H​.​P. Lovecraft's Fungi From Yuggoth and Other Poems

by Graham Plowman, William E. Hart, H.P. Lovecraft

I. The Book 01:08
The place was dark and dusty and half-lost In tangles of old alleys near the quays, Reeking of strange things brought in from the seas, And with queer curls of fog that west winds tossed. Small lozenge panes, obscured by smoke and frost, Just shewed the books, in piles like twisted trees, Rotting from floor to roof—congeries Of crumbling elder lore at little cost. I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through, Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep Some secret, monstrous if one only knew. Then, looking for some seller old in craft, I could find nothing but a voice that laughed.
II. Pursuit 00:54
I held the book beneath my coat, at pains To hide the thing from sight in such a place; Hurrying through the ancient harbor lanes With often-turning head and nervous pace. Dull, furtive windows in old tottering brick Peered at me oddly as I hastened by, And thinking what they sheltered, I grew sick For a redeeming glimpse of clean blue sky. No one had seen me take the thing—but still A blank laugh echoed in my whirling head, And I could guess what nighted worlds of ill Lurked in that volume I had coveted. The way grew strange—the walls alike and madding— And far behind me, unseen feet were padding.
III. The Key 01:02
I do not know what windings in the waste Of those strange sea-lanes brought me home once more, But on my porch I trembled, white with haste To get inside and bolt the heavy door. I had the book that told the hidden way Across the void and through the space-hung screens That hold the undimensioned worlds at bay, And keep lost aeons to their own demesnes. At last the key was mine to those vague visions Of sunset spires and twilight woods that brood Dim in the gulfs beyond this earth’s precisions, Lurking as memories of infinitude. The key was mine, but as I sat there mumbling, The attic window shook with a faint fumbling.
The day had come again, when as a child I saw—just once—that hollow of old oaks, Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes The slinking shapes which madness has defiled. It was the same—an herbage rank and wild Clings round an altar whose carved sign invokes That Nameless One to whom a thousand smokes Rose, aeons gone, from unclean towers up-piled. I saw the body spread on that dank stone, And knew those things which feasted were not men; I knew this strange, grey world was not my own, But Yuggoth, past the starry voids—and then The body shrieked at me with a dead cry, And all too late I knew that it was I!
The daemon said that he would take me home To the pale, shadowy land I half recalled As a high place of stair and terrace, walled With marble balustrades that sky-winds comb, While miles below a maze of dome on dome And tower on tower beside a sea lies sprawled. Once more, he told me, I would stand enthralled On those old heights, and hear the far-off foam. All this he promised, and through sunset’s gate He swept me, past the lapping lakes of flame, And red-gold thrones of gods without a name Who shriek in fear at some impending fate. Then a black gulf with sea-sounds in the night: “Here was your home,” he mocked, “when you had sight!”
VI. The Lamp 01:05
We found the lamp inside those hollow cliffs Whose chiseled sign no priest in Thebes could read, And from whose caverns frightened hieroglyphs Warned every creature of earth’s breed. No more was there—just that one brazen bowl With traces of a curious oil within; Fretted with some obscurely patterned scroll, And symbols hinting vaguely of strange sin. Little the fears of forty centuries meant To us as we bore off our slender spoil, And when we scanned it in our darkened tent We struck a match to test the ancient oil. It blazed—great God! . . . But the vast shapes we saw In that mad flash have seared our lives with awe.
The great hill hung close over the old town, A precipice against the main street’s end; Green, tall, and wooded, looking darkly down Upon the steeple at the highway bend. Two hundred years the whispers had been heard About what happened on the man-shunned slope— Tales of an oddly mangled deer or bird, Or of lost boys whose kin had ceased to hope. One day the mail-man found no village there, Nor were its folk or houses seen again; People came out from Aylesbury to stare— Yet they all told the mail-man it was plain That he was mad for saying he had spied The great hill’s gluttonous eyes, and jaws stretched wide.
