The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith


Awestruck we entered a high-vaulted, endless corridor of polished bone-white marble veined exquisitely with blood. From some distant alcove a sagacious voice chanted the chronicles of our past and future lives in this and other more maledict dimensions.

With this long-awaited publication of Clark Ashton Smith's Black Book we are privileged to explore the sources of a dazzling, omniscient, cosmic scholar-artist. In page after fascinating page we discover rare crystals of cosmic perception. What astounds is the clarity, focus, and intensity of the direct inspiration, the brilliant raw material of superterrestrial genius as we see it unpretentiously recorded in a master's idea book. Smith's jottings radiate infinite understanding just as his completed poems and weird tales offer the reader incredible insight into cosmic forces and conflicts, whether within the mind of each individual or within the immeasurable powers beyond infinity. A devotee of Smith will enjoy contemplating the profound transformation of these uninhibited, omnific ideas from The Black Book into finished works of art. Anyone unfamiliar with Smith will be joyfully overwhelmed by this introduction to an ineffable depth of cosmic vision. In the creations of Smith's mind, a highly polished mirror of the cosmic forces that shape our existence, the reader can clearly see and understand what would otherwise appear merely remote or bizarre.

Tremendous credit must go to the unrelenting scholars who made this long-awaited publication of Clark Ashton Smith's Black Book possible. The labor of transcription by R. A. Hoffman and Donald Sidney-Fryer demanded unlimited patience and diligence. The extensive annotation by Donald Sidney-Fryer relates The Black Book to the total creation of Smith in an extremely useful and informative manner.

The reader will be delighted with the addition of the two memoirs by George F. Haas, "As I Remember Klarkash-Ton" and "Memories of Klarkash-Ton." Here is a perceptive, personal view of Clark Ashton Smith, the remarkable scholar-artist who freely offers us the supreme wisdom gained from his unique cosmic outlook.

Marvin R. Hiemstra


Foreword, by Marvin R. Hiemstra : v

The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith

A Note on the Text : ix
Explanation of Editorial Devices : xii
Index by Title : xiii
The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith : 1
Excerpts from The Black Book : 75
Appendix of Finished Poems : 83
Appendix of Published Epigrams and Pensées : 99

Two Memoirs of Smith by George F. Haas

As I Remember Klarkash-Ton : 109
Memories of Klarkash-Ton : 131

A Note on the Text

The Black Book is the notebook used Clark Ashton Smith for a period of about thirty years from 1929 to 1961, the year of Smith's death. It contained not only literary matter, but also, toward the end of the book, miscellaneous nonliterary material. The present text retains all the literary matter.

The notebook was of course never intended for publication, although a number of excerpts chosen by Smith appeared in the amateur magazine The Acolyte as "Excerpts from The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith" in the issue of Spring 1944 and as "The Philosophy of the Weird Tale" in the issue of Fall 1944 (see items E:2-13). During R. A. Hoffman's visit to Smith on the Sunday of August 22nd, 1945, Smith had shown his notebook to Hoffman, who then suggested that some suitable excerpts might prove of interest to readers of The Acolyte. Smith agreed to this, and while they were considering a possible title for the book, Hoffman, struck by its black leather cover, suggested The Black Book, which Smith readily accepted; as he had long been accustomed to referring to his notebook by this very title, that is, as his "black book." (In due course Smith selected and prepared a number of excerpts which he then sent on to Hoffman, who in turn transmitted them to Francis T. Laney, the chief editor of The Acolyte.)

Smith died on the 14th of August 1961, and his widow, the former Carol Jones Dorman, traveling to recover from the loss of her husband, passed through and spent several days in Los Angeles in the early part of October. Upon her departure she entrusted The Black Book to the temporary care of R. A. Hoffman (who returned the notebook to Mrs. Smith in March 1962). Hoffman together with one of his friends, Donald Sidney-Fryer, decided that the book should be transcribed and preserved for the benefit of the students of Smith's work. They commenced the decipherment and transcription on the 14th of October, two months after Smith's death, and by the following 14th of November, one month later, they had succeeded in deciphering, transcribing, and editing all the literary matter in the notebook. In the next few weeks subsequent to the last date, Hoffman and Fryer together proofread with great care their transcription, checking it at all times against the original. Then, during the month of December, they individually proofread the transcription, Hoffman first and then Fryer, each referring to the original manuscript whenever any doubt or question would arise as to the accuracy of a given passage or word. Finally, during the last week of January 1962, during the month of February and during the first week of March, Hoffman and Fryer undertook their ultimate proofreading of the present transcription, checking it always against the original notebook. Altogether then, the present text in its entirety has been proofread a total of four times; and it has been checked against the original notebook overall a total of three times (the first time during the decipherment and transcription, the second during the original dual proofreading, and the third time during the fourth and ultimate proofreading), not to mention the added checking needed for especially difficult or questionable passages and words. Most of these difficulties were eventually solved with the aid of a magnifying glass. However, a few ultimately questionable words remain.

The notebook was bound in a black leather cover 8 1/8 inches long by 6 1/4 inches wide by 11/16 inches thick, the width of the spine. It was written on white loose-leaf lined paper, each sheet 7 3/4 inches long by 5 inches wide, with 37 lines to the page. It was written predominantly in black ink and occasionally in blue ink, except for one section written in violet ink (see items V:1-11) and except for a few miscellaneous notes written in pencil (see items M:2-5). It was written in an almost indecipherable scribbled long hand. A quondam system of check marks employed in checking titles, epigrams, and so forth, has proved infeasible to reproduce in the present Arkham House edition. The order of the material is not perfectly chronological, as the order of such in the original notebook was, of course, not perfectly chronological, new pages and items being inserted among the old.

For Smith's own description of his notebook, the reader is referred to the author's note preceding the "Excerpts from The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith" (see item E:1).

The transcribers have attempted, throughout their particular process of decipherment and transcription, to be as faithful as possible to the original notebook, even retaining words crossed out or other- wise obliterated, as well as reproducing all textual inconsistencies and incorrectnesses. Thus, apart from a very few, very minor editings, the reader has before him the text of The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith exactly as it was at the time of his death.

Donald Sidney-Fryer
Pacific Palisades, California
March 1962

Explanation of Editorial Devices

All editorial annotation is indicated by brackets: [ ]

Words crossed out or otherwise obliterated are indicated
by double parentheses: (())
or by underlining and over lining combined: Replaced with strike through in this electronic edition

In the instance wherein a plot-germ, plot-sketch, and so on, has a title different from the finished tale or poem or poem in prose, or has no title at all then the title of the finished literary product is manifested within brackets.

Questionable words-that is, words that could not be definitely ascertained of themselves but had to be conjectured by logical inference from the context; and words which could not be found in any standard lexicon but about the orthography of which there was little or no doubt-are indicated by "?"' and by "sic" (both within brackets), respectively. (The "sic" within brackets and following a known word, or following a phrase made of known words, has also, of course, been used, with the usual editorial connotation of "thus," to indicate some unconventional spelling or usage.)

In the instance where, within a word and especially a proper name Smith has written over one letter with another, the original letter is manifested in a note immediately subsequent.

All replacements of crossed-out words and phrases, whether originally above or below or to the right or to the left, have been placed directly following the expunged material.

For ease of reference, the 261 items comprising The Black Book have been numbered, with the numerals being placed within brackets: items l-232, V:1-11, M:1-5, E:1-13.

The "V" in "V:1-11"' indicates "violet."

The "M" in "M:1-5" indicates "miscellaneous."

The "E" in "E:1-13" indicates "excerpt/extract."

Index by Title

1 The Ice-Demon
2 The White Sybil of Polarion
3 The Book of Hyperborea
4 The Face from Infinity
6 adv. [for The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies]
7 The Charnel God
8 The Forgotten Beast
9 The Madness of Chronomage
10 The Dark Eidolon
11 The Weaver in the Vault
12 Tales of Zothique
13 The Tomb of Ossaru
14 Tales of Atlantis
15 The Death of Malygris
16 Masters of the Dark Mountain
17 The Curse of the Time-God
18 The House of Haon-Dor
19 The Philosophy of the Weird Tale
23 Rosicrucianism
25 The Little People
28 The Witchcraft of Ulua [title only]
29 The Cloud-People
30 The Corpse-Projector
32 A Displacement in Time
33 The Geas of Yzduggor
34 Xeethra
36 Ghoul's Manuscript /The Lycanthrope
37 The Rift
38 The Appendix
40 Titles
41 Maker of Prodigies
42 [The Master of the Crabs]
46 [The Offspring of the Grave]
47 [The Black Abbot of Puthuum]
48 The Oracle of Sadoqua
49 The Doom of Azedarac
50 Alkahest
53 Song of the Necromancer [poem]
54 [names]
57 The Colossal Incarnation
58 Names
59 Titles
60 Averoigne Chronicles
61 The Earth-Cycle
63 [The Infernal Star]
64 [The Dark Meteor]
68 The City of Sculptures
69 The Noctuary of Nathan Geast
70 The Shadow from the Sarcophagus/The Ancient Shadow
71 The Sorcerer Departs [poem]
72 [Contra Mortem]
75 The Cosmic Trap
76 Titles
78 [titles]
79 The Desolation Beyond Death
80 [titles]
81 Phoenix
82 [rhymes for Dominium in Excelsis]
83 Dominium in Excelsis [poem]
84 Contra Mortem [poem]
85 [Contra Mortem]
86 [Contra Mortem]
99 Morthylla
109 Shapes in the Sunset [poem]
110 Names
120 Christophe des Laurieres [pseudonym only]
121 Timeus Gaylord [pseudonym only]
143 Don Quixote on Market Street [poem]
154 Epigrams and Pensées [title only]
155 Originality
159 Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower [poem]
182 The Isle of Saturn [poem]
186 Brocliande [poem]
194 The Centaur [poem]
200 Ye Shall Return [poem]
205 The Somnambulist
206 Twilight Pilgrimage
208 The God's Tale
209 The Wink and the Chuckle
210 [titles]
212 Witches' Sabbath, 2771
213 [titles]
214 The Wandering Boundary
226 Ultima Thule [poem]
V:1 The Touchstone
V:2 The Token
V:3 [The Forbidden Forest]
V:7 [The Demon of the Flower]
M:2 [titles]

The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith

[1] The Ice-Demon
Quangah the huntsman and two merchants of Mhu-Thulan, seeking the lost treasure of a king who had fled from the north before the glacial ice and had perished with his retainers in an outland region, enter the realms of eternal ice and snow during the summer season. They find the cave in which the treasure is hidden, together with the preserved bodies of the king and his followers; but departing wither their loot, they are followed by an invisible icy presence. One of the merchants is found frozen to death on the morning after their first stop. Later, the second perishes in like fashion; the Quangah, fleeing into a warm, semi-tropic volcanic valley, is also overtaken, and ((perishes)) dies of cold. The thing manifests itself as a sort of spiral wind or gust, enfolding the victims from head to foot. A ((sort)) kind of sub-auditory whispering is also connected with its presence.

[2] The White Sybil of Polarion
[The White Sybil]
A pale, beautiful, unearthly being, goddess or woman, who come and goes mysteriously in the cities of Hyperborea, sometimes uttering strange prophecics or cryptic tidings. Tortha, the young poet, seeing her on the streets of Cerngoth in Mhu Thulan, is deeply smitten, and seeks to follow and find her dwelling-place. Pursuing her into a bleak mountainous region verging on the eternal glaciers, he loses sight of her in a ((terrible)) great snow-storm that falls suddenly from, the clear summer heavens. Wandering ((lost)) in this storm, and losing his way, he emerges presently in an unknown fantastic land, where, in a faery bower, he is received by the White Sybil, who seems to look kindly upon him. She kisses him on the brow; but trying to clasp her he finds a frozen mummy in his arms; and a moment later the trees and blossoms of the faery bower dissolve in whirling snow. Later Tortha, with the mark of frost-bite on his brow, where the Sybil had kissed him, is found on the barren mountain-side; and he recovers slowly, remembering only dimly what has happened.

[3] The Book of Hyperborea
1. The Tale of Satampra Zeiros
2. The Testament of Athammaus
3. The Door to Saturn
4. The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan
5. Ubbo-Sathla
6. The Ice-Demon
7. The White Sybil ((of Polarion))
((8. The Voyage of King Euvoran))
8. The Ninth Chapter of Eibon
((9. The Geas of Yzduggor))
9. The Seven Geases
10. The House of Haon-Dor
11. The Shadow from the Sarcophagus

[Item 3:8 is probably the same as "The Coming of the White Worm."]

[4] The Face from Infinity
A man who fears the sky for some indefinable reason, and tries to avoid the open as much as possible. Dying at last in a room with short curtained windows, he finds himself suddenly on a vast, bare plain beneath ((the)) a void heaven. Into this heaven, slowly, there arises a dreadful, infinite face, from which he can find no refuge, since all his senses have apparently been merged in the one sense of sight. Death, for him, is the eternal moment in which he confronts the face, and knows why he has always feared the sky.

[Compare this "face from infinity"' with the "huge white eyeless Face"' in the final section of "The Hashish-Eater."]

A man who is merely the emanation of a particular place or arrangement of scenic objects, into which he re-merges when traced by someone who senses a mystery in regard to his personality.
[See item E:3.]

[6a] adv.
((Clark Ashton Smith The Devotee of Evil & six other tales unpublishable in magazines. For lovers of atm weird atmosphere & arabesque fantasy. (Let To addicts of conventional slothiness: beware. Cavet empotor.)
send 30c to C.A.S.
Auburn, Cal.
38 words
(will not appeal to action-hounds)
Poetic rather than plotty. WiIl not
appeal to devotees of action.))

