11.7k
Yule Horror

There is snow on the ground,
And the valleys are cold,
And a midnight profound
Blackly squats o'er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feastings un-hallowed and old.

There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the sin's turning flight.
And chant wild in the woods as they dance round a Yule- altar fungous and white.

To no gale of Earth's kind
Sways the forest of oak,
Where the sick boughs entwined
By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow'rs are the pow'rs of the dark, from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

5.9k
Nemesis

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

I have whirled with the earth at the dawning,
When the sky was a vaporous flame;
I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

I had drifted o'er seas without ending,
Under sinister grey-clouded skies,
That the many-forked lightning is rending,
That resound with hysterical cries;
With the moans of invisible daemons, that out of the green waters rise.

I have plunged like a deer through the arches
Of the hoary primoridal grove,
Where the oaks feel the presence that marches,
And stalks on where no spirit dares rove,
And I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers through dead branches above.

I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains
That rise barren and bleak from the plain,
I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains
That ooze down to the marsh and the main;
And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things, I care not to gaze on again.

I have scanned the vast ivy-clad palace,
I have trod its untenanted hall,
Where the moon rising up from the valleys
Shows the tapestried things on the wall;
Strange figures discordantly woven, that I cannot endure to recall.

I have peered from the casements in wonder
At the mouldering meadows around,
At the many-roofed village laid under
The curse of a grave-girdled ground;
And from rows of white urn-carven marble, I listen intently for sound.

I have haunted the tombs of the ages,
I have flown on the pinions of fear,
Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages;
Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear:
And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
The jewel-decked throne by the Nile;
I was old in those epochs uncounted
When I, and I only, was vile;
And Man, yet untainted and happy, dwelt in bliss on the far Arctic isle.

Oh, great was the sin of my spirit,
And great is the reach of its doom;
Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it,
Nor can respite be found in the tomb:
Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

4.2k
Despair

O'er the midnight moorlands crying,
Thro' the cypress forests sighing,
In the night-wind madly flying,
Hellish forms with streaming hair;
In the barren branches creaking,
By the stagnant swamp-pools speaking,
Past the shore-cliffs ever shrieking,
Damn'd demons of despair.

Once, I think I half remember,
Ere the grey skies of November
Quench'd my youth's aspiring ember,
Liv'd there such a thing as bliss;
Skies that now are dark were beaming,
Bold and azure, splendid seeming
Till I learn'd it all was dreaming —
Deadly drowsiness of Dis.

But the stream of Time, swift flowing,
Brings the torment of half-knowing —
Dimly rushing, blindly going
Past the never-trodden lea;
And the voyager, repining,
Sees the wicked death-fires shining,
Hears the wicked petrel's whining
As he helpless drifts to sea.

Evil wings in ether beating;
Vultures at the spirit eating;
Things unseen forever fleeting
Black against the leering sky.
Ghastly shades of bygone gladness,
Clawing fiends of future sadness,
Mingle in a cloud of madness
Ever on the soul to lie.

Thus the living, lone and sobbing,
In the throes of anguish throbbing,
With the loathsome Furies robbing
Night and noon of peace and rest.
But beyond the groans and grating
Of abhorrent Life, is waiting
Sweet Oblivion, culminating
All the years of fruitless quest.

4.0k
The Garden

There's an ancient, ancient garden that I see sometimes in dreams,      
   Where the very Maytime sunlight plays and glows with spectral gleams;  
   Where the gaudy-tinted blossoms seem to wither into grey,              
   And the crumbling walls and pillars waken thoughts of yesterday.        
   There are vines in nooks and crannies, and there's moss about the pool,
   And the tangled weedy thicket chokes the arbour dark and cool:          
   In the silent sunken pathways springs a herbage sparse and spare,      
   Where the musty scent of dead things dulls the fragrance of the air.    
   There is not a living creature in the lonely space arouna,              
   And the hedge~encompass'd d quiet never echoes to a sound.              
   As I walk, and wait, and listen, I will often seek to find              
   When it was I knew that garden in an age long left behind;              
   I will oft conjure a vision of a day that is no more,                  
   As I gaze upon the grey, grey scenes I feel I knew before.              
   Then a sadness settles o'er me, and a tremor seems to start -          
   For I know the flow'rs are shrivell'd hopes - the garden is my heart.