Ten miles from Arkham I had struck the trail That rides the cliff-edge over Boynton Beach, And hoped that just at sunset I could reach The crest that looks on Innsmouth in the vale. Far out at sea was a retreating sail, White as hard years of ancient winds could bleach, But evil with some portent beyond speech, So that I did not wave my hand or hail. Sails out of lnnsmouth! echoing old renown Of long-dead times. But now a too-swift night Is closing in, and I have reached the height Whence I so often scan the distant town. The spires and roofs are there—but look! The gloom Sinks on dark lanes, as lightless as the tomb!
It was the city I had known before; The ancient, leprous town where mongrel throngs Chant to strange gods, and beat unhallowed gongs In crypts beneath foul alleys near the shore. The rotting, fish-eyed houses leered at me From where they leaned, drunk and half-animate, As edging through the filth I passed the gate To the black courtyard where the man would be. The dark walls closed me in, and loud I cursed That ever I had come to such a den, When suddenly a score of windows burst Into wild light, and swarmed with dancing men: Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead— And not a corpse had either hands or head!
They took me slumming, where gaunt walls of brick Bulge outward with a viscous stored-up evil, And twisted faces, thronging foul and thick, Wink messages to alien god and devil. A million fires were blazing in the streets, And from flat roofs a furtive few would fly Bedraggled birds into the yawning sky While hidden drums droned on with measured beats. I knew those fires were brewing monstrous things, And that those birds of space had been Outside— I guessed to what dark planet’s crypts they plied, And what they brought from Thog beneath their wings. The others laughed—till struck too mute to speak By what they glimpsed in one bird’s evil beak.
XI. The Well 01:00
Farmer Seth Atwood was past eighty when He tried to sink that deep well by his door, With only Eb to help him bore and bore. We laughed, and hoped he’d soon be sane again. And yet, instead, young Eb went crazy, too, So that they shipped him to the county farm. Seth bricked the well-mouth up as tight as glue— Then hacked an artery in his gnarled left arm. After the funeral we felt bound to get Out to that well and rip the bricks away, But all we saw were iron hand-holds set Down a black hole deeper than we could say. And yet we put the bricks back—for we found The hole too deep for any line to sound.
They told me not to take the Briggs’ Hill path That used to be the highroad through to Zoar, For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four, Had left a certain monstrous aftermath. Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope, I could not think of elms or hempen rope, But wondered why the house still seemed so new. Stopping a while to watch the fading day, I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs, When through the ivied panes one sunset ray Struck in, and caught the howler unawares. I glimpsed—and ran in frenzy from the place, And from a four-pawed thing with human face.
The winter sunset, flaming beyond spires And chimneys half-detached from this dull sphere, Opens great gates to some forgotten year Of elder splendours and divine desires. Expectant wonders burn in those rich fires, Adventure-fraught, and not untinged with fear; A row of sphinxes where the way leads clear Toward walls and turrets quivering to far lyres. It is the land where beauty’s meaning flowers; Where every unplaced memory has a source; Where the great river Time begins its course Down the vast void in starlit streams of hours. Dreams bring us close—but ancient lore repeats That human tread has never soiled these streets.
It is a certain hour of twilight glooms, Mostly in autumn, when the star-wind pours Down hilltop streets, deserted out-of-doors, But shewing early lamplight from snug rooms. The dead leaves rush in strange, fantastic twists, And chimney-smoke whirls round with alien grace, Heeding geometries of outer space, While Fomalhaut peers in through southward mists. This is the hour when moonstruck poets know What fungi sprout in Yuggoth, and what scents And tints of flowers fill Nithon’s continents, Such as in no poor earthly garden blow. Yet for each dream these winds to us convey, A dozen more of ours they sweep away!
Deep in my dream the great bird whispered queerly Of the black cone amid the polar waste; Pushing above the ice-sheet lone and drearly, By storm-crazed aeons battered and defaced. Hither no living earth-shapes take their courses, And only pale auroras and faint suns Glow on that pitted rock, whose primal sources Are guessed at dimly by the Elder Ones. If men should glimpse it, they would merely wonder What tricky mound of Nature’s build they spied; But the bird told of vaster parts, that under The mile-deep ice-shroud crouch and brood and bide. God help the dreamer whose mad visions shew Those dead eyes set in crystal gulfs below!