[6b] adv.
Clark Ashton Smith The Double Shadow & five other antasies unpublished in American magazines. For lovers of weird atmosphere and imaginative writing. Send 25c (coin) to C.A.S. Auburn, Cal.

[The preceding items, 6a and 6b, appear to be the first and second drafts, respectively, for the following advertisement which appeared in Weird Tales, in the issues for July, November, and December 1933 and for January 1934:

Clark Ashton Smith
THE DOUBLE SHADOW & five other fantasies
For lovers of weird atmosphere and arabesque
imagination. Unpublished heretofore. Send 25c
(coin) to Clark Ashton Smith, Auburn, Calif., for
postpaid copy.]

[7] [The Charnel God]
The city of Zoul-Bha-Sair in Zothique, where the terrible eater of the dead, the great ghoul Mordiggial, is worshipped as a god in a fane of purple black marble, and is served by a necrophagous priesthood, who wear masks to hide the fact that they are only half-human. All those who die in Zoul-Bha-Sair, even outlanders, are claimed by the priests of Mordiggial.

[8] The Forgotten Beast
In the latter days of the earth, man is virtually extinct, and has been replaced by higher forms. The last man surviving in a glacier-isolated valley, is found by the after-men, and taken to one of their cities, where he is regarded with aesthetic horror, and undergoes fabulous adventures.

[9] The Madness of Chronomage
A king who beholds a vision not shared by others, and passes into the vision in his hour of need.

[10] The Dark Eidolon
A sorcerer of Zothique, who traps a hated tyrant and imprisons the king's soul in a black statue of the evil God Tisaina. From this statue, the king is forced to look on while the sorcerer, ((using)) himself animating the king's body, tortures the latter's beloved sister. The frantic king, offering himself to Tisaina for the privilege of intervention, finds the statue [has] become a Living body, and smites down his own body that is torturing the girl. Tisaina, with a dark irony, takes the soul of the wizard, and puts the king's soul in the wizard's body, which lies in another apartment. The king, going to the room where his sister is imprisoned, finds the girl has gone stark mad beside his own corpse. She shrinks from him; and looking in a mirror beyond her, he sees for the first time his reflection-the features of the sorcerer. He assails the mirror with a sword while the screaming girl looks on, and the black statue seems to sneer with sardonic humor.

[11] The Weaver in the Vault
Two henchmen of a king of Zothique, who are sent down in to the catacombs of an abandoned city to retrieve the bones of an ancient ancestor of the king. The find that many of the vaults are empty, and reaching the last vault, in which is interned the monarch they seek, they find a nameless horror gorging itself on the mummy and spinning an arabesque web of filthy iris and unclean splendor in the dark. They flee, and are separated; the narrator of the tale becomes lost in the catacombs, and returning, finds the Weaver spinning its charnel web, more foul and refulgent than before, from the body of his late companion.
Weaver in the Vults illustration by Andrew Smith

[12] Tales of Zothique
1. The Empire of the Necromancers
2. The Isle of the Torturers
3. The Charnel God
4. The Dark Eidolon
5. The Voyage of King Euvoran
6. The Madness of Chronomage
((7. Carnamagos))
7. The Weaver in the Vault
8. The Tomb-((of Ossaru))((in the Desert))Spawn
9. The Witchcraft of Ulua
10. Xeethra
11. The Last Hieroglyph
12. Shaper of Adamant
13. Necromancy in Naat
14. The Black Abbot of Puthuum
15. The Alkahest
16. The Death of Ilalotha
17. The Garden of Adompha
18. Morthylla
19. The Two Necromancies
20. The Scarlet Succubus
21. The Infernal Companions

[13] The Tomb of Ossaru
[The Tomb-Spawn]
A desert-buried tomb in Yoros where a strange being from a alien world was interred by the wizard he had served and was surrounded by- an interred zone of enchantment rendering him incorruptible, and an outer zone causing instant death and decay in any who might intrude. Two merchants, travelling through Yoros, are pursued by robbers, and take refuge in a ruined building. The pavement gives way beneath them—and they [are] precipitated into the tomb of Ossaru. One falls in the inner zone beside the seated incorruptible monster-and the other in the outer zone. While the first, in horror, is watching the decay of his companion, Ossaru awakes and proceeds to devour him.

[14] Tales of Atlantis
1. The Last Incantation
2. The Double Shadow
3 The Death of Malygris
4. A Voyage to Sfanomoë
5. A Vintage from Atlantis

[The term "Sfanomoë" was pronounced by Smith with accent on the second syllable: sfa-NO-mo-ee. To judge by the lacunae following numbers 6 and 7, Smith evidently planned to write some further stories in this series of "tales of Atlantis." See item 32, A Displacement in Time.]

[15] The Death of Malygris
Malygris, in death, lice incorrupt in his black tower and still tyrannizes over Susran. Maranapion, his enemy, a rival sorcerer, instigated by the king of Poseidonis, undertakes to free the land from his spell. Employing the invultuation principle, he makes an image of Malygris from synthetic flesh, and causes the image to rot, thus producing a corresponding decay in Malygris himself. Afterwards, Marapion, invading the black tower to exult over the decay of his ancient foe, is cursed by the ((blackening)) rotting corpse, and begins while still alive to putrefy in the same fashion as the dead man. The companions of Maranapion flee, leaving him in the tower with Malygris.

[16] Masters of the Dark Mountain
((The Black Planet))
Several space-voyagers, going to Pluto for geological research, are caught in a mysterious ether-current and drawn to the hitherto-undiscovered tenth planet. This world has been veiled by its inhabitants from human scrutiny by a layer of atmosphere that cuts off all light rays. Penetrating this layer, the ether ship of the voyagers lands on a luminous plain, at the foot of a black mountain. This mountain is inhabited by strange, highly-evolved beings possessed of occult powers and faculties, who wish to examine the earthmen and test them, with a view to learning whether any relationship with terrestrials is desirable. Following the test, the Masters decide in the negative.

[17] The Curse of ((Aforgonis)) the Time-God
[The Curse of Aforgomon]
John Millwarp, novelist, is found dead in his room under circumstances of shocking and inexplicable mystery. His body, beneath the unmarked clothing, is charred in concentric circles, as if by rings of fire, and a strange symbol is clearly branded on his forehead. His literary executor, taking charge of his manuscripts, finds among them a sort of diary, in which Millwarp tells of his growing addiction to a rare drug, which had caused him to remember scenes from former lives, and had finally revived the recollection of an avatar in a world that had antedated the earth. In this life, Millwarp had been the high-priest of the Time-God, Aforgonis, and through his love for a dead woman, and his use of a temporal necromancy, had committed blasphemy against the logic of the god. He is punished with fiery tortures by his fellow-priests, and is doomed by Aforgonis to remember, at some far date of the future in another world, the circumstances of his offense, and to perish through the memory of the tortures.

[18] The House of Haon-Dor
A tumbledown cabin on the verge of the deep hydraulic diggings at Cougar Hollow, which some believe to be deserted, and others say is haunted or inhabited. A youth named Robert Farway, living for the summer near the diggings, and prospecting for his health, enters the cabin in spite of the warnings he has received from the members of a society of occultists, the Brotherhood of the Sun, who have their establishment in the neighborhood. He comes out an utterly different person, and it becomes evident that some alien and demoniac entity has taken possession of him. When he attempts an act of vampirism, the nature of the entity is obvious. The narrator, Wiley Hastane, uncle of the youth, and the head of the colony of occultists, one Antonius Mer((goin))la, ((enter the cabin)) follow the youth to the cabin in an effort to rescue him-and entering at night, find themselves in a vast, fiend-haunted edifice of which the cabin is merely the vestible. Here, beleaguered by elementals, opposed by unthinkable monstrosities, they ((find them in)) fight their way from depth to depth in search of the master of the house, the evil magician Haon-Dor, who has ensouled the youth with one of his attendant vampires, and has confined the youth's soul in a monstrous form. Haon-Dor, in the shape of a fifteen foot rattlesnake, ((de)) guards the ultimate vault of abominations and [the] vampire corpse, and a terrible struggle ensues between the snake and the white master, Antonius. With the vanquishing of the serpent, the vampire leaves the youth, and returns to its own body, that of a prehistoric mummy.
The House of Haon-Dor illustration by Andrew Smith

[19] The Philosophy of the Weird Tale
The w.t. in its aspect as an adumbration or foreshadowing of man's relationship, past, present and future, to the unknown and infinite; and also an implication of his spiritual evolution. Further insight into basic mysteries only possible through future development of higher faculties than the known senses. Interest in weird, unknown, supernormal a signpost of such development, and not merely a psychic remnant from the age of superstition. Practical potentialities of mysticism.

[See item E:13.]

Geas (pronounced gesh or gass) a Celtic tabu, or compulsion ((laid on a)) or injunction laid on a person in some such form as "I place you under heavy geas, to do so and so." -Celtic plural, geases

According to Jewish tradition, when Lilith refused to yield obedience to Adam, she uttered the Shemhamphorash, the ineffable name of Jehovah, and, by virtue of this, instantly flew away. This utterance gave her such power that even Jehovah could not coerce her.

According to widespread belief, the gods have kept their true names secret but other gods, or even men, should be able to conjure with them. To the Mohammedan, Allah is but an epithet in place of the Most Great Name; and the secret of the latter is committed to prophets and apostles alone. Those who know the Most Great Name can, by pronouncing it, transport themselves from place to place at will, can kill the living, raise the dead to life, and work other miracles.

[23] Rosicrucianism
Expansion and contraction of eye-pupil under light a test of obsession, since an obsessing or intruding spirit cannot secure control of the eye.

[See item E:7]

Endogamy tends to preserve the consciousness of the Inner Worlds. Inbreeding thus conducive to second-sight. Racial memories preserved best in unmixed blood-blood being the creator of images in the brain.

[25] The Little People
A race of pygmies, limited in number, deep in the earth, desire to possess the earth's sunlit surface. By use of a terrible ray they madden human beings and all animal life into universal homicide and suicide. One man, an isolated scientist in a mountain laboratory, remains immune. He meets the little people when they emerge at night upon the depopulated world. They tell him what they have done, tell him the only other survivor of humanity is a woman thousands of miles away in a mountain valley. Dawn comes, and the little people are blinded and killed by the rays of the unaccustomed sun. The surviving man sets out on his long journey to find the last woman.

A phantom shell-face, hands, clothing, etc.-which attaches itself temporarily to a living person, giving him the aspect of one long dead.

[See item E:4.]

An extra-planetary life-form, parasitic, which covers its victims like an integument.

[28] The Witchcraft of Ulua

[29] The Cloud-People
[The Primal City]
A remote mountain-region, with lost cities and treasure, deserted by human beings, but guarded by strange clouds that take the forms of men. animals, or demons.

[See items E:5 and E:5a.]

[30] The Corpse-Projector
Dead persons projected by radio to incriminate some innocent person.

A drug that stimulates the brains of animals, raising them to human intelligence without altering their natural instincts.

[32] A Displacement in Time
((Interchanging Cycle))
A cosmic zone of unknown magnetic force, entered by the earth on its voyage through space, which plunges certain zones of the earth back into Pleistocene times, leaving the rest in the present age. A ship sailing from London to Cape Town is wrecked in the night on the coast of Atlantis.

[See item 14.]

[33] The Geas of Yzduggor
[The Seven Geases]
Yzduggor, wizard and hermit of the black Eiglophian Mts., is intruded upon during one of his experiments in evocation by an optimate from Commoriom who has gone forth with certain followers to hunt the alpine monsters known as the Voormis. Yzduggor, exceedingly wroth at The interruption, puts upon the optimate, Vooth Raluorn, a most terrible and ludicrous and demoniacal geas.

The spider-god, Atlach-Nacha, who weaves his webs across a Cimmerian gulf that has no other bridges.

[34] Xeethra
A young goatherd of Zothique, leading his charges in a wild, mountainous region, who enters an unexplored cave giving on a strange underworld of beautiful, sinister trees laden with strange fruits. This ((underworld)) region is an outlying ((realm)) ((region)) part of the subterrene realms of Thasaidon, and the boy Xeethra is frightened back to the entrance by a glimpse of fearful demoniac entities and monsters that roam through the frightful groves. He steals, how-ever, certain of the fruits, and devours one of them. Afterwards, a madness comes over him, and he imagines that he is no longer Xeethra, but the prince of a great land beyond the mountains. He goes forth to regain his empire, and finds only a ((ruinous)) desert tract with ruinous cities where outcasts and lepers mock him in his madness. In his despair an emissary of Thasaidon comes to him, and reveals the truth, that the eating of The fruit has awakened in him the memory- of a long-past life when he was ((the)) indeed the ruler of this vanished empire. In return for his sworn fealty- to the god of Evil, Xeethra is promised a necromantic revival of all the grandeur of his ((past)) former incarnation. ((He accepts the bond)) which he shall retain as long as he decrees it. He accepts the bond; and, reliving his past life, he forgets the existence as Xeethra [the first letter "X" is written over a "Z"] and the compact with Thasaidon; and, finding again the ennui and emptiness of power, he wishes himself a simple goat-herd. Thereupon the whole vision vanishes, and he is again the boy Xeethra [the first letter "X" is written over a "Z"], lost among lepers and pariahs in a ruined city, and remembers ((vaguely)) confusedly a strange dream, unable to forget the dream, regretting its lost splendour; a creature half-mad thenceforward, and wholly accursed.
Xeethra illustration by Andrew Smith

[34a] details: The emissary appears before him like a pillar of shadow growing up from the earth into gigantic semi-human form. At the very end this being comes to him again, and Xeethra cries out, saying take my soul in fulfillment of the bond. But the emissary tells him mockingly that his soul is already part of the empery of Thasaidon.

