Don Quixote on Market Street

Clark Ashton Smith

Riding on Rosinante where the cars
With dismal unremitting clangors pass,
And people move like curbless energumens
Rowelled by fiends of fury back and forth,
Behold! Quixote comes, in battered mail,
Armgaunt, with eyes of some keen haggard hawk
Far from his eyrie. Gazing right and left,
Over his face a lightning of disdain
Flushes, and limns the hollowness of cheeks
Bronzed by the suns of battle; and his hand
Tightens beneath its gauntlet on the lance
As if some foe had challenged him, or sight
Of unredressed wrong provoked his ire.....

Brave spectre, what chimera shares thy saddle,
Pointing thee to this place? Thy tale is told,
The high, proud legend of all causes lost—
A quenchless torch emblazoning black ages.
Go hence, deluded paladin: there is
No honor here, nor glory, to be won.
Knight of La Mancha, turn thee to the past,
Amid its purple marches ride for aye,
Nor tilt with thunder-driven iron mills
That shall grind on to silence. Chivalry
Has flown to stars unsooted by the fumes
That have befouled these heavens, and romance
Departing, will unfurl her oriflammes
On towers unbuilded in an age to be.
Waste not thy knightliness in wars unworthy,
For time and his alastors shall destroy
Full soon, and bring to stuffless, cloudy ruin
All things that fret thy spirit, riding down
This pass with pandemonian walls, this Hinnom
Where Moloch and where Mammon herd the doomed.

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