Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Pursuer

This poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was never published in his lifetime, and is apparently an early draft of a later poem with the same name that appeared in his Selected Poems (1971).  This early version is not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the poem itself:

Ascendant from what dead profundity,
          Of lives that Death, methought, had compassed round--
          Sealed with the night of suns, forever bound
With dust of systems,--comest thou to me,
Despair, whose other name in memory
          Is tongueless now--whence comest, thus enwound
          With Night's forgotten purples, to astound
All present days with old inveteracy?

O shape of subtler horrors, here unguessed,
          Have I not climbed secure from their abyss,
Those lower spheres by trampling Death deprest?
          Those tearest me beyond the hells of this,
                    Down chasms dreadful for the light of tears,
                    And ampler glooms alive with crawling fears!

I'll be interested to see how CAS revised this sonnet later in his career, since this version is a bit muddled, so much so that it almost seems like a parody of CAS' vocabulary and stylistic nuances.

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