[35] Tiny carving, through magic or other process, becomes gigantic, living form at certain times. Mysterious havoc wrought by this form before detected.

[36] Ghoul's Manuscript
The Lycanthrope
An influence (like a shadow) emanating from the buried body of a lycanthrope and ((obsessing)) possessing a passerby. who is thereafter irresistibly impelled to disinter and devour human corpses. Perhaps, too, the influence might issue, like the contagion of pestilence, from some antique volume or other reliquary belonging to an ancestor (of the victim) who had been obscurely suspected of this madness and of whom there were dire frightful legends.

[37] The Rift
A man who sees, following a brain-operation, a rift in the material world through which mysterious beings pass in enigmatic traffic. The rift is visible wherever he goes, as a sort of charm, in streets, buildings, fields, etc.

[38] The ((Other Self)) Appendix
A scientist who, investigating the so-called 4th dimension, discovers that he himself is merely a sort of organ or extension of a being that fruitions in this other world. He is, so to speak, a rather useless vestigial tail or appendix and, at a certain stage in the being's evolution, this organ is to be discarded; this act of shedding entails the death of the investigator.


The Lost Valley Blackwood [1]
Ewers Alrune [2]
ibid The Sorcerer's Apprentice [3]
Out of the Earth Machen [4]
The Terror ibid [5]
Tales of Mystery and Horror ibid [6]
W. R. Wakefield They Return at Evening [7]
ibid Others who Returned [8]
Bewitched D'Aurevilly [9]
The Place Called Dagon Herbert Gorman [10]
Roh Romance of Sorcery Sax Rohmer [11]
The Connoisseur de la Mare [12]
On the Edge ibid [13]
The Return ibid [14]

[40] Titles

Domdaniel [1]
The Treader of the Dust [2]
The Garden of Adompha [3]
The Haunting of Uthnor [4]
The Death of Ilalotha [5]
The Spectral Sphere [6]
The City of Sculptures [7]
Ghoul's Manuscript [8]
The Noctuary of Nathan Geast [9]

[41] Maker of Prodigies
A scientist discovers how- to stimulate the brains of animals into quasi-human intelligence. and makes a business of supplying showmen with these preternormal beasts.

[42] [The Master of the Crabs] A wizard whose legs are trapped By failing rock in a sea-cavern. By hypnotic will-power, he gains control of an army of crabs, and forces them to overpower ship-wrecked seamen and feed Him with shreds of ((human)) flesh torn from their bodies. Tale to be told by one of the mariners, whose companions have disappeared mysteriously. Locale: desert isle. Wizard had perhaps gone there in quest of lost treasure. Possesses own eternal longevity. Crabs turn on and devour him when he loses his mesmeric power.
Master of Crabs illustration by Andrew Smith

Visible ancestral ghosts evoked by wizardry or other means from the brain-cells of a living man.

Man walking along road at night sees road and ((Land)) signs lighten before him, as if from head lights of auto approaching from behind. Strange, unearthly machine appears; man is caught into machine, carried to unknown planet or dimension.

Modern stage magician causes girl to disappear through trick. Finds that girl is really gone. No trace of her anywhere. Tries trick on himself and joins girl in strange, wizardry-haunted land. Use of unknown verbal formula and gesture involved in causing disappearance. Magician repeats these in effort to bring girl and himself back to earth; but without result. Finally- finds that he has to repeat wording backward and reverse order of gesture.

[46] [The Offspring of the Grave]
A litter of small human-headed monsters, terrorizing a country-side, which is traced to a hole in the grass where a sorcerer and sorceress had been buried together. The grave is empty.

[See item 210:4.]

[47] [The Black Abbot of Puthuum]
Two guardsmen and a palace-eunuch, bringing a purchased girl to the king of Yoros, find themselves lost among the enchantments of a strange desert. The enchantments lead them to a weird monastery inhabited by twelve black monks all of whom exactly resemble their superior, who is distinguished from them only by his garb. In the night, one of the guardsmen, wakeful and suspicious, steals from the chamber ((in)) to which he and his fellow have been assigned. Wandering about The monastery, he stumbles on an altar to the dark demon, Thasaidon, and apprehends that the monks are devil-worshippers. Upon the altar are charred fragments of flesh and bone. Stealing back toward his room, the guardsman hears an outcry from the room where the girl steeps, guarded by the eunuch. Rushing in, he meets the fleeing eunuch, whose eyes are wide with terror . . . In the gloom, above the girl's bed, ((see)) he sees a vague monstrous incubus about to settle upon her. The thing seems to float on black voluminous wings. He attacks it with his sword, and the incubus resolves itself into the black abbot. Then the figure seems to multiply before his eyes and the chamber is suddenly filled with the monks, who drag down the guardsman. His companion, who is an archer, enters at this moment and shoots at the abbot (standing apart from the melee) ((one of the)) an arrows that had been dipped in the mummia of a saint. and was therefore fatal to sorcerers or demons. It is his last arrow, The others having been discharged at desert phantoms. It slays the abbot and the twelve monks vanish. The abbot's body decays immediately, in a non-human fashion, and its long finger-nails slough away from the putrefying mass. One of the guardsmen puts the nails into his helmet, and he and his fellow draw lots for the girl. (The eunuch's throat had been ripped open by the abbot.)
The Black Abbot of Puthuum illustration by Andrew Smith

[48] The Oracle of Sadoqua
Horatius, a Roman officer stationed in the recently-conquered province of Averonia, searches vainly for his missing comrade, Galbius, of whom there is apparently neither trace nor rumor among the natives. Horatius, in desperation, finally seeks an oracle of the pagan Druids-the ((fearsome)) baleful oracle of the dread god Sadoqua, who is believed to slumber eternally underground in a cavern amid the deep forests of Averonia. He finds the place, accompanied by several soldiers, and is ((bidden)) taken by the dark, repulsive Druids to ((enter)) the cave of the oracle ((alone)). In a grotto rifted from above and beneath, where The outer light falls dismally into half[?] dissipated shadows, he finds a strange, hairy, swarthy, half-human being, chained beside ((the fetid, reeking)) a chasm whence dire, fetid vapours reek. this being ((replies)) speaks in half-articulate Latin ,and gives a cryptic answer to his queries concerning the fate of Galbius. Horatius is strangely disturbed by something in the voice; and as the half-sifted sunlight falls briefly on the weird oracle, he fancies in this being a far-off. distorted, impossible resemblance to the lost Galbius. The creature, however, denies that it is Galbius; and Horatius departs with his men, more sorely perplexed and baffled than before. Leaving, he encounters a lovely pagan girl, who dwells in the vicinity of the cavern. There is an instant attraction between the two; and Horatius returns later, alone, to resume her acquaintance. Love grows between them and the girl tells him, reluctantly, something of the true secrets of. The oracle's cavern, and admits that the ((oracl)) present oracle is indeed the lost Galbius, who was abducted by the Druids and chained beside the chasm. The vapors rising from the chasm had speedily caused him to forget all his normal memories and had brought about a degradation into subhuman forna. In this connection, he had become a proper medium for the inspiration of the slumbering god Sadoqua, who knows all things; and could give such answers to queries as The god dictated. Many others had been the oracles of the god. The chasmemitted vapors were believed to be his actual breath; and their effect was so terrible that few mortals could endure them long without dying or at least becoming so embruted that they were no longer capable of human speech and were useless as intermediates. Learning this, ((Galbius)) Horatius in his wrath again enters the secret cave, and finds Galbius has turned to an almost formless mass of dark, hairy plasm, which utters wordless sounds. In his horror, he tries to slay the thing. The Druids enter and seize him as he plunges his sword into the transformed Galbius. He is knocked unconscious. Later reviving, he finds himself chained beside the baleful chasm, inhaling the fumes that cause him to forget his human past in a mad, primordial delirium.

[49] The Doom of Azederac
Azederac, sorcerer-bishop of Ximes, supposedly- dying in the odour of sanctity, in reality transports himself to an other-dimensional world which represents an alternative development of the Earth sphere from the same primal causes and origins. In this world. Many peculiar laws and conditions prevail, together with certain distorted resemblances to the Earth. Azederac finds himself in a curiously topsy-turvy Averoigne, ((where human beings occupy the position of lower animals,)) whose people are only vaguely human. He meets a being who is the otherworld alternative of himself, and a weird due ensues between the two, each using all his resources of wizardry and necromancy. In the end Azederac, being out of his normal element, loses, and is absorbed like a shadow by the other.

[In the fourth word of the title, the fifth letter "a" is written over an "e"]

[50] Alkahest
Bithream, alchemist and magician, believes himself about to discover the alkahest. At this juncture, however, he is arrested with his pupils and arraigned before the inquisitors of the Goddess Kathruale who accuse him of sorcery and the corruption of the young. By means of a chemical (concealed in a snuff-box on his person) that temporarily reduces the human body in size, he escapes through the barred window of his cell and releases his pupils. They- escape from the inquisition into a strange cliff-walled valley that runs toward the outer ((d)) unknown desert.

Unfathomably then thy tears were shed
Into the wells of night, and silently
As leaves on Lethe falling fell thy dreams.

Love, perhaps, is the rose that we pluck from our own forgotten graves.

[53] Song of The Necromancer
I would recall a forfeit woe,
A buried bliss; my heart is fain
Ever to seek and find again
((And)) The lips whereon my lips have lain
In rose red twilights long ago.

Lost are the lands of my desire,
Long fled, the hours of my delight,
((In aeons The ((paling)) darkling splendor, fallen might:
In aeons past, The bournless night
Was rolled upon ((my rubied)) mine ashen pyre.))
Aeons have rolled their shoreless night
Over my fallen throne of might
And round about ((nine ashen)) my rubied pyre.

((In ((bleak)) far oblivion blows the desert
Which was the ((golden)) lovely world I knew.
Quenched are The suns of gold and blue))
((Into the nadir darkness thrust,
My world has gone as meters go:))

I shall ((recite)) repeat a murmurous rune—
And ((flaming) blazing suns of Otherwhere
Shall throng upon the dazzled air,
And specters terrible and fair
Shall walk the riven world at noon.


Cifelam [1]
Ngilam [2]
Rerecros [3] [The fifth letter "c" is written over an "s"]
Tnecifelam [4] [The fourth letter "c" is written over an "s"]
Yrautrom [5]

[The above fantastic names are the following words with their orthography in reverse: malefic, malign, sorcerer, maleficent, mortuary.]

A disabled space-ship of umeltable metal, landing on an alien planet, and carried for an immense distance on a volcanic river of molten lava.

A plant or tree which turns into a human being or other organic life-form. The passing of a comet introducing some new element into the earth's atmosphere, which causes a reversal of evolutionary tendencies, stimulating the mineral and vegetable kingdoms into organic life, and reducing the organic- forms to inanimation. This tale could be told by a visitor from another planet.

[57] The Colossal Incarnation
[The Clolossus of Ylourgne]
An immense giant, moulded from innumerable dead bodies by a sorcerer. The tale to be told by one of his assistants, who has helped to collect the bodies, stealing them from graves and charnels. Having read his own horoscope, and knowing that his death is imminent, the sorcerer plans to have his spirit pass into the vast body through which, among other things, he wilt take revenge on a city that had flouted him. But the body, bring composed of the dead, is not sufficiently subject to his control. Its elements long only for sleep and oblivion; and instead of destroying the city, it proceeds to dig itself a colossal grave.

[58] Names

Telask [1]
Malasp [2]
Ouroque [3]
Zotulla [4]
Phenquor [5] [See item E:9:1.]
Xactyra [6] [See item E:9:3.]
Fulbra [7] [See item E:9:2.]
Amprefesne [8] [See item E:9:4.]
Luthomne [9] [See item E:9:5.]
Vovisibor [10]
Vasque [11]
Manthar [12] [See item E:9:6.]
Nisque [13] [See item E:9:7.]
Feethos [14]
Tsangth [15]
Cerngoth [16]
Ouori [17]
Qualk [18]
Uori [19]
Qualk [20]
Kaluorn [21]
Tortha [22]
Quangah [23]
Eibor Tsanth [25]
Hoom Djis Feethos [25]
Euvoran [26]
Zylac [27]
Xiccarph [28]
Zoul-Bha-Sair [29]
Mordiggian [30] [The tenth letter "n" is written over an "l"]
Ysabbau [31] [The first letter "Y" is written over an "Ee"]
Ossaru [32]
Zabdamar [33] [See item E:9:8.]
Aptanace [34]
Mirouane [35] [See item E:9:9.]
Thirlain [36] [See item E:9:15.]
Chaon Gacca [37]
Meor Lumivixoran [38]
Camorbar [39] [See item E:9:16.]
Charndibbar [40]
Calyz [41]
Zongis Furalor [42] [Furalor: the forth letter "a" is written over an "i"]
Sedaielp [43]
Aforgonis [44]
Athystizot [45] [See item E:9:11]
Dwerula [46]
Mygon [47] [See item E:9:10]
Acopsipaque [48] [The eight letter "a" is written over an "i"]
Fustura [49] [See item E:9:18]
Ludoch [50]
Grotaron [51]
Pnidleethon [52] [See item E:9:22]
Pornox [53]
Zanzonga [54] [The second "z" is written over a "g"]
Yanur [55]
Nungis Avargomon [56]
Chronisper [57] [See item E:9:14]
Caramagos [58]
Chronomage [59] [See item E:9:12]
Falluda [60]
Famorte [61] [See item E:9:19]
Valzain [62] [See item E:9:17]
Avalzant [63] [See item E:9:21]
Maindir [64] [The last letter "i" is written over an "s"]
Psollantha [65]
Nomiama [66]
Thilil [67]
Milaab [68] [The second letter "i" is written over an "a"]
Allabac [69] [See item E:9:13]
Irbace [70]
Logla [71]
Surutra [72]
Tnepres [73] [The first letter "T" is written overa "P"]
Tuahlamof [74]
Seratana [75]
Sedayhi [76]
Enoycla [77]