The house was old, with tangled wings outthrown, Of which no one could ever half keep track, And in a small room somewhat near the back Was an odd window sealed with ancient stone. There, in a dream-plagued childhood, quite alone I used to go, where night reigned vague and black; Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack Of fear, and with a wonder each time grown. One later day I brought the masons there To find what view my dim forbears had shunned, But as they pierced the stone, a rush of air Burst from the alien voids that yawned beyond. They fled—but I peered through and found unrolled All the wild worlds of which my dreams had told.
There were great steppes, and rocky table-lands Stretching half-limitless in starlit night, With alien campfires shedding feeble light On beasts with tinkling bells, in shaggy bands. Far to the south the plain sloped low and wide To a dark zigzag line of wall that lay Like a huge python of some primal day Which endless time had chilled and petrified. I shivered oddly in the cold, thin air, And wondered where I was and how I came, When a cloaked form against a campfire’s glare Rose and approached, and called me by my name. Staring at that dead face beneath the hood, I ceased to hope—because I understood.
Beyond that wall, whose ancient masonry Reached almost to the sky in moss-thick towers, There would be terraced gardens, rich with flowers, And flutter of bird and butterfly and bee. There would be walks, and bridges arching over Warm lotos-pools reflecting temple eaves, And cherry-trees with delicate boughs and leaves Against a pink sky where the herons hover. All would be there, for had not old dreams flung Open the gate to that stone-lanterned maze Where drowsy streams spin out their winding ways, Trailed by green vines from bending branches hung? I hurried—but when the wall rose, grim and great, I found there was no longer any gate.
Year after year I heard that faint, far ringing Of deep-toned bells on the black midnight wind; Peals from no steeple I could ever find, But strange, as if across some great void winging. I searched my dreams and memories for a clue, And thought of all the chimes my visions carried; Of quiet Innsmouth, where the white gulls tarried Around an ancient spire that once I knew. Always perplexed I heard those far notes falling, Till one March night the bleak rain splashing cold Beckoned me back through gateways of recalling To elder towers where the mad clappers tolled. They tolled—but from the sunless tides that pour Through sunken valleys on the sea’s dead floor.
Out of what crypt they crawl, I cannot tell, But every night I see the rubbery things, Black, horned, and slender, with membraneous wings, And tails that bear the bifid barb of hell. They come in legions on the north wind’s swell, With obscene clutch that titillates and stings, Snatching me off on monstrous voyagings To grey worlds hidden deep in nightmare’s well. Over the jagged peaks of Thok they sweep, Heedless of all the cries I try to make, And down the nether pits to that foul lake Where the puffed shoggoths splash in doubtful sleep. But oh! If only they would make some sound, Or wear a face where faces should be found!
And at the last from inner Egypt came The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed; Silent and lean and cryptically proud, And wrapped in fabrics red as sunset flame. Throngs pressed around, frantic for his commands, But leaving, could not tell what they had heard; While through the nations spread the awestruck word That wild beasts followed him and licked his hands. Soon from the sea a noxious birth began; Forgotten lands with weedy spires of gold; The ground was cleft, and mad auroras rolled Down on the quaking citadels of man. Then, crushing what he chanced to mould in play, The idiot Chaos blew Earth’s dust away.
Out in the mindless void the daemon bore me, Past the bright clusters of dimensioned space, Till neither time nor matter stretched before me, But only Chaos, without form or place. Here the vast Lord of All in darkness muttered Things he had dreamed but could not understand, While near him shapeless bat-things flopped and fluttered In idiot vortices that ray-streams fanned. They danced insanely to the high, thin whining Of a cracked flute clutched in a monstrous paw, Whence flow the aimless waves whose chance combining Gives each frail cosmos its eternal law. “I am His Messenger,” the daemon said, As in contempt he struck his Master’s head.
