Tuesday, January 11, 2022


This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) was not published in his lifetime, and is not available on The Eldritch Dark, so here's the complete text:

Whoso follows thee, O mystic Beauty,
will find, before the ultimate abyss,
thy face a pearl that founders and is lost
in the black billows of oblivion.

CAS also translated this poem into Spanish with the title "La Hermosura".

"Beauty" presents a rather dark vision of the final reward to be found at the end of a poet's life journey.  CAS penned this when he was in his late fifties, and I can't help but wonder if he wrote it during a dark moment when his many years of living in near poverty began to weigh on him.  

And yet there is another way to read these lines, in which the poet sees the face of Beauty just before it is lost to "the black billows of oblivion".  The very end may still be grim, but in those last moments the poet gazes upon the face that he has pursued all his life: the goal has been attained.

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