Interchanging Cycle [1]
The Colossus of Ylourgne [2]
The Protean Peoples [3]
The Dark Age [4]
The Mandrakes [5]
The Earth Cycle [6]
Across the Gulf [7]
The Dark Meteor [8]
The King from Capricorn [9]
The ((Snow-)) Ice-Demon [10]
The White Sybil ((of Polarion)) [11]
The Third Hemisphere [12]
The Voyage of King Euvoran [13]
The Dimension of Chance [14]
The Isle of the Torturers [15]
The Face from Infinity [16]
The Sphinx of Abormothmis [17]
The Third Episode of Vathek [18]
The Eidolon of the Blind [19]
[The above is the same as "The Dweller in the Gulf."]
The Charnel God [20]
Vulthoom [21]
The Flower-Women [22]
The Double Tower [23]
The Forgotten Beast [24]
The Dark Eidolon [25]
The Infernal Star [26]
The Weaver in the Vault [27]
The Lords of the Dark Face [28]
Beyond the Stars [29]
The Black Planet [30]
The House of Haon-Dor [31]
The Chain of Aforgomon [32]
((The Tomb of Ossaru)) [33]
The Tomb in the Desert [34]
The Ninth Chapter of Eibon [35]
The Cloud-People [36]

[60] The Averoigne Chronicles
1. The End of the Story
2. The Satyr
3. A Rendezvous in Averoigne
4. The Maker of Gargoyles
5. The Holiness of Azederac
6. The Colossus of Ylourgne
7. The Mandrakes
8. The Beast of Averoigne
9. The Disinterment of Venus
10. The Sorceress of Averoigne
11. The Oracle of Sadoqua
12. The Doom of Azédarac [Azédarac: the fifth letter "a" is written over an "e"]

[61] The Earth-Cycle
A time-traveller who can move only backward in time, and who reaches ((an ant)) an ancient, unrecorded civilization, prior to a world-wide cataclysm brought about by atomic meddling, which is posterior to the man's own age. Still fleeing into the past, he regains his own era.

A dormant sense of the human brain, developed under artificial stimulus, which gives the power of seeing into remote worlds.

[63] [The Infernal Star]
An extra-galactic world From which an influence of stupendous evil emanates, seeping through the farthest reaches of the cosmos.

[64] [The Dark Meteor]
A dark meteor, made of some incombustible, indestructible matter which is seen to fall. It is found to be a sort of shard containing an alien entity in a state of suspended animation. (Such a meteoric object might be found buried in the archaean strata, where it had fallen in the earth's youth.) The alien being might be a king of some trans-galactic world, who had been ((thus)) kidnapped and dropped on the earth by enemies. His subjects, knowing that he still exists, have sought him for aeons through the universe, using a magnetic detector which would reveal the presence of the strange element which he is enclosed.

[See item 59:8.]

A power of supranormal vision, beginning with penetration of ordinary matter, sight of new colors, etc. and proceeding to fourth-dimensional visions of all sides of a given object, sight in all directions at once, and ending in the faculty of comprehending the true inwardness of all things by a process of identification with them.

Herds of misshapen, man-like elementals, battening on the emanations of place of blood-sacrifice, of battle, execution or crime.

Visionary time-travel by- insight into the Akashic- records. (The memories of God, or the ruler Logos, reflected clearly in the mental plane and brokenly in the astral. The lower reflections, mirror-like or picture-like, the higher three-dimensional, into which the seer can project himself, and can even re-live his own former incantations - but not identify himself therewith to the point of forgetfulness.)

[68] The City of Sculptures
One of a party of earth-explorers on an alien planet, straying away from his fellows, is carried off by a strange monster. This creature, half-flying. and progressing by enormous bounds, bears him for hundreds of miles through weird forests, swamps and desolate plains. In its course, the thing approaches a strange city whose buildings are in the form of alien colossi, ((or)) carved from unknown materials. Here the monster acts strangely as if terrified by the ((apparently deserted)) image[s], and flees, leaving the earth-man. The man approaches one of the images and finds an open door in its heel. He ascends a stairway into unearthly chambers which, if inhabited, are peopled by invisible and impalpable beings. Worn out with his experiences, the explorer falls asleep in the upper chamber whose windows are the eyes of the image. When he awakens, he finds the city of clossi is on the march! The membered edifices stride with titanic measured paces, as if to a known destination. On the verge of the sea of blood-red waters, they meet in a similar array of images with whom they do battle. After the battle has been one by the first group, the image in which the explore is domiciled separates it self from the others and bears him back to the neighbourhood of ((its)) his fellows. The manner of its animation and control remains an unsolved mystery. The tale is told as a reminiscence of the space-explorer in his old age.

[69] The Noctuary of Nathan Geast
Nathan Geast, artist of the weird and macabre, finds that he is gradually losing his faculty of seeing by daylight or even by artificial light. Correspondingly, he develops a nyctaloptic faculty, and can see most perfectly in complete darkness. He draws and paints under such conditions, but his pictures are considered increasingly unintelligible. He seems to perceive (and render) new colors ((di)) not discernible by others. Presently he begins to obtain glimpses of some occult realm that does not coincide with anything in the known world about him. His most frequent and persistent vision is that of a strange, vast pit or gulf, where a b!ack, but glowing monolith or pillar lifts from the dim depths. About this pillar, in aerial mazes of a weird dance of vertiginous ecstasy, a rout of alien beings are whirled recurrently, rising and sinking out of unknown abysses. Geast is possessed of a great fear (and also a desire) that he will somehow be precipitated into this alien world.

[See item E:8.]

[70] The Ancient Shadow
The Shadow from the Sarcophagus
Satampra Zeiros and Tirouv Ompallios, noted Hyperborean thieves and burglars, are hired by ((the)) Ruul-Vash, high-priest of the moon-god, to enter the tomb of the ancient prehuman sorcerer Hurun. Then they are to break open the stone sarcophagus of Hurun and bring to Ruul-Vash certain magic talismans said to have been interred with the wizard. These talismans are of fabulous potency. The gholliish task is not to the liking of the thieves. but perforce they are constrained to serve Ruul-Vash, who is very powerful and moreover possesses damnatory evidence concerning many of their crimes. Ruul-Vash assures them that, owing to the immense antiquity of the corpse, there will be little left of Hurun except dust. Satampra Zeiros and his companion go forth by night to the ancient tomb, which is now but a grass-and-tree-grown mound with a cave-like entrance little larger than a jackat's burrow. The door of the vault has rusted away, and the inner tomb has long been a lairing-place of beasts. The sarcophagus, however, is intact, and is opened with some difficulty by the thieves, who, obeying RuuI-Vash's instructions, chisel away certain mysterious cyphers engraved on the lid. Within, to their mingled relief and disappointment, they find no trace of the wizard's body or the talismans-only a few pinches of fine brown powder from which a faint ghostly odor exhales and quickly evaporates. Satampra Zeiros, however, sees, or imagines that he sees, a small indistinct shadow like that of some half-human homunculus, which slides down the side of the stone box in the light of the wavering torch held by his companion, and vanishes in the gloom. The two return to Ruul-Vash, who refuses to believe that they found the sarcophagus empty, and charges them with secreting the magic talismans. On this charge, they are thrown into the dungeon beneath the temple of the moron-god, and are threatened with dire tortures by Ruul-Vash and his acolytes. Lashed to the frames of certain instruments of torture, they see on the dungeon-floor the same shadow that had seemed to emerge from the sarcophagus. The shadow falls across the feet of Ruul-Vash, who has ordered the torturers to begin their operations. Ruul-Vash falls in agony, his feet crumbling into dust fine as that of some ancient mummy. The shadow, increasing in size, covers his legs-and the legs also crumble. Soon there is nothing left of the high-priest, except the fine dust. The torturers flee; and the shadow, now grown to human size but with non-human form, touches with its hands the bonds of Satampra Zeiros and his companion. The bonds dissolve, leaving the burglars free to escape from the temple dungeon.

[71] The Sorcerer Departs
I pass . . . but in this lone and crumbling tower,
Builded against the burrowing seas of chaos,
My volumes and my philters shalt abide:
Poisons more dear than any mithridate,
And spells far sweeter than the speech of love . . .

((Fantastic)) Half-shapen dooms shall slumber in my vaults,
And in my volumes cryptic runes that shall
Outblast the pestilence, outgnaw the worm
((((Amid)) Throughout remoter years when death is dust.))
When loosed by alien wizards on strange years
Under the blackened moon and paling sun.

[See item E:2. Compare this poem to the later and much longer poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower," of which it may be a first version.]

[72] [see Contra Mortem]
Will no man
Cry out against this abatoir of time
Where God, the butcher, drives us one by one
Into the slaughter-pen and slits our throats?

An old soldier who meets and rejoins the phantom army, wandering forever through lost lands, of his former captain and comrade.

A strange, furtive tatterdemalion who is seen frequently in a certain locality. No one knows anything about him. Out of curiosity, one follows him and sees him melt and disappear, ((in)) mistily diffused and dismembered, into the features of a desolate landscape.

[75] The Cosmic Trap
A scientist invents a cage which he can send into other spheres or dimensions and bring back after an interval. He traps a being of unearthly intelligence-who, it develops, has allowed himself to be trapped. The being uses the cage to take the scientist into a sort of desolate limbo and leaves him there.

[76] Titles

The Utmost Abomination [1]
The Witch's Bed [2]
The Book of Grotesques [3]
Annotations for the Book of Night [4]
Descent into Modernity [5]
The Music of Death [6]
Incomplete Sorceries [7]
Eviction by Night [8]
The Painter in Darkness [9]
[This is possibly a variant title for The Noctuary of Nathan Geast.]
Rebirth of the Flame [10]
[This is the title for a projected sequel to the tale or extended poem in prose, "Beyond the Singing Flame."]
The Face from Below [11]
[Compare this "face from below" with the "face from infinity," item 4, and with the "huge white eyeless Face" in "The Hashish-Eater."]

What dreamer is he whose mad, tormented lips
with mordant kisses thus,
((In darkness and Cimmerian eclipse,))
By some Cimmerian moon in uttertmost eclipse,
Mouth the bosom of the succubus?

[78] [titles]

Phoenix [1]
Mandor's Enemy [2]

[79] The Desolation Beyond Death
Forlorn and accurst into all futurity, is that land which even the dead have abandoned, where ((the)) burrow and catacomb are without tenants, and the tomb gives forth no ghost to the necromancer.

[80] [titles]

((The Scroll of Morloc)) [1]
((Volume)) ((Papyrus)) of the Black Wisdom [2]

[81] Phoenix
An expedition sent from the earth to the extinct sun, for the purpose of rekindling it by means of atomic fission. The expedition is trapped by the tremendous gravity of the dead, solid orb but accomplishes its purpose, after sending back to earth a rocket containing reports, messages, etc.

[82] [rhymes for Dominium in Excelsis]

teem Capella air
seem Betelgeuse dare
supreme hair
gleam lair
deem nightmare
theme despair
stream aware

[83] Dominium in Excelsis
Exalt thy-self: be more than man,
Be saint or be magician,
And where the burning sword awaits
Defy the old seraphic ban.

Thy will, that climbs from dark estates,
Shall divinize the godless fates,
This fiery-ecstasy of dream
((Attain beyond forbidden gates.))
Melt down the grim, forbidden gates

Of time, and open ((distant spheres)) spheres extreme:
Beyond the starry-bubbled stream, -
Beyond ((Aldebaran,)) Capella, past Altair,-
Where amaranthine gardens gleam.

((Thy feet, on changing mountains fair
Of cloud, shall ((tread,)) track the solar chair;
Or over Endor thou shalt ride
Unfrighted on the tamed nightmare.))

Thy feet shall tread the Lion's lair,
Thy hands shall ((hold)) catch the comet's hair;
Or over Endor thou shalt ride
Unfrighted on the tamed nightmare.

Thou shalt be free of temporal tide,
And from the spatial prisons glide;
Or ((into)) ((throughout)) years behind the tomb
Return, or in strange futures bide.

And thou shalt breathe the flame and fume
Of Beltis' altars drowned in gloom,
Under her sharded Fanes, or share
The fabled Atlantean doom.

And rise unharmed to light and air,
From ancient death, ((from slained despair,))
again to dare
The planet of thy slain despair.

[84] Contra ((Morte)) Mortem
Death is the eternal tedious platitude
With which all tales inevitably end.

[85] [see Contra Mortem]
What lacks the scurvy, lack-brained Demiurge
Who can invent no other doom ((?)) but must
Repeat, as wretched penny-a-liners do,
This horror staled by ((timeless)) time-long usage? Why,
((Creation's tame submission? Will no man
Cry out against this cosmic abatoir
Where God the butcher drives us one by one
Into the slaughter-pen and slits our throats?))

[86] [see Contra Mortem]
For variation's sake, if for naught else,
Mark not with immortality one man,
One star, one ((blossom)), rose? ((out of all the
myriads)) one duad of blest lovers?
O, bestial dumb submission! Will no voice
Cry out against this cosmic abatoir
Where God the butcher drives us one by one
Into the slaughter-pen and slits our throats?
In lieu of prayer or incense, let us proffer
A protest and a taunt.

