The Prophet Speaks

Clark Ashton Smith

City forbanned by seer and god and devil!
In glory less than Tyre or fabled Ys,
But more than they in mere, surpassing evil!

Yea, black Atlantis, fallen beneath dim seas
For sinful lore and rites to demons done,
Bore not the weight of such iniquities.

Your altars with a primal foulness run,
Where the worm hears the thousand-throated hymn....
And all the sunsets write your malison,

And all, the stars unrolled from heaven's rim
Declare the doom which I alone may read
In moving ciphers numberless and dim.

O city consecrate to crime and greed!
O scorner of the Muses' messenger!
Within your heart the hidden maggots breed.

Against your piers the nether seas confer;
Against your towers the typhons in their slumber
In sealed abysms darkly mutter and stir:

They dream the day when earth shall disencumber
Her bosom of your sprawled and beetling piles;
When tides that bore your vessels without number

Shall turn your hills to foam-enshrouded isles,
And, ebbing, leave but slime and desolation,
Ruin and rust, through all your riven miles.

On you shall fall a starker devastation
Than came upon Tuloom and Tarshish old,
In you shall dwell the last abomination.

The dust of all your mansions and the mould
Shall move in changing mounds and clouds disparted
About the wingless air, the footless wold.

The sea, withdrawn from littorals desert-hearted,
Shall leave you to the silence of the sky—
A place fordone, forlorn, unnamed, uncharted,

Where naught molests the sluggish crotali.

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