Clark Ashton Smith

In Averoigne the enchantress weaves
Weird spells that call a changeling sun,
Or hale the moon of Hecate
Down to the ivy-hooded towers.
At evening, from her nightshade bowers,
The bidden vipers creep, to be
The envoys of her malison;
And philtres drained from tomb-fat leaves
Drip through her silver sieves.

In Averoigne swart phantoms flown
From pestilent moat and stagnant lake
Glide through the garish festival
In torch-lit cities far from time.
Whether for death or birth, the chime
Of changeless bells equivocal
Clangs forth, while carven satyrs make
With mouths of sullen, sombre stone
Unending silent moan.

In Averoigne abides the mage.
So deep the silence of his cell,
Life hears the termless monarchies
That walk with thunder-echoing shoon
In iron castles past the moon—
Fast-moated with eternities;
And hears the shrewish laughters swell
Of Norns that plot the impested age
And wars that suns shall wage.

In Averoigne the lamia sings
To lyres restored from tombs antique,
And lets her coiling tresses fall
Before a necromantic glass.
She sees her vein-drawn lovers pass,
Faintly they cry to her, and all
The bale they find, the bliss they seek,
Is echoed in the tarnished strings
That tell archaic things.

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