On what sombre and eventual shore-line
Sinks the roaring,
Thins the foam of time
Out beyond the cosmos?

[88] [stanzas and rhyme scheme]
a b a a / b c b b / c d c c

Civilization: the creation and multiplication of artificial needs, as opposed to natural ones.

Sodden and muddled as those dreams
Which are found in the dregs of slumber.

What shades eloign thee, and what suns bring back -
O pale Persephone that art my April?

Nor falls upon the lyre
The plectrum, on the skeleton's white claws.

Vulgarity: a synonym for modernity.

[Vulgarity: the first letter "V" is written over a "C."]

For in your voice are voices from beyond the tomb.
And in your face a shadow risen from vast vaults.

Banded with gold and ebon, on broad vans,
The dragons rose from mausolean domes
In dead, gulf-girt atamanes [sic].

Black ((dom)) cities, domed with suns that never ((set)) sank,
Gave forth the eternal tolling of strange bells.

gamboge, horologe

Overhead a monstrous comet reached
In fire from Xiphias to the Zodiac

[99] Morthylla
Valzain, the young volupary, weary of feasting and debauchery ((bored)) leaves the house of a friend when the revels are at their height, and wanders forth from Umbri, city of the Delta, to an old necropolis on n mound-like hill half-way between Umbri and Psiom, the twin city. Here, in the moonlight, he meets a beautiful being who calls herself Morthizza, lamia and sprit of the tombs. Half-believing, half-disbelieving. in his weariness of mortality and of fleshey things, he falls in love with her. They meet night after night. His desires begin to revive, but she tantalizes him, refusing corporeal contact. One night, as playful proof that she is a vampire. Morthylla wounds him in the throat with her teeth, saying that this is the only kiss permitted between them. But, as proof of her love, she will not suck his blood. Valzain pleass for a further consummation. Wistfully, she tells him that he must know and love her as she really is before such a consummation would be possible. A day or two later Valzain, visiting the twin city Psiom, sees a woman in the street who has the very features of Morthylla. A friend tells him that she is Beldith, a woman of pleasure, who lately has been absenting herself from the orgies of Psiom, and has been seen going forth at night toward the old necropolis that was once common to both of the cities of the Delta. Valzain, disillusioned, realizes that she is identical with Morthylla, and that she has been playing a game with him. He seeks her out and taxes her with the deception, which she readily admits, at the same time asking if ((she)) he cannot love her as a mortal women, since she, all the time, had loved him as a man. Valzain, fearful of the revulsion of the flesh which, for him, has ensued every carnal contact, tells her sorrowfully of his disenchantment, and without reproaches, bids her farewell. Later, unable to bear the tedium of existence, he commits suicide, stabbing himself in the throat with a sharp poignard at the same spot were Mothylla's teeth had wounded him. After death, he finds himself at that point in time where he had first met Morthylla among the tombs, and the illusion begins to repeat itself for him, presumably with no danger of an awakening. The woman Beldith grows old and grey among the revelries of Psiom; but her intimates note that she seems often absent-minded between the wine-cups; and her young lovers sometimes complain that she is distrait and unresponsive in their arms.

[In the title the sixth letter "y" is written over an "i."]
Morthylla illustration by Andrew Smith.

a / b / a / b (assonances)
a / b / a / b (rhymes)

Phonetics to suggest strangeness grotesquery;
play up less frequent letters;
ch, j, h, qu, sph, y, wh, sm, x, z, ((etc.)) oi, oo (phorf) [sic], ä, etc.

((Warning With vagrant sphinxes from the ((whilom) quondam spheres.))

Where, xanthic-sailed, on whitening waters ran
Some xebec blown from Yoros toward Ayair

Measure the boundless arpents of the night.

pass, aftermaths
face, wraiths
since, plinths

He that drinks the wine of mandrakes
Knows not yesterday and dreams of no tomorrow.

Quaint quills wheron the aegipan has played.

Drawn by the dead moons the waters wane,
Till king re-risen from the main
Over the strand shall stride to land
And take the command of thy domain.

[109] Shapes in the Sunset
Daylong was my slumber. At the sunset,
((Rising)) Wakening, I beheld the clouds, a hundred
Shapes of antic gods and beasts of wonder
Gathered on the horizon.

Vulcan, with his forge behind him, towered
Blackly, limned in fire, against the boundless
Concave west; and Polyphemus spouted
Purple spray on Triton.

((There with gaping mouth the Mantichora
Foamed for prey and uttered silent roarings;
Then the Demiurge bore on headless shoulders
Some enormous fardel.))

There with gaping mouth the Mantichora
Foamed for prey and uttered silent roarings;
Light as wisps of eiderdown, the Astomians
Came from lands of marvel

Wafted on their ether; and the headless
People followed after them, the Blemmies,
Bearing on humped shoulders through the heavens
((Some)) Their enormous fardels.

While the sunset, deepening and ((sulphurous)) rubious,
((Bathed)) Lit the bestiary shapes with lurid
Salamandrine hues, and robed with murex
Gods from ((fables wondered,)) myths forgotten,

I, the watcher, cried, (("Ye")) "On backs of wonder,
Ye gods and monsters, bear me, where the sunset
Reddens realms of fable, by no sullen
Earthly shadows blotted!"


Xvano [1]
Afadjan [2]
Sfanquis [3]
Vrason [4]
Snang [5]
Smygo [6]
Sran [7]
Mwara [8]
Nlas [9]

With errant sphinxes ((from the)) out of ruined spheres.

The commonest and ((most serious)) gravest error of modenity lies in believing that antiquity is dead.

Eclipse: Ass-eared Midases who should ponder the old myth at the contest between Apollo and Pan.

Keats, speaking of poetry, advocated the principle of loading the ((gold)) rifts with ((rifts) gold. In latter times a new principle has been discovered: that of loading the gold with rifts. It has led to the winning of many poetry prizes.

Desconocidco, en ((su yarmo)) páramo olvidado,
((Et hijo de las Musas ha contado: Clérigo Gallardo.))
Por siempre canta el pájaro dorado.

(In his forgotten wilderness, unheard, Forever sings the golden bird.)

The verb "to mate" meant originally "to deject." There are many married folk for whom it still has that meaning.

"She was an Abyssinian maid
((In a vision once I saw;))
And on her dulcirner she played,
Singing of Mount Abora."

From out its winding tube
The serpent sobs a music old and quaint
As antic quills blown by the aegipan.

[120] ((Christophe des Laurières))
[This is a pseudonym used by Smith in his Selected Poems, in the section "Translations and Paraphrases." It is used in the heading "From Christophe des Laurières," which is followed by a group of twenty poems, presumably translations from the French of this poet, but actually the original work of Smith himself. The last name is evidently derived from the French for "of the laurels," that is, "des lauriers"]

[121] Timeus Gaylord
[This is a pseudonym which Smith used on only four occasions, to the best of the present annotator's knowledge. In Weird Tales, November 1941. "The Owls," a translation of "Les Hiboux" of Baudelaire; in the same magazine for July 1942, "Moonlight," a translation of "Clair de lune" of Paul Verlaine; and in the same magazine for May 1945, "Dialogue"; all three appear as by Timeus Gaylord, the first two as translated by the same. "The Owls" appears as by Timeus Gaylord, and with no mention that it is a translation from Baudelaire, in Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre, edited by August Derleth and published by Arkham House, Sauk City, Wisconsin, 1947. The "Timeus" was the first name of Smiths father; the "Gaylord" was the maiden name of Smith's mother.]

Zoned with green zircon and with palest gold.

O splendid, stately love,
Gone like the pomps of void Ecbatana!

[See lines 38-39 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower"].

Rest on thine ears the clamor and the band,
For which they famish in a voiceless land.

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the immarcesible purple of poetry before the color-blind. ((He remembers and takes for his motto the line from Timon of Athens: "Tis well with every land to be at odds."))
The ((romanticist in an age of)) free spirit in life or literalism should take for his motto the line from Timon of Athens: "Tis well with every land to be at odds."

[Compare the phrase "who flaunts a . . before the color-blind" to lines 73-74 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower."]

Mine ironies
Like marbled adders creeping on through time
Shall fang the brains of the unborn.

[See lines 90-92 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower"]

The marbled viper crawls where crawled the melon-vine.

[This is possibly a rejected reading for "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower"]

Taught by me, they will
Reject the fading phantoms called the Real,
And choose in place of them those other phantoms
That fade not, being immaterial.

[This is possibly a rejected reading for "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower." Compare with item 152.]

In the province of love, too much attention has been paid to ethics and not enough to asthetics.

The forms and themes of poetry do not become outworn or exhausted. The exhaustion is in the individual poets ((, as our present period of decadence well testifies)).

Among the countless proofs of decadence in modern English should be instanced the popular abandronment of the solemn tense. In its vulgarity, or tone-deafness, which prompts the disuse of the three beautiful pronouns thou, thee and ye, in favor of the one ((meager)) ((poverty-stricken)) straitened you.

It is a truism of the mystics that "as things are above, so are they below." This raises the speculation as to just how far above, or how far below, the ecstasy of the mystics has carried them.

By prolonged descent, one passes beneath the nadir and climbs to the zenith.

Said Smygo, the iconoclast of Zothique: "Bear a hammer with thee always, and break down any terminus on which is written: 'So far shalt thou pass, but no further go.'"

In Death Death's jest-Book, that Eldorado of poetry which few seem to have discovered, occurs the verse, "O lion-hearted man right asinine." Is there anywhere else in literature so consummate an image of the typical hero beloved by the mob?

There are poets whose obscurity consists in the fact that they perceive analogies and correspondences too remote or arcanic to be ((seized upon)) discerned by others.

((The rebels of one age are the reactionaries of the next, and often enough the revolutionaries of the one following.))

The poet should, with unerring vision, distinguish the eternal from the ((topical)) ((secular)) temporary, and maintain a glacial purity uncontaminated by the latter.

All things conceivable exist, have existed, or will exist somewhere, sometime.

Though God and immortality are perhaps mere figments now, they may become the realities of a future cosmos.

It is a ghastly but tenable proposition that the world is now ruled by the insane, whose increasing plurality will, in a few more generations, make probable the incarceration of all ((the)) sane people born among ((the demented)) them.

O bustling emmets of the lamplit streets,
Fear ((thou)) ye the baleful wisdom that I bring.
From gulfs where chaos ((crawls)) drops and.
((spawns)) breaks ((its)) the egg.
And crawls from out ((the)) its fragments!

Knight of La Mancha, turn thee to the past,
And in its purple kingdom dwell for aye
Nor tilt there thunder-driven iron mills
That shall grind on to silence! Chivalry
Has Flown to ((fairer)) stars ((, and trysts romance)) unsooted by the fumes
That tarnish here the heavens, and romance
Eloigned her oriflamme on towers unbuilded
Amid the marches of ((the future)) an age to be.
Waste not thy knightliness in wars unworthy;
For time and his alastors shall destroy
((Grasping)) And bring full soon to sudden shardless ruin
All things that fret thy spirit, riding down
((This thoroughfare where Mammon ((goads)) herds the damned.))
This pass babelian-walled, this reeking Hinnom
Where Moloch and where Mammon herd the damned.

Don Quixote on Market Street

Riding on Rosinante where the cars
With dismal and remitless clangors pass,
And people move like energumens,
By fiends of fury shuttled back and forth,
Behold, Quixote comes, in ((battered)) dented mail,
Armgaunt, with eyes of some ((clean)) keen haggard hawk
((Far)) Blown from its eyrie. Gazing right and left,
Upon ((the)) his face the lightning of disdain
Flashes, and limns the hollowness of cheeks
Bronzed by the suns of battle; and his hand
Tightens ((upon the)) its sinews on the hafted lance
As if ((he)) some foe had challenged him, or sight
Of unredressed wrong provoked his ire. . . .
((Get)) Go hence, O ((valiant)) dream-led paladin! There is
No honor here, nor glory to be won:
What dost thou in this place? Thy tale is told,
The ((indelible)) high, proud legend of all causes lost:

Sex can be merely the rubbing of an itchy spot; or it can be a method by which two lonely souls attempt to communicate with each other.

Rose, a realmless phantom, on the wind of chaos.

The reactionaries of one age may become the rebels of the next. Rebellion, after all, is relative: it is merely a matter of disputing what- ever happens to be prevalent or in a position of authority.

Seek the fabulous mountain-crag where roosts the roc.

Rebel, fear the ((aftermath)) results of a successful revolution, which may turn you into a tyrant. From dreams of such success, awake in terror, like Anatole France's Satan, from the dream in which he became God.

The so-called poetic inversions are ((usually)) often defensible on the grounds of rhythmic variety or emphasis. ,Fake, for instance, the opening of Paradise Lost, where a magnificent effect of suspended rhythm is built up by delaying the phrase, "Sing, heavenly Muse," for ((four)) six lines instead of beginning the poem with it; which would be considered the direct order nowadays . . . But how mistaken it was of Milton to have committed such a departure from the "natural order of speech" -as if there were any such thing!

All human thought, all science, all religion, is the holding of a candle to the night of the universe.

O ((perennial)) Beauty, clothe thyself
With hues of sun declining and decayed.

[See lines 41-42 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower".]

Say, wouldst thou have
Wisdom, or love, or empire? Let each man
Follow ((his)) some chosen phantom into death.

[This is possibly a rejected reading for "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower." Compare with item 128.]

I build,
Daedalus-like, a labyrinth of words
Wherein my thoughts are hidden Minotaurs.

[See lines 87-89 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower."]