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
  And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
  And the harpies of upper air,
  That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
  Never shone in the sunset's gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
  Where the rivers of madness stream
  Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind blows through the rows of sheaves
  In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
  And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
  For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
  That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral power
  Spreads sleep o'er the cosmic throne,
  And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
  That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
  Sprung out of the tomb's black maw
  To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
  The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
  Shall some day be with the rest,
  And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
  And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
  Of horror and death are penned,
  For the hounds of Time to rend.

Little Tiger, burning bright
With a subtle Blakeish light,
Tell what visions have their home
In those eyes of flame and chrome!
Children vex thee - thoughtless, gay -
Holding when thou wouldst away:
What dark lore is that which thou,
Spitting, mixest with thy meow?  

3.5k
The City

It was golden and splendid,                                                      
That City of light;                                                            
A vision suspended                                                              
In deeps of the night;                                                        
A region of wonder and glory, whose temples were marble and white.              
                                                                              
I remember the season                                                            
It dawn'd on my gaze;                                                          
The mad time of unreason,                                                        
The brain-numbing days                                                        
When Winter, white-sheeted and ghastly, stalks onward to torture and craze.      
                                                                              
More lovely than Zion                                                            
It shone in the sky                                                            
When the beams of Orion                                                          
Beclouded my eye,                                                              
Bringing sleep that was filled with dim mem'ries of moments obscure and gone by.
                                                                              
Its mansions were stately,                                                      
With carvings made fair,                                                      
Each rising sedately                                                            
On terraces rare,                                                              
And the gardens were fragrant and bright with strange miracles blossoming there.
                                                                              
The avenues lur'd me                                                            
With vistas sublime;                                                          
Tall arches assur'd me                                                          
That once on a time                                                            
I had wander'd in rapture beneath them, and bask'd in the Halcyon clime.        
                                                                              
On the plazas were standing                                                      
A sculptur'd array;                                                            
Long bearded, commanding,                                                        
rave men in their day—                                                        
But one stood dismantled and broken, its bearded face battered away.            
                                                                              
In that city effulgent                                                          
No mortal I saw,                                                              
But my fancy, indulgent                                                          
To memory's law,                                                              
Linger'd long on the forms in the plazas, and eyed their stone features with    
awe.                                                                            
                                                                              
I fann'd the faint ember                                                        
That glow'd in my mind,                                                        
And strove to remember                                                          
The aeons behind;                                                              
To rove thro' infinity freely, and visit the past unconfin'd.                    
                                                                              
Then the horrible warning                                                        
Upon my soul sped                                                              
Like the ominous morning                                                        
That rises in red,                                                            
And in panic I flew from the knowledge of terrors forgotten and dead.            

Eternal brood the shadows on this ground,
Dreaming of centuries that have gone before;
Great elms rise solemnly by slab and mound,
Arched high above a hidden world of yore.
Round all the scene a light of memory plays,
And dead leaves whisper of departed days,
Longing for sights and sounds that are no more.

Lonely and sad, a specter glides along
Aisles where of old his living footsteps fell;
No common glance discerns him, though his song
Peals down through time with a mysterious spell.
Only the few who sorcery's secret know,
Espy amidst these tombs the shade of Poe.

Black loom the crags of the uplands behind me,
Dark are the sands of the far-stretching shore.
Dim are the pathways and rocks that remind me
Sadly of years in the lost Nevermore.

Soft laps the ocean on wave-polish'd boulder,
Sweet is the sound and familiar to me;
Here, with her head gently bent to my shoulder,
Walk'd I with Unda, the Bride of the Sea.

Bright was the morn of my youth when I met her,
Sweet as the breeze that blew o'er the brine.
Swift was I captur'd in Love's strongest fetter,
Glad to be here, and she glad to be mine.

Never a question ask'd I where she wander'd,
Never a question ask'd she of my birth:
Happy as children, we thought not nor ponder'd,
Glad of the bounty of ocean and earth.

