Thursday, January 16, 2020


Read "Song" at The Eldritch Dark:

This is the second piece by Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) from an uncompleted drama called "The Fugitives".  It is not clear whether this song is intended to be sung by either of the characters (Aviol and Cartha) mentioned in the surviving stage directions.

With this second part of "The Fugitives" we get more of the flavor of the Poseidonis realm, a fictional location that CAS used for several of his short stories:

Though your eldest necromant
Raise again with solemn chant
All the ghostly girls of yore,
Crowned with blossoms thin and frore,
Vagrant love returns no more.

A later stanza even has some of the flavor of Edgar Allan Poe's short fiction:

Though you seek from door to door
Through the city's wrath and roar;
Scan the phantom faces wan
Of the masquers mute with dawn—
Always love has come-and gone.

This poem "Song" has strong thematic ties to the title of the uncompleted longer work ("The Fugitives"), and as a reader I begin to dimly grasp the shape of that proposed drama for the stage.  

One complete dramatic work from CAS survives ("The Dead will Cuckold You"), and I am quite a fan of that piece, especially as it is set in CAS' wonderful fictional milieu of Zothique.  I am thus very intrigued by "The Fugitives", since the small pieces of it that we have are impressive, and I can't help but think that the complete drama might in fact be CAS' great lost (really never finished) masterpiece.

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