Saturday, January 8, 2022


Read "Averoigne" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) is named for one of the fictional realms that provided settings for his short stories (along with Poseidonis, Zothique, etc).  Averoigne is purported to be a remote, mountainous region of France, where the power of medieval Christianity is constantly tested by ancient remnants of the pagan world.

The poem "Averoigne" perfectly captures the darkly sorcerous spirit of the fictional realm.  The opening stanza is particularly effective, as CAS describes an enchantress going about her doubtful business:

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.

The phrase "philtres drained from tomb-fat leaves" is CAS at his very best, using language that is genuinely vigorous, practically writhing with a malign vehemence that few other authors could hope to match!

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