This is another early poem by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) unpublished in his lifetime, and not available on The Eldritch Dark, so let's begin with the text itself:
In vain, Romance, we seek thy mystic land
Though e'er our holden eyes shall see afar
As beacon-light, thy fatal siren star
That gleams above a strange, elusive strand.
Shall yet, where all the barring Years are dead,
The earth we know to secret darkness hurled
Our questing feet upon some farther world
Unto thy strange and radiant realm be led.
Shall yet we gain once more from mist and night
And barren years, thy large and younger light?
Thy golden sands our feet may never gain,
Though oh how beautiful we see them shine!
Forever like the dim horizon line
We watch them fade across the fruitless main.
There is a powerful sense of yearning here. And yet this sonnet could perhaps also be read as something of a mission statement for CAS, an author whose exuberant imagination and formidable language skills allowed him to get much closer to the realms of Romance than most human beings.
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