Monday, April 1, 2019

The Nereid

Read "The Nereid" at The Eldritch Dark:

This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) ran to five quatrains (twenty lines) when it was originally published in Ebony and Crystal (1922), but was later expanded to eight quatrains when it was included in the career-spanning Selected Poems (1971).

That later extension of the poem makes all the difference for me as a reader, since the three additional quatrains are the best part of the poem:

The berylline pallors of her face
Illume the kingdom of the drowned.
In her the love that none has found,
The unflowering rapture, folded grace,

Await some lover strayed and lone,
Some god misled, who shall not come
Though the decrescent seas lie dumb
And sunken in their wells of stone.

But nevermore of him, perchance,
Her enigmatic musings are,
Whose purpling tresses float afar
In grottoes of the last romance.

The last three lines quoted above have a particular magic.  

The romantic element was not part of the original, shorter version of the poem, and the later inclusion of these musings on "some lover strayed and lone" really give the poem a focus that was missing the first time around.  

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