The Siren (1864). Sir Edward Poynter (British, 1836-1919). Oil on canvas. The Sirens were three sea nymphs who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. Argonauts passed by unharmed with the help of Orpheus, the poet drowning out their music with his song. Odysseus also sailed by, bound tightly to the mast, his men blocking their ears with wax. The Sirens were so distressed to see a man hear their song and yet escape, that they threw themselves into the sea and drowned.