Once when the moonlight play'd soft 'mid the billows,
High on the cliff o'er the waters we stood,
Bound was her hair with a garland of willows,
Pluck'd by the fount in the bird-haunted wood.

Strangely she gaz'd on the surges beneath her,
Charm'd with the sound or entranc'd by the light:
Then did the waves a wild aspect bequeath her,
Stern as the ocean and weird as the night.

Coldly she left me, astonish'd and weeping,
Standing alone 'mid the legions she bless'd:
Down, ever downward, half gliding, half creeping,
Stole the sweet Unda in oceanward quest.

Calm grew the sea, and tumultuous beating
Turn'd to a ripple as Unda the fair
Trod the wet sands in affectionate greeting,
Beckon'd to me, and no longer was there!

Long did I pace by the banks where she vanish'd,
High climb'd the moon and descended again.
Grey broke the dawn till the sad night was banish'd,
Still ach'd my soul with its infinite pain.

All the wide world have I search'd for my darling;
Scour'd the far desert and sail'd distant seas.
Once on the wave while the tempest was snarling,
Flash'd a fair face that brought quiet and ease.

Ever in restlessness onward I stumble
Seeking and pining scarce heeding my way.
Now have I stray'd where the wide waters rumble,
Back to the scene of the lost yesterday.

Lo! the red moon from the ocean's low hazes
Rises in ominous grandeur to view;
Strange is its face as my tortur'd eye gazes
O'er the vast reaches of sparkle and blue.

Straight from the moon to the shore where I'm sighing
Grows a bright bridge made of wavelets and beams.
Frail it may be, yet how simple the trying,
Wand'ring from earth to the orb of sweet dreams.

What is yon face in the moonlight appearing;
Have I at last found the maiden that fled?
Out on the beam-bridge my footsteps are nearing
Her whose sweet beckoning hastens my tread.

Current's surround me, and drowsily swaying,
Far on the moon-path I seek the sweet face.
Eagerly, hasting, half panting, half praying,
Forward I reach for the vision of grace.

Murmuring waters about me are closing,
Soft the sweet vision advances to me.
Done are my trials; my heart is reposing
Safe with my Unda, the Bride of the Sea.

2.9k
The Cats

Babels of blocks to the high heavens towering
Flames of futility swirling below;
Poisonous fungi in brick and stone flowering,
Lanterns that shudder and death-lights that glow.

Black monstrous bridges across oily rivers,
Cobwebs of cable to nameless things spun;
Catacomb deeps whose dank chaos delivers
Streams of live foetor that rots in the sun.

Colour and splendour, disease and decaying,
Shrieking and ringing and crawling insane,
Rabbles exotic to stranger-gods praying,
Jumbles of odour that stifle the brain.

Legions of cats from the alleys nocturnal.
Howling and lean in the glare of the moon,
Screaming the future with mouthings infernal,
Yelling the Garden of Pluto's red rune.

Tall towers and pyramids ivy'd and crumbling,
Bats that swoop low in the weed-cumber'd streets;
Bleak Arkham bridges o'er rivers whose rumbling
Joins with no voice as the thick horde retreats.

Belfries that buckle against the moon totter,
Caverns whose mouths are by mosses effac'd,
And living to answer the wind and the water,
Only the lean cats that howl in the wastes.

In the Midnight heaven's burning  
                  Through the ethereal deeps afar          
                  Once I watch'd with restless yearning    
                  An alluring aureate star;                
                  Ev'ry eve aloft returning                
                  Gleaming nigh the Arctic Car.            
                                                          
                  Mystic waves of beauty blended            
                  With the gorgeous golden rays            
                  Phantasies of bliss descended            
                  In a myrrh'd Elysian haze.                
                  In the lyre-born chords extended          
                  Harmonies of Lydian lays.                
                                                          
                  And (thought I) lies scenes of pleasure,  
                  Where the free and blessed dwell,        
                  And each moment bears a treasure,        
                  Freighted with the lotos-spell,          
                  And there floats a liquid measure        
                  From the lute of Israfel.                
                                                          
                  There (I told myself) were shining        
                  Worlds of happiness unknown,              
                  Peace and Innocence entwining            
                  By the Crowned Virtue's throne;          
                  Men of light, their thoughts refining    
                  Purer, fairer, than my own.              
                                                          