[154] Epigrams and ((Memoranda)) Pensées
[This was possibly intended by the poet as a title for a collection of. his epigrams and pensées. During the years 1923-1925, Smith contributed to The Auburn Journal (Auburn, California) a total of 308 original epigrams and pensées. Publication of a selection of them (selected by Smith) was tentatively considered by an eastern publisher in the early 1940's. A small selection of the epigrams, apothegms, and so on, in The Black Book appears in Smith's second Arkham House poetry collection, Spells and Philtres (1958), under the heading "Epigrams and Apothegms."]

Originality: Find a new point of imagination's compass from which to approach old themes: a new blending of emotional tones and overtones. For style, delve deeply into the immemorial roots of common words; and weave a double texture whose ((woof)) warp will add strange meanings to its wolf, though ((fully unraveled only by the scholar)) not to be unraveled fully except by the scholar. Pursue onomatopoeia into its dimmest and most shadowy recesses. Irony, not poetic, to be used sparingly, as one adds tartness to a dish that might otherwise cloy with sweetness.
Vary to the extreme the natural frequencies of phonetic sounds. Mass the sonants for one effect, the surds for another. A good rule; to change more or less the sequence of vowels and consonants with each transition or contrast of image and meaning.
The hawk's-eye view- of familiar things: Telescopic vision of the remote. The homely resolved to the spectral and mysterious, with gulfs opening between apparently contiguous things. Firm and even minute detail in fantasy. Dreams painted in hues of the solar, rather than the lunar, spectrum. Blinding white effulgence thrown on a ground of absolute night, limn one object or several.

((and few will harken if
I whisper the secrets ((wrung)) wooed from lipless mystery,
Or cry aloud a tomb-((distilled)) extorted lore.))

Pebbles and pearls the ((troubled)) turbid water sifts.

Knowledge is often most concealed when most divulged;
And haply none will harken if I whisper
The secrets wooed from lipless mystery,
Or cry aloud a tomb-extorted lore.

[159] Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower The lamp burns stilly in the standing air,
As in some ((sunless)) breathless antre. Through wide windows
The night ((brings in)) has brought a silence from the stars,
And perfume that the planet dreams in sleep.
The hounds have ceased to bay. The owl that whilom
Hooted his famine to a hollow moon,
Has pounced upon its gopher, or has gorse
To ((fresher)) farther wood((lands))s unhunted past the hill...

within my room
Only the quick, relentless clock ticks on,
Firm as a demon's ((unsuspending)) undecaying pulse;
Or creak of Charon's oar-locks((. In my brain)) as he plies
Between the stygean shores. Evoked thus
((And in my vaulted brain, ((as if to answer it,)) evoked thereby,))

[The line immediately above originally read: "And in my brain, a if to answer it,". The phrase "as if to answer it," was subsequently crossed out, the "evoked thereby," was put beneath it, the "vaulted" was inserted between the "my" and the "brain" with a caret, and the finally the entire line including the alterations was crossed out.] ((Eloigned
In ecstasy that is not of delight))
Within the vaults of my funereal brain,
Voices awaken, sibilant and restless,
Like to the viper's charnel-nurtured brood
Half-grown, amid the shreds of winding-sheets
And crumbling wicker of old bones.

Busied with old regrets, they carry on
Such commerce as the burrowing necrophores
Conduct ((between the)) from grave to grave((s)),

my ((alab)) alembics have distilled
Quintessences of hemlock and nepenthe

[The following three lines were rejected for the final version of this poem.] Beneath a fierier Zodiac I have launched
Tall carvels, zanthic-sailed [sic] and oriflammed.
By compasses that point to poles occult.

[ Compare the line immediately above with the third line of item 199]

Dream: A flock of scrawny vultures, with great gouts of blood on their breasts and under their wings, flying low across a dismal cloudy dawn, between gnarlèd pines.

Personifications, when used in poetry, should be vitalized in some signal way.

The tale of long,
Unguerdoned labours and of breathless days.

[See line 62 of the finished poem "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower"]

The modern intolerance toward what is sometimes called "painted speech," and toward the "grand manner," springs too often from the instinctive resentment ((of vulgar)) inspired in vulgar minds by all that savors of loftiness, exaltation, nobility, sublimity, and aristocracy.

Poetry, though its proper concerns are not primarily intellectual, none the worse for having behind it a keen and firm intelligence. But intelligence alone does not make poetry, as glaringly exemplified by the latter works of T. S. Eliot, which, ((though)) while no doubt profound from a philosophical standpoint, has little or nothing of the bardic magic and mystery; ((leaving)) all such elements have been ruthlessly sacrificed, leaving an obscurity which, unlike that of Gérard de Nerval, is devoid of color, glamor, and the allurement of new imaginative meanings and analogies which ((alone)) would justify obscurity.

Poetry which, while perhaps offering something to the intellect, offers nothing to ((the)) tempt the imagination, has sterilized itself, and is no longer poetry.

Both religion and science, in their separate ways, have tried to destroy the inherent mystery of things by offering solutions. Fortunately, neither of them has ((really solved anything)) succeeded; and mystery remains inviolate.

The true lover of mysteries is not likely to feel any lasting interest in detective stories. Not the least proof of Poe's genius is that he abandoned this genre of writing as soon as he had mastered it.

It is the universally accepted belief that the Wandering Jew must find his immortality a curse and a burden. Yet why? Perhaps, through- out the ages, Ahasuerus has derived profound and cabalistic pleasures from his immortality, and is hoping fervently that Christ will not come again.

Question all truisms. Error may be as universal as the air, and truth (if it exists) may inhere in some forgotten or disregarded belief (viz. Baudelaire's "unknown god")

X, the unknown quantity. Deductions, drawn from logic that seems irrefutable, may be erroneous because X was not perceived and taken into account. Query: How many Xs has science ignored or overlooked? [170a] Certain minerals, colorless in ordinary light, are fluorescent under black light.

In art or literature, it is better to err on the side of over-flamboyance or exuberance than to prune everything down to a drab, dead and flat level. The former vice is at least on the side of growth; the latter represses or even tends to extirpates all growth.

[The phrase "or even tends to extirpate all growth" originally read: "or even extirpates all growth"]

The poetry of Robert Frost, admirable at its best for effects of ((pregnant terseness)) strict simplicity and spareness, has in the long run become sterilized by an excess of these same qualities.

The unadorned style, pregnant and powerful as it sometimes is, can fall easily, unperceived by the writer, into dryness and emptiness. Wordsworth is the most conspicuous example of this.

Maugre the proponents of so-called "basic English," it is maintainable that the finest effects in English ((lit)) style have been obtained by a ((skilful)) deft blending and opposition of Anglo-Saxon words with vocables of classic derivation. As Lytton Strachey points out, the style of Sir Thomas Browne, commonly regarded as over-Latinical, is rich in such blendings and oppositions, and owes to them its peculiar force and grandeur.

Whether the poet deals with nearby and familiar things, or with the remote and fabulous, is, in the last analysis, ((quite)) immaterial; since, in either case, he is deal((s))ing [originally: "he deals"] -with concepts and mental figments rather than ((absolute)) ultimate reality. The world itself is quite possibly a mere superstition of the senses-and no less so because the superstition is universally ((among)) shared by beings [originally: "universal among beings"] with the same sense-equipment.

Said the jester Isbrand, in Death's jest-Book: "Murder's ((went)) worn-out, and full of holes." By- way of a scholastic gloss on this fine line, one might point to the signal achievement of atomic science in proving that all things, even the densest and solidest matter, are "full of holes."

((Beware lest you Should step between two atoms and go plunging Down to the nadir of a molecule.))

The Earth has other pits
Than quarries, caverns, wells, and unfilled graves,
Or craters, and shafted mines. Beware lest you
Should step between two atoms, and go plunging
Down to the nadir of a molecule.

Explanations are neither necessary, desirable, nor possible.

America's ((most)) worst enemy is not Bolshevism but its own rank and shameless commercialism.

Modern art, though often stimulating, through its novelty and variety, is yet essentially decadent. It has broken down the old forms and patterns without replacing them with anything adequate. At worst, it runs to utter chaos and disintegration.

[182] The Isle of Saturn ((Saturnia))
The mythic island-continent where Saturn sleeps, healing through cycles the wounds suffered in his war with the younger gods. A land surrounded by uncrossable seas that either becalm or destroy with storm all voyagers who essay them. Tombs of forgotten pre-titanic giants, inscribed with indecipherable legends. Marble cliffs where the high-flung foam drenches the cypress-walls that guard crofts of strange apple-trees where fruit falls never from the bough. Meadows where nest the gigantic black swans that migrate to other planets. Where graze the hippogriff and unicorn. Where all wonders teem and breed, and the wings of young dragons grow strong for flight on a world that has forgotten the elder marvels.
The glade where Saturn lies between two mountains, the black ivy mingling with his golden beard.

Gods who rose and reigned and died before the Titans.
Lie in topless tombs undomed.

Say, what seer, what poet has beheld Saturnia?
((Muses, say if this ye know!))
Clio or Euterpe, ((say)) tell, if this ye know:
((Zoned it is with storms perennial, with eternal
Doldrums of the untraversed foam))

Zones of guardian storm ((impassible)) unslackening, ((and)) sempiternal
Doldrums of the ((untraversed foam,)) flat,
((airless pools and )) untraversable foam,
Drive the encroaching keels ((upon)) to leeward,
So that none may glimpse it, and no chart include.

[eighth line originally read: "Zones of storm impassible and sepiternal." The ninth line originally read: "Doldrums of the untravsed foam." The "untraversed foam," was then crossed out, and the "fiat, airless pools and" was written in its place. The "flat," was then retained but the "airless pools and" was crossed out, and the "untraversable foam," was written in its place. so that the final reading of the line is: "Doldrums of the flat. untraversable foam"]

Philosophy: A ((sort)) form of ((mental)) intellectual gymnastics.

To destroy wonder and mystery, is to destroy the only elements that make existence tolerable.

Restore Their primal mystery to things profaned.

[186] Broceliande
As a child. I wandered beside a fen Where the sunset, falling through cloudless air. ((Stained)) Stained with scarlet the still and sedgy pools. There I entered a silent evening wood (Knowing not that ((it was)) the wood was Broceliande.) Then, in the twilight of / great oaks, a voice that I / heard and yet heard not / seemed to dictate un- / known words, and I, / constrained by some weird / power, repeated them aloud. .... In the same sunset (or / was it haply in another?) / I came forth again from / the wood beside the / fenland where the / ((pools)) tarns and ponds were still crimson / with a ((the))
afterglowing. / And peering into a / pool, I saw not the / face of a child neglected, / but the hoar and / many-wrinkled visage of / the ancient warlock Merlin!

Any philosophic proposition no matter how monstrous ((and)) or antinomian, can be developed and defended with logic.

It is still possible for the free spirit to survive in America, if he can avoid starving to death, and does not mind isolation and obloquy too much. Just how long it will be possible for him to survive is a moot question.

The true independent is he who dwells detached and remote from the little herds as well as from the big herd. Affiliating with no group or cabal of mice or monkeys, he is of course universally suspect.

Is there anything more hateful, more revolting. than the sing-song unction with which radio advertisers announce and acclaim their various products? It is a voice from the nauseating abyss of commercialdom into which America has sunk.

Disburse a thin and phantom opulence.

She went away, and I was left to ponder
On love's geometries of straight and curved.

Nothing is stupider than the common complaint that poetry lacks "human interest," unless it concerns itself with human emotions, actions, problems and viewpoints. Anything conceivable by the imagination, any speculation ((conception)) ((emergence)) of what may be beyond, above and beneath the mundane sphere, can ((, or may,)) possess "human interest," by charging the horizons of that interest.

[194] The Centaur
I am of those manifold Existences
Once know, or once suspected,
That exist no more for man.

Was it not well to flee
Into the boundless realms of legend
Lest man should bridle me?

Sometimes I am glimpsed by poets
Whose eyes have not been blinded
By the hell-bright lamps of cities;
((And)) Who have not ((lost)) sent their souls
To be devoured by robot minotaurs
In the infamous labyrinths of steel and mortar.

I know the freedom of fantastic things
Ranging in fantasy.

Psychoanalysis and dianetics are, on the face of it, both absurd. People are what they are because of causes that go infinitely farther back than ((th)) infancy or the mother's womb.

Any human being who wants to change another, might do well to give a demonstration of the possibilities by working a change in himself or herself.

Raven and owl
Afar from oak or cypress bough,
Errant above a poleless plain.

[198] [haiku]
Ivrae [?] lubber fay
Falls arsiturvy on
Elfheim's tedded hay.

And he alone shall steer aright
By deviating sign and sun,
Whose compass draws to poles occult
And harbors past the senses five.

[Compare the third line with the very last line of item 159.]

((Ye who have dwelt in palaces
Decaying on oblivion's shore,
Be sure ((to)) ye shall return once more
And draw again your languored breathe
Where breathe the poppies of the ((night)) dusk.))

Ye Shall Return

Ye who have dwelt in palaces
Decayed and opulent and lone
Upon oblivion's nearer shore,
But in some daemon-stirred unrest

Departing thrice, sojourn awhile
By fevered fens and storming seas,
Or in the moil of towns unclean
And sooted fumes of laboring fires-


Know surely that ye shall return,
Into the shadow-land ye left
And draw again your languored breath
Where breathe the poppies of the dusk.

Forlorn, upon some savage promontory,
((The)) A blinded Cyclops roaring to the ((stars)) sun.

Clepsydrae dribbled on the sands
Of sightless, earless Acheron,
And cuckoo clocks in sarabands
Went measuring time through timeless lands,
And Big Ben swam in Phlegethon,
Telling the hour with flame-tipped hands.

