Saturday, January 13, 2024


Born this day in 1893

I am the spectre who returns
Unto some desolate world in ruin borne afar
On the black flowing of Lethean skies:
Ever I search, in cryptic galleries,
The void sarcophagi, the broken urns
Of many a vanished avatar;
Or haunt the gloom of crumbling pylons vast
In temples that enshrine the shadowy past.
Viewless, impalpable, and fleet,
I roam stupendous avenues, and greet
Familiar sphinxes carved from everlasting stone,
Or the fair, brittle gods of long ago,
Decayed and fallen low.
And there I mark the tail clepsammiae
That time has overthrown,
And empty clepsydrae,
And dials drowned in umbrage never-lifting;
And there, on rusty parapegms,
I read the ephemerides
Of antique stars and eider planets drifting
Oblivionward in night;
And there, with purples of the tomb bedlight
And crowned with funereal gems,
I bold awhile the throne
Whereon mine immemorial selves have sate,
Canopied by the triple-tinted glory
Of the three suns forever paled and flown.

I am the spectre who returns
And dwells content with his forlorn estate
In mansions lost and hoary
Where no lamp burns;
Who trysts within the sepulchre,
And finds the ancient shadows lovelier
Than gardens all emblazed with sevenfold noon,
Or topaz-builded towers
That throng below some iris-pouring moon.
Exiled and homeless in the younger stars,
Henceforth I shah inhabit that grey clime
Whose days belong to primal calendars;
Nor would I come again
Back to the garish terrene hours:
For I am free of vaults unfathomable
And treasures lost from time:
With bat and vampire there
I fit through sombre skies immeasurable
Or fly adown the unending subterranes;
Mummied and ceremented,
I sit in councils of the kingly dead,
And oftentimes for vestiture I wear
The granite of great idols looming darkly
In atlantean fanes;
Or closely now and starkly
I ding as dings the attenuating air
About the ruins bare.


  1. It is a shame that he only wrote for 9 years. The Seven Geases is a favorite CAS story of mine.

  2. It looks like there are some typos.

  3. For a signed copy sans the unfortunate typos:

    1. I see at least one mistake even in the original – "homless" for "homeless."

  4. Someone should write a CAS biopic and cast Simon Pegg.

  5. “The skies are haunted by that which it were madness to know; and strange abominations pass evermore between earth and moon and athwart the galaxies. Unnamable things have come to us in alien horror and will come again. And the evil of the stars is not as the evil of Earth.” - The Beast of Averoigne

    I've been feeling the urge to resurrect my old Averoigne campaign into a greater "Clark Ashton Smythos" setting. Maybe when Hippocampus Press publishes the Hyperborea book I will reread them and get inspired again..

    1. That would be amazing. I too had run an Averoigne campaign some years ago, with the character playing as freed convicts. Great time!

  6. Clark Ashton Smith is my favourite writer. A true genius with an incredible and powerful immagination

  7. The bard of Auburn, California, no less. I had a opportunity to visit the site of Clark Ashton Smith's memorial plaque there when I happened to learn the place was right near the Old Auburn Courthouse when I was litigating a trial up there. The cabin where Smith wrote had burned down and the the original property where Smith's ashes were spread became a housing tract up in the hills there.

  8. Here's our CAS Hyperborean Ron Edwards's Sorcerer games played two years ago - after a collective re-read of Hyperborea stories:

  9. One of the great ones. Even today, nobody scares me like Clark Ashton Smith.