Saturday, May 16, 2020
Read "Fantaisie D'antan" at The Eldritch Dark:
This is another poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) that saw publication in the legendary Weird Tales magazine. The saucy cover image was likely not illustrating this poem!
In general, I've always found CAS' use of an extended English vocabulary to be a strength, something that he generally employs with discretion and precision. Alas, I don't feel that this is the case with "Fantaisie D'antan", as in the opening lines:
Lost and alien lie the leas,
Purfled all with euphrasies,
Where the lunar unicorn
Breasts an amber-pouring morn
Risen from hesperian seas
Of a main that has no bourn.
I can't read a line like "Purfled all with euphrasies" in anything other than an awkward manner, although the intended meaning is clear enough. This is a rare poem from CAS that seems to emphasize a somewhat exaggerated technique over real poetry, and is thus one of a very small number of verses from his pen that is entirely forgettable.