Line 1: “Cable strands, the arching path”
Line 3: “Moonlight syncopate” – By definition syncopate is cited from the Oxford English Dictionary as “to begin (a note) on an unaccented part; to introduce syncopation into (a passage).” In this reference Crane connects the moonlight as an entity that is putting accentation on a part that is usually given no emphasis, in this situation the moon shining on the cables of the bridge.
Line 7: “Sibylline”- which refers to the characteristics of a prophetic purpose, creates the godly transcendence of the bridge. According to critics, “Crane’s Sibylline voices stream upward; his night-illuminated bridge becomes a transparent musical score, until Orpheus is born out of the flight of strings”.
Line 11: “Labyrinthine”- Meaning “pertaining to, or of the nature or form of, a labyrinth; having or consisting of many intricate turnings or windings” (OED).
Line 24: “Palladium”- By definition palladium is cited from the Oxford English Dictionary as “an image of the goddess Pallas (Athene) in the citadel of Troy whose presence was believed to guarantee the safety of the city”. In this inclusion, Crane infers that there is almost a divine watch from the “helm of stars” that gives the bridge an ethereal feel.
Line 25: “Like seagulls stung with rime”- Rime is spelled with an “i” mimicking the spelling of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, leading readers to believe the seagulls and albatross from the acclaimed British work share a connection.
Line 32: “Mythic spears”- Critics tend to view the mythic spear as a final act performed by Crane himself in his writing of Atlantis, as “The Bridge embodies the journey that has preceded it, and it leads ‘to Thee, O Love!’ It reveals the unity and harmony of the entire world under the aegis of the love of Atlantis. The reaching of Atlantis is for the poet a self-realization of the ‘intrinsic Myth’ of the imagination, and this realization empowers him to perform his final act, the writing of the poem itself, the casting of his own ‘mythic spear’” (Tratchenberg 127). According to Sugg, another critic of the mythic spear, “the section in series render the poet’s movement through states of consciousness (note Crane’s reference to the “body” of the continent) toward his own unitive act the perception-creation of the Bridge. It is this latter act which liberates the poet into the mythic realm of the creative imagination, symbolized by Atlantis in which state he is empowered to cast a ‘mythic spear’ of his own, i.e., to write The Bridge“.
Through the bound cable…