Nor falls upon the lyre
The plectrum of the skeleton's white hand,
Striking a final chord.

Life is the promenade of a somnambulist. When, and to what, will the wandering sleeper awaken?

[205] The Somnambulist
A sleep-walker who strays into another world, another dimension, another age. Pure fantasy? Satire? Does he return? Does he stay? Does he remember - or forget - the world from which he strayed?

[206] Twilight Pilgrimage ((to Utressor))
We sought, where unreturning suns descend,
That shrine and fortress at the world's dark end-
The raven-circled towers of Utressor.

A strange, half-fabulous shrine, in a shadowed polar land, once much-frequented by pilgrims, but now forbidden and ridiculed by the reigning cults. The narrator and his friend Zaljis (an enigmatic being, perhaps his own psyche) seek this shrine through upas-infested vales and plateaus where serpents guard inestimable treasures of rare gem-stones. They reach the raven-circled towers and are admitted by a swathed and closely cowled being, the Mysteriarch of Utressor, believed to be ageless, preterhuman, and possessed of demiurgic powers. He offers them initiation into such mysteries (of which ((they)) there are many) as they may choose. These mysteries include the subterranean well in which the stars of occult constellations are reflected; the gardens whose fruit confers on the ((gift)) eater the gift of participation in its vegetable life and sentience; the underground maze in which a subhuman monster must be slain at dire peril; and the mirrors in whose reflection the personalities of any two beholders are transposed or exchanged temporarily. At the moment of returning from such [an] exchange with Zaljis, the narrator sees the uncowled face of the Mysteriarch reflected: a superhuman face in which he reads weariness, irony, mockery the weariness of a god grown tired of his own miracles, a thaumaturgist who mocks and derides both himself and the initiates of his mysteries and ((wonders)) marvels. Ever afterward the teller remains disturbed and disquieted. wondering if all things are but illusions created by a sardonic demiurge, a master of cosmic legerdemain. (Another mystery: the tomb in which the initiate is confined, to undergo the inexpressible mysteries of dissolution into freed molecules and electrons.)

[The original title was Pilgrimage to Utressor. The rather Poesque name "Utressor" recalls directly the name of "Montresor" in Poe's tale, "The Cask of Amontillado"; the beginning "U" connotes vaguely with the "U" in the name "Ulalume" in "The Fall of the House of Usher" and with the "U" in the name "Utalume" in the poem by that title.]

Where Cassiopeia's chair lies overthrown.

[208] The God's Tale
Story told in the 22nd century, on the top shelf in a curiosity shop, by the Martian idol Cargan ((algus)) aihan, to the Mexican deity ((Tlazcoltsotl)) Tlezcatlipocl. Conversation (rather technical) concerning rites of sacrifice. Martian rites usually involve use of colossal ((sun-)) burning glasses, by which sacrifice is roasted alive- or served raw only on rare cloudy days or in certain nocturnal ceremonies.

[209] The Wink and the Chuckle
A famous humorist dies, after expressing to friends his life-long suspicion that the whole cosmos is a jest, whether broad and Rabelaisian, or perhaps dry and subtle as a shaggy dog joke. There must, he insists, be a point, even though he has never quite been able to see it. Some minutes after he has been pronounced dead, the man who remains beside him hears a distinct chuckle, and sees that the lips of the corpse are drawn into a smile, and one eyelid is drooped in an ((distinct)) obvious wink.

[In the phrase "in an ((distinct)) obvious wink," the "n" of the "an" was added after the "distinct" was crossed out.]

[210] [titles]

Symposium of the Gorgon [1]
Djinn Without a bottle [2]
Buzzard's Meat [3]
The Offspring of the Grave [4]
Return to Youth [5]
Wingless Phoenix [6]
The Half-Zombi [7]
Lasus Nature [8]
The Infernal Companions [9]
The Gods of the ((Swine)) Goatherd [10]
Trastiempo [11]
Witches' Sabbath, 2771 [12]
[In the above title, the 7's are written over 6's.]
Illicit Conversation [13]
Black Science [14]
The Pilgrim of Eternity [15]
Chincharrero [16]
The Theft of the Thirty-nine Girdles [17]
The Point of the Jest [18]
[The above is possibly a variant title for The Wink and the Chuckle]
Monsters in the Night [19]
Mnemoka [20]
The Lady, the Maid and Salabub [21]

Sophistication is the daughter of knowledge but not of wisdom

[212] Witches' Sabbath, ((2661)) 2771
Two time-travelers go forward to the year ((2661)) 2771, expecting to find a super-civilization. They land in the midst of a Witches' Sabbath; medieval conditions, religion and superstition having been restored among the ignorant survivors of the atomic age. They are taken for demons, such as the celebrants have been trying to evok. They are ((soon)) joined by ((time-travelers from a still-future age, who have been in the habit of returning to this dark period for re- creation and are also regarded as demons)) several super-scientists both male and female, who have mastered teleportation: members of a small anarchistic- group who dwell apart from the ignorant multitudes. in a mountainous terrain surrounded by a zone of atomic devastation that makes it unapproachable on foot. These beings, universally regarded as demons, are in the habit of frequenting the Sabbaths for amusement. Some of them wear the horns of animals that have been grafted upon their heads. Later in the night the gathering is raided by armed priests, who capture many of the participants, including the time-travelers and the pseudo-demoniac scientists, and imprison them in an inquisition where they are to be tortured and later burnt. The time machine and the magnetic devices used the others for teleportation, have all been confiscated; but the scientists do not seem greatly concerned over their plight.

[213] [titles]

Haunted Water [1]
The Roses and the Mole [2]
The Wandering Boundary [3]

[214] Unquiet
The Wandering Boundary

The ((moon)) claim hangs ((low)) high on a mombo-limb
With the quizzlequit and the quizzleqium

Boundary dispute between two clans of fairies over a strip of land between their respective domains. The strip sometimes changes its position; at others, it disappears entirely. Suit is brought not only to settle the title, but to keep land fixed in its proper place. A man, out walking in the woods at evening, finds himself in this debated strip, which is temporarily intruded upon the earth-continuum, and wanders into Faerie. He is brought into court as a witness in the suit between the contending clans, the Red and the Black.
Strip is marked at its center by a peculiar tree called the mombo, on which two strange birds roost at night in an upside-down position. One bird, from it s note, is called the quizzlequit; the other is the quizzlequirn. A hedge forms old boundary on side of red fairies.

During the trial, certain perturbations and tremors of the strip are reported, foreboading another total disappearance. Court is adjourned. Man goes out with fairies to watch the behavior of the boundary. Enters it again in spite of protests from the fairies, hopes that it may re-intrude upon his own world. His hope is fulfilled. A little later, the strip, mombo-tree, birds and all, disappears [sic]. Since he never finds it again, he deduces that the fairies have somehow fixed it in the proper position, and have settled their suit.

One may chase his own tail around the globe a hundred times and not be an inch nearer to the center of the infinite and the eternal: a truth known to few occidentals.

It is better to go to hell in one's own proper and personal way than to go to heaven in someone else's proper and personal way.

Salvation and damnation are ((theological)) chimeras, whether the terms be used in a theological sense or in any other senses.

In whom illusion doth itself behold.

Through ((telic)) ultimate cycles, as in cycles old,
Phantoms, and apparitions manifold,
Shall pass before the spectral eyes of man
In whom illusion doth itself behold.

La salcavión del ave doméstica será la perdición deláguila.

My dreams are marble and clay :
Some will endure for an age,
Some will the rains wash away
Or the thunder smite in its rage.

To sleep, assured of Devachanic dreams.

Because science has lit a few artificial lights amid the darkness of things, modern man tends to forget that the darkness still exists.

Let us deal gently with our dead illusions in the hope that they will also deal gently with us.

There are people that submerge themselves in surfaces, and drown in mirror reflections.

[226] [Thebaid]
Shall we pay for ((mercy)) succor to the rocks,
Or beg the sea for aid?
The breath of prayer, the windiness of imploration,
Puffs not against. the gale
Nor blows with it in power and violence
Beyond the failing of the owlet's cry.
Discovered only by the sage and bold,

Ultima Thule
((Arctica Deserta))

This is the solitude
From which the ((dust)) clouds of spring, the dust of
summer suns [?]
((Alike are)) Have blown away in due succession,
When gods and creeds, philosophies and moralities
((Are vapors thinned and vanishing))
Thin out and vanish on the waste
Like fumes of vast unstoked furnaces gone cold.

Between us and the abyss there are no veils
Other than those the fumbling suns weave,
And the night looks down on us
With only suns for eyes.

What shall we do, contemplative
Before the.((unregarding void?)) insensate [?], unregarding

I seem to hear
Some lover's ghost, who cries for old delight;
Or dead king telling of the state he had:
An ancient voice grown shrill and frail and sad
Like the cicada in late summer night.

Se tu caballo volador, saliendo
Sobre las lontananzas de la luna.

Communism: the Utopia of army ants.

Do others-the modern perversion of the Golden Rule.

Communism: The apotheosis of the piss-ant.

Conquerors can blow the world up. But none of them can hold it down.

[The following items V:1-11, were evidently written in the early 1929 and thus before the last items of the preceding section; they were inscribed in violet ink.]

[V:1] The Touchstone
The touchstone found by a philosopher, which reveals the true nature of all things. But, finding that the beauty of the world becomes dust and ashes at its touch, and the mountains, and the walls of great cities are turned to mist, and the solid earth itself to a gulf of gloom and mystery, the philosopher casts the stone away, preferring to share the common illusion.

[V:2] The Token
A woman dies, telling her lover, that if possible, she will send him a sign or token of immortality, and the life beyond the tomb, Going to the grave on the morning after her internment, he finds that a beautiful white lily has sprung up overnight.

[V:3] [The Forbidden Forest]
A forest of beautiful but deadly trees and flowers, into which a child wanders, and is overpowered by the poisonous fragrance.

A philosopher who dwells in a forsaken tomb in the desert, meditating upon death and mortality.

A man in royal robes, mounted on a chimera, who comes riding into the city of Nuth from the desert at the world's end, proclaiming himself the King of No-man's Land.

The plague of evil dreams and visions, sent upon the land of Moom by an offended wizard.

[V:7] [The Demon of the Flower]
The forest of rooted serpents, of life half-animal, half-vegetable, which writhes and tosses in the ghastly exuberant light of a vast green sun.

The veiled and terrible one, the god of demon who dwells beyond the verges of the world, and before whom, in his chambers like the chamber of space, two crystals ever lie - the crystals large as planets, one of which gives visions of the past and present, the other the vision of the future and the end. His gaze is forever fixed on the first crystal, and averted from the other, in to which neither He nor any god or demon has ever dared look.

[Compare the above with the poem in prose "The Crystals"]

The Dreadful and enormous pomp of dreams,
The silver wind of eventide.
The sound of hidden flutes
And viols herd through doors of ivory.
The summer of the red and purple suns.

[V:10] [alexandrine]
Jade, malachite, vermilion, amber, amethyst.

The silver wind before the dawn, That warns the sun-awaiting star.

[Evidently written towards the very last part of Smith's life, items M:2-5 of the following miscellaneous notes were found on separate sheets of paper inserted amongst the blank lined-sheets toward the end of the notebook; item M:2 on the one piece of paper and items M:3-5 on another.]


[On a page otherwise blank and subsequent to the "violet notes'" appears the unknown, enigmatic seemingly geological term.]

[M:2] [titles]
Offspring of the Grave [1]
Buzzard's Meat [2]
Ghoul's Manuscript [3]

[Theses are possible those stories that smith was working on, that is, was mentally projecting, during the summer of 1960.]

Swallow-tailed butterflies from meat-maggots.

((Philosophy: in reference to an inkwell in something of Barlow's))

Too many philosophies are based on the assumption that truth can be found at the bottom of an inkwell.

Excepts From the Black Book

[The following items, E:1-12, were published in The Acolyte, Spring 1944, under the above title.]

(A notebook containing used and unused plot-germs, notes on occultism and magic, synopses of stories, fragments of verse, fantastic names for people and places, etc., etc.)

The Sorcerer Departs (fragment of unfinished poem).
I pass . . . but in this lone and crumbling tower,
Builded against the burrowing seas of chaos,
My volumes and my philtres shall abide:
Poisons more dear than any mithridate,
And spells far sweeter than the speech of love. . .
Half-shapen dooms shall slumber in my vaults
And in my volumes cryptic runes that shall
Outblast the pestilence, outgnaw the worm
When loosed by alien wizards on strange years
Under the blackened moon and paling sun.

[See item 71.]

A man who is merely the emanation of a particular place or arrangement of scenic objects, into which he re-merges when followed by someone who senses a mystery in regard to his personality.

[See item 5.]

A phantom shell-face, hands, clothing, etc. -which attaches itself temporarily to a living person, giving him the aspect of one long dead.

[See item 26.]

A remote mountain-region with lost cities and treasure, deserted by human beings, but guarded lay strange clouds that take the forms of men, animals or demons.

[See item 29.]

(Plot-germ of The Primal City, published in Fantasy Fan and Comet Stories. This idea had its genesis in a nightmare remembered by the author from early boyhood.)

Bensozia: A she-devil presiding over the medieval French Sabbats. Supposed to be the Diana of the Ancient Gauls; also called Nocticula, Herodias and the Moon. Ladies went on horseback to her nocturnal revelries. They were forced to inscribe their names in a Sabbatic catalogue along with those of the sorcerers proper, and after this believed themselves to be fairies. (Spence's Encyclopedia of Occultism.)

[This item is not in The Black Book as now extant.]