                  Thus I mus'd when o'er the vision        
                  Crept a red delirious change;            
                  Hope dissolving to derision,              
                  Beauty to distortion strange;            
                  Hymnic chords in weird collision,        
                  Spectral sights in endless range….      
                  Crimson burn'd the star of madness        
                  As behind the beams I peer'd;            
                  All was woe that seem'd but gladness      
                  Ere my gaze with Truth was sear'd;        
                  Cacodaemons, mir'd with madness,          
                  Through the fever'd flick'ring leer'd….
                  Now I know the fiendish fable            
                  The the golden glitter bore;              
                  Now I shun the spangled sable            
                  That I watch'd and lov'd before;          
                  But the horror, set and stable,          
                  Haunts my soul forevermore!    

2.9k
Sunset

The cloudless day is richer at its close;
A golden glory settles on the lea;
Soft, stealing shadows hint of cool repose
To mellowing landscape, and to calming sea.

And in that nobler, gentler, lovelier light,
The soul to sweeter, loftier bliss inclines;
Freed form the noonday glare, the favour'd sight
Increasing grace in earth and sky divines.

But ere the purest radiance crowns the green,
Or fairest lustre fills th' expectant grove,
The twilight thickens, and the fleeting scene
Leaves but a hallow'd memory of love!

The thing, he said, would come in the night at three
From the old churchyard on the hill below;
But crouching by an oak fire's wholesome glow,
I tried to tell myself it could not be.

Surely, I mused, it was pleasantry
Devised by one who did not truly know
The Elder Sign, bequeathed from long ago,
That sets the fumbling forms of darkness free.

He had not meant it - no - but still I lit
Another lamp as starry Leo climbed
Out of the Seekonk, and a steeple chimed
Three - and the firelight faded, bit by bit.

Then at the door that cautious rattling came -
And the mad truth devoured me like a flame!

Once more the ancient feast returns,
And the bright hearth domestic burns
  With Yuletide's added blaze;
So, too, may all your joys increase
Midst floods of mem'ry, love, and peace,
  And dreams of Halcyon days.

2.4k
The Wood

They cut it down, and where the pitch-black aisles
Of forest night had hid eternal things,            
They scaled the sky with towers and marble piles    
To make a city for their revellings.                
                                                                
White and amazing to the lands around              
That wondrous wealth of domes and turrets rose;    
Crystal and ivory, sublimely crowned                
With pinnacles that bore unmelting snows.          
                                                                
And through its halls the pipe and sistrum rang,    
While wine and riot brought their scarlet stains;  
Never a voice of elder marvels sang,                
Nor any eye called up the hills and plains.        
                                                                
Thus down the years, till on one purple night      
A drunken minstrel in his careless verse            
Spoke the vile words that should not see the light,
And stirred the shadows of an ancient curse.        
                                                                
Forests may fall, but not the dusk they shield;    
So on the spot where that proud city stood,        
The shuddering dawn no single stone revealed,      
But fled the blackness of a primal wood.

Haughty Sphinx, whose amber eyes
Hold the secrets of the skies,
As thou ripplest in thy grace,
Round the chairs and chimney-place,
Scorn on thy patrician face:
Rise not harsh, nor use thy claws
On the hand that gives applause—
Good-will only doth abide
In these lines at Christmastide!

How dull the wretch, whose philosophic mind
Disdains the pleasures of fantastic kind;
Whose prosy thoughts the joys of life exclude,
And wreck the solace of the poet's mood!
Young Zeno, practis'd in the Stoic's art,
Rejects the language of the glowing heart;
Dissolves sweet Nature to a mess of laws;
Condemns th' effect whilst looking for the cause;
Freezes poor Ovid in an iced review,
And sneers because his fables are untrue!
In search of hope the hopeful zealot goes,
But all the sadder tums, the more he knows!
Stay! Vandal sophist, whose deep lore would blast
The grateful legends of the storied past;
Whose tongue in censure flays th' embellish'd page,
And scorns the comforts of a dreary age:
Wouldst strip the foliage from the vital bough
Till all men grow as wisely dull as thou?
Happy the man whose fresh, untainted eye
Discerns a Pantheon in the spangled sky;
Finds sylphs and dryads in the waving trees,
And spies soft Notus in the southern breeze
For whom the stream a cheering carol sings,
While reedy music by the fountain rings;
To whom the waves a Nereid tale confide
Till friendly presence fills the rising tide.
Happy is he, who void of learning's woes,
Th' ethereal life of bodied Nature knows;
I scorn the sage that tells me it but seems,
And flout his gravity in sunlight dreams!

