source for this image of the painting, and for the belief that it is copyright-free.