Expansion and contraction of eye-pupil under light a test of obsession, since an obsessing or intruding spirit cannot secure control of the eye. (Rosicrucianism.)

[See item 23.]

The Noctuary of Nathan Geast. Geast, artist of the weird and macabre, finds that he is gradually losing his faculty of seeing by daylight or even by artificial light. Correspondingly, he develops a nyctaloptic faculty, and can see most perfectly in what is complete darkness, but his pictures arc considered increasingly unintelligible by his friends and patrons. He seems to perceive (and render) new colors not discernible to others. Presently he begins to obtain glimpses of some occult realm lying amid, or beyond, the known world about him. His most frequent. and persistent vision is that of a strange, vast pit or gulf, where a black but glowing monolithic pillar lifts from the dim depths. About this pillar, in aerial mazes of a weird dance of vertiginous ecstasy, a rout of alien beings are whirled recurrently, rising from, and sinking into, unknown abysses. Geast is possessed by a growing fear (and also a desire) that he will somehow be precipitated into this alien world. His diary is found following his unexpected disappearance from his studio and customary haunts.

[See item 69.]

Fantastic Names:

Phenquor [1] [See item 58:5.]
Fulbra [2] [See item 58:7.]
Zactyra [3] [See item 58:6.]
Amprefesne [4] [see item 58:8.]
Luthomne [5] [See item 58:9.]
Manthar [6] [See item 58:12.]
Nisque [7] [See item 58:13.]
Zabdamar [8] [See item 58:33.]
Mirouane [9] [See item 58:35.]
Mygon [10] [See item 58:47.]
Athystixot [11] [See item 58:45.]
Chrono-mage [12] [See item 58 :59.]
Alabbac [13] [See item 58:69.]
Chronisper [14] [See item 58:57.]
Thirlain [15] [See item 58:36.]
Camorba [16] [See item 58:39.]
Valzain [17] [See item 58:62.]
Fustura [18] [See item 58:49.]
Famorte [19] [Sec item 58:61.]
Gnydron [20] [This name is not The Black Book as now extant.]
Avalzant [21] [See item 58:63.]
Pnidleethon [22] [ See item 58:52.]

[Compare the following differences orthography:

E:9:3 Zactyra 58:6 Xactyra
E:9:11 Athystixot 58:45 Athystizot
E:9:12 Chrono-mage 58:59 Chronomage
E:9:13 Alabbac 58.69 Allabuc]

Thirteenth-century conjuration of the devil in words not belonging to any known language:
Bagabi laca bachabé
Lamac cahi achababé
Lamac Lamec Bachalyas
Cabahagy sabalyos
Lagoz atha cabyolas
Samahac at famyolas

[The preceding item is not in The Black Book as of now extant]

(Note: this formula has beers used with telling effect by a dancer friend of Smith's, as an accompaniment to her interpretative dance, Witches' Sabbath.)

[This dance and dancer inspired Smith's poem, "Witch-Dance," in the poem cycle, "The Hill of Dionysus." This same "dancer friend" also served as the inspiration for the poem cycle in its entirety, and which Smith dedicated to her or, in the words of the dedication, "To Bacchante."]

The Cosmic Sequel: The ultramundane reverberation or extension of earthly events, with unimaginable forms and significances. A man stimulates a dormant, unused sense, so that he is able to perceive the ultimate consequences of his own acts. He goes mad.

[This item is not in The Black Book as of now extant.]

Love-Spells: Grillot de Givry, in his Witchcraft Magic and Alchemy, quotes these formulae from an eighteenth-century manuscript:

To gain the love of a person, rub your hands with the juice of vervain (verbena) and touch the woman or man you wish to inspire with love.
Another and simpler formula:
While touching the girls hand with yours, you must say the following words: "Bestarberto corrumpit viscera ejus mulieris." (Bestarberto entices the inward parts of the woman.)
de Givry adds styly: "It would be silly to hunt for complicated liquors when so simple a process is available, and my readers cannot be forgiven if they fail to give it a trial."

[This item is not in The Black Book as of now extant]

[The following quintessential essay was published in The Acolyte, Fall 1944.]

(Extract from The Black Bookof Clark Ashton Smith)

The Philosophy of the Weird Tale

The weird tale is an adumbration or foreshadowing of man's relationship-past, present, and future-to the unknown and infinite, and also an implication of his mental and sensory evolution. Further insight into basic mysteries is only possible through future development of higher faculties than the known senses. Interest in the weird, unknown, and supernormal is a signpost of such development and not merely a psychic residuum from the age of superstition.

[See item 19.]

Appendix of Finished Poems

For the convenience of the reader in referring to them, there are gathered here those finished poems by Smith of which the first drafts appear in The Black Book. The poems include the following titles:

see item
"Song of the Necromancer" 53
"Dominium in Excelsis" 83
"Shapes in the Sunset" 109
"Don Quixote on Market Street" 143
"Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower" 159
"The Isle of Saturn" 182
"The Centaur" 194
"Ye Shall Return" 200
"Thebaid" 226

The first draft of "Thebaid" appears under the title of "Ultima Thule." "Song of the Necromancer" was first published in Weird Tales, February 1937, and is included in Smith's Selected Poems (published by Arkham House in November 1971), in the section entitled "Incantations." "Dominium in Excelsis," "Shapes in the Sunset," "Don Quixote on Market Street," "Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower," "The Isle of Saturn," and "Ye Shall Return" were initially published in Smith's first Arkham House poetry collection, The Dark Chateau (1951). "Don Quixote on Market Street" has also been published in Weird Tales, March 1953. "The Centaur" and "Thebaid" were first published in Smith's second Arkham House poetry collection, Spells and Philtres (1958).

Instead of reproducing the poems here, I offer links to were they reside on the website.

Song of the Necromancer
Dominium in Excelsis
Shapes in the Sunset
Don Quixote on Market Street
Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower
The Isle of Saturn
The Centaur
Ye Shall Return

Appendix of Published Epigrams and Pensées

For the convenience of the interested reader are gathered herein a complete collection of those epigrams, apothegms, Pensées, and so on, which were published during Smith's lifetime exclusive of those epigrams and Pensées which the poet contributed to The Auburn Journal (Auburn, Placer County, California) during the years 1923- 1925, and which include 308 original, and 17 selected, epigrams and Pensées. Virtually- all of these 308, or 325, have never seen publication elsewhere, although publication of a selection of them (chosen by Smith) was tentatively considered by an eastern publisher in the early 1940s. The selection of epigrams, apothegms, and so on, that appears in Smith's second Arkham House poetry collection Spells and Philtres (1958) under the title "Epigrams and Apothegms," was almost exclusively selected from The Black Book as of now extant. During the years 1935-1937, Smith contributed to two amateur magazines, The Dragon Fire and The International Observer, virtually identical sets of epigrams and Pensées. The arrangement of the following material is chronological according to publication:

Number of Items
The Dragon-Fly, October 1935: "The Epigrams of Alastor" 10
The Dragon-Fly, May 1936: "Pertinence and Impertinence" 2
The International Observer, January 1937: "The Epigrams of Alastor" 9
Spells and Philtres (May 1958) : "Epigrams and Apothegms" 23

The Dragon-Fly, October 1935: "The Epigrams of Alastor"

The real objection to the Darwinian theory is that man has not yet evolved from the ape.

Truth is always what we desire it to be.

Sanity is the madness of the greatest number.

The man of artistic talent must too often choose between being a Don Quixote or a swineherd.

The salvation of the barnyard fowl is the damnation of the eagle.
[See item 4 of "The Epigrams of Alastor" in The International Observer for January 1937, item 11 of "Epigrams and Apothegms" in Spells and Philtres, and item 220 in The Black Book for Smith's version in Spanish.]

The sign-posts on the road to Fame are crucifixes.

Reason and logic are never disinterested.

Only the impossible has any real charm. All things that can happen have been vulgarized by happening too often.

Humanism: a sort of cosmic provincialism; the egomania of the species; the jingoism of earthlings; the religion of Lilliput.

The true poet is not created by an epoch; he creates his own epoch.

The Dragon-Fly, May 1936: "Pertinence and Impertinence"

The heaven of hogs is a sublimated hog-wallow.

Scandal-mongers reserve their worst malice for the people who are not afraid of them.

The International Observer, January 1937 : "The Epigrams of Alastor"

[This was a set of nine epigrams and Pensées which were-with no alterations-the same as items 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 of "The Epigrams of Alastor" in The Dragon-Fly for October 1935, and item 1 of "Pertinence and Impertinence" in the same magazine for May 1936.]

Spells and Philtres (May 1958) "Epigrams and Apothegms"

The commonest and gravest error of modernity lies in believing that antiquity is dead.
[See item 112]

The forms and themes of poetry do not become outworn or exhausted. The exhaustion is in the individual poets.
[See item 130.]

It is a truism of the mystics that "as things are above, so are they below." This raises a speculation as to just how far above, or how far below, the ecstasy of the mystics has carried them.
[See item 132.]

In the province of love, too much attention has been paid to ethics and not enough to esthetics.
[See item 129.]

Said Smygo, the iconoclast of Zothique: "Bear a hammer with thee always, and break down any terminus on which is written: 'So far shalt thou pass but no farther go.'"
[See item 134.]

Explanations are neither necessary, desirable, nor possible.
[See item 179.]

Philosophy: a sort of intellectual gymnastics.
[See item 183.]

Sophistication is the daughter of knowledge but not of wisdom.
[See item 211.]

Let us deal gently with our dead illusions, in the hope that they will also deal gently with us.
[See item 224.]

There are people who submerge themselves in surfaces, and drown in mirror-reflections.
[See item 225.]

The salvation of the barnyard fowl is the damnation of the eagle.
[See item 5 of the first selection of "The Epigrams of Alastor," item 4 of the second selection of the same, and item 220 in The Black Book for Smith's version in Spanish.]

There are those who believe that the veil of Isis is a petticoat.
[This item is not in The Black Book as of now extant]

The modern intolerance toward what is called "painted speech," toward "the grand manner," springs too often from the instinctive resentment inspired in vulgar minds by all that savors of loftiness, exaltation, nobility, sublimity, and aristocracy.
[See item 163.]

Personifications, when used in poetry, should be vitalized in some signal way.
[See item 161.]

All human thought, all science, all religion, is the holding of a candle to the night of the universe.
[See item 150.]

The rebels of one age may become the reactionaries of the next. Rebellion, after all, is relative: it is merely a matter of disputing whatever happens to be prevalent or in a position of authority.
[See items 137 and 146.]

Rebel, fear the results of a successful revolution, which may turn you into a tyrant. From dreams of such success, awake in terror, like Anatole France's Satan from the dream in which he became God.
[See item 148.]

There are poets whose obscurity consists in the fact that they perceive analogies and correspondences too remote or arcanic to be discerned by others.
[See item 136.]

Keats, speaking of poetry, advocated the principle of "loading the rifts with gold." In latter times a new principle has been discovered, that of loading the gold with rifts. It has led to the winning of many poetry prizes.
[See item 114.]

Question all truisms. Error may be as universal as the air, and truth (if it exists) may inhere in some forgotten or disregarded belief. (Viz: Baudelaire's "unknown god.")
[See item 169.]

X, the unknown quantity. Deductions, drawn from logic that seems irrefutable, may be erroneous because X was not perceived and taken into account. Query: how many X's has science ignored or overlooked?
[See item 170.]

Certain minerals, colorless in ordinary light, are fluorescent under black light.
[See item 170a.]

It is a ghastly but tenable proposition that the world is now ruled by the insane, whose increasing plurality will, in a few more generations, make probable the incarceration of all sane people born among them.
[See item 141.]

Note: The following epigrams and Pensées, with the exception of items 161 and 220, all have check marks of one kind or another affixed to them in The Black Book. These check marks probably indicate Smith's first selection of epigrams and Pensées intended to appear in Spells and Philtres. Evidently the second and final selection did not include items 135, 139, 166, 167, 175, 189, and 195 since these last-indicated do not appear in Spells and Philtres, although all the other items do. Item 220 does appear but in its original English.

A "v" indicates a V-shaped check mark, as follows: (A tick mark)
An "x" indicates an X-shaped check mark, as follows: (A X mark)
"S&P" following an item-number, indicates that the item in question appears in Spells and Philtres.

v 112 S&P
v 114 S&P
v 129 S&P
v 130 S&P
v 132 S&P
v 134 S&P
v 135
v 136 S&P
v 139
v 141 S&P
v 116 S&P
[See also item 137.]
v 148 S&P
vv 150 S&P
161 S&P
v 163 S&P
v 166
v 167
v 169 S&P
v 170 & 170a S&P
v 175
v 179 S&P
vvv 183 S&P
v 189
v 195
x 211 S&P
220 S&P
x 224 S&P
v 225 S&P

Two Memoirs of Smith by George F. Hass

As I Remember Klarkash-Ton
Memories of Klarkash-Ton


The sorcerer departs . , . and Isis high tower is drowned
Slowly by low flat communal seats that level all . . .
While crowding centuries retreat, return and fall
Into the cyclic gulf that girds the cosmos round,
Widening deepening ever outward without bound . . .
Till the oft-rerisen bells from young Atlantis call;
And again the wizard-mortised tower upbuilds its wall
Above a rebeginning cycle, turret-crowned.

New-born the mage resummons stronger spells, and spirits
With dazzling darkness clad about, and fierier flame
Renewed by aeon-curtained slumber All the powers
Of genii and Solomon the sage inherits;
And there, to blaze with blinding glory the bored hours.
He calls upon Shem-hamphorash, the nameless Name.

Clark Ashton Smith
June 4th, 1961

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