2.1k
Festival

There is snow on the ground,
And the valleys are cold,
And a midnight profound
Blackly squats o'er the wold;
But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of
feastings unhallowed and old.

There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the sun's turning flight.
And chant wild in the woods as they dance
round a Yule-altar fungous and white.

To no gale of Earth's kind
Sways the forest of oak,
Where the thick boughs entwined
By mad mistletoes choke,
For these pow'rs are the pow'rs of the dark,
from the graves of the lost Druid-folk.

And mayst thou to such deeds
Be an abbot and priest,
Singing cannibal greeds
At each devil-wrought feast,
And to all the incredulous world
shewing dimly the sign of the beast.

As when a pigeon, loos'd in realms remote,
Takes instant wing, and seeks his native cote,
So speed my blessings from a barb'rous clime
To thee and Providence at Christmas time!

England! My England! can the surging sea
That lies between us tear my heart from thee?
Can distant birth and distant dwelling drain
Th' ancestral blood that warms the loyal vein?
Isle of my Fathers! hear the filial song
Of him whose sources but to thee belong!
World-Conquering Mother! by thy mighty hand
Was carv'd from savage wilds my native land:
Thy matchless sons the firm foundation laid;
Thy matchless arts the nascent nation made:
By thy just laws the young republic grew,
And through thy greatness, kindred greatness knew.
What man that springs from thy untainted line
But sees Columbia's virtues all as thine?
Whilst nameless multitudes upon our shore
From the dim corners of creation pour,
Whilst mongrel slaves crawl hither to partake
Of Saxon liberty they could not make,
From such an alien crew in grief I turn,
And for the mother's voice of Britain burn.
England! can aught remove the cherish'd chain
That binds my spirit to thy blest domain?
Can Revolution's bitter precepts sway
The soul that must the ties of race obey?
Create a new Columbia if ye will,
The flesh that forms me is Britannic still!
Hail! oaken shades, and meads of dewy green,
So oft in sleep, yet ne'er in waking seen.
Peal out, ye ancient chimes, from vine-clad tower
Where pray'd my fathers in a vanish'd hour:
What countless years of rev'rence can ye claim
From bygone worshippers that bore my name!
Their forms are crumbling in the vaults around,
Whilst I, across the sea, but dreamthe sound.
Return, Sweet Vision! Let me glimpse again
The stone-built abbey, rising o'er the plain;
The neighb'ring village with its sun-shower'd square;
The shaded mill-stream, and the forest fair,
The hedge-lin'd lane, that leads to rustic cot
Where sweet contentment is the peasant's lot:
The mystic grove, by Druid wraiths possess'd,
The flow'ring fields, with fairy-castles blest:
And the old manor-house, sedate and dark,
Set in the shadows of the wooded park.
Can this be dreaming? Must my eyelids close
That I may catch the fragrance of the rose?
Is it in fancy that the midnight vale
Thrills with the warblings of the nightingale?
A golden moon bewitching radiance yields,
And England's fairies trip o'er England's fields.
England! Old England! in my love for thee
No dream is mine, but blessed memory;
Such haunting images and hidden fires
Course with the bounding blood of British sires:
From British bodies, minds, and souls I come,
And from them draw the vision of their home.

  Awake, Columbia! scorn the vulgar age
That bids thee slight thy lordly heritage.
Let not the wide Atlantic's wildest wave
Burst the blest bonds that fav'ring Nature gave:
Connecting surges 'twixt the nations run,
Our Saxon souls dissolving into one!        

May good St. Nick, like as a bird of night,    
Bring thee rich blessings in his annual flight;
Long by thy chimney rest his pond'rous pack,    
And leave with lessen'd weight upon his back!

— The End —