I do not know if ever it existed— That lost world floating dimly on Time’s stream— And yet I see it often, violet-misted, And shimmering at the back of some vague dream. There were strange towers and curious lapping rivers, Labyrinths of wonder, and low vaults of light, And bough-crossed skies of flame, like that which quivers Wistfully just before a winter’s night. Great moors led off to sedgy shores unpeopled, Where vast birds wheeled, while on a windswept hill There was a village, ancient and white-steepled, With evening chimes for which I listen still. I do not know what land it is—or dare Ask when or why I was, or will be, there.
Somewhere in dream there is an evil place Where tall, deserted buildings crowd along A deep, black, narrow channel, reeking strong Of frightful things whence oily currents race. Lanes with old walls half meeting overhead Wind off to streets one may or may not know, And feeble moonlight sheds a spectral glow Over long rows of windows, dark and dead. There are no footfalls, and the one soft sound Is of the oily water as it glides Under stone bridges, and along the sides Of its deep flume, to some vague ocean bound. None lives to tell when that stream washed away Its dream-lost region from the world of clay.
“Beware St. Toad’s cracked chimes!” I heard him scream As I plunged into those mad lanes that wind In labyrinths obscure and undefined South of the river where old centuries dream. He was a furtive figure, bent and ragged, And in a flash had staggered out of sight, So still I burrowed onward in the night Toward where more roof-lines rose, malign and jagged. No guide-book told of what was lurking here— But now I heard another old man shriek: “Beware St.Toad’s cracked chimes!” And growing weak, I paused, when a third greybeard croaked in fear: “Beware St. Toad’s cracked chimes!” Aghast, I fled— Till suddenly that black spire loomed ahead.
John Whateley lived about a mile from town, Up where the hills began to huddle thick; We never thought his wits were very quick, Seeing the way he let his farm run down. He used to waste his time on some queer books He’d found around the attic of his place, Till funny lines got creased into his face, And folks all said they didn’t like his looks. When he began those night-howls we declared He’d better be locked up away from harm, So three men from the Aylesbury town farm Went for him—but came back alone and scared. They’d found him talking to two crouching things That at their step flew off on great black wings.
From Leng, where rocky peaks climb bleak and bare Under cold stars obscure to human sight, There shoots at dusk a single beam of light Whose far blue rays make shepherds whine in prayer. They say (though none has been there) that it comes Out of a pharos in a tower of stone, Where the last Elder One lives on alone, Talking to Chaos with the beat of drums. The Thing, they whisper, wears a silken mask Of yellow, whose queer folds appear to hide A face not of this earth, though none dares ask Just what those features are, which bulge inside. Many, in man’s first youth, sought out that glow, But what they found, no one will ever know.
I cannot tell why some things hold for me A sense of unplumbed marvels to befall, Or of a rift in the horizon’s wall Opening to worlds where only gods can be. There is a breathless, vague expectancy, As of vast ancient pomps I half recall, Or wild adventures, uncorporeal, Ecstasy-fraught, and as a day-dream free. It is in sunsets and strange city spires, Old villages and woods and misty downs, South winds, the sea, low hills, and lighted towns, Old gardens, half-heard songs, and the moon’s fires. But though its lure alone makes life worth living, None gains or guesses what it hints at giving.
Once every year, in autumn’s wistful glow, The birds fly out over an ocean waste, Calling and chattering in a joyous haste To reach some land their inner memories know. Great terraced gardens where bright blossoms blow, And lines of mangoes luscious to the taste, And temple-groves with branches interlaced Over cool paths—all these their vague dreams shew. They search the sea for marks of their old shore— For the tall city, white and turreted— But only empty waters stretch ahead, So that at last they turn away once more. Yet sunken deep where alien polyps throng, The old towers miss their lost, remembered song.
I never can be tied to raw, new things, For I first saw the light in an old town, Where from my window huddled roofs sloped down To a quaint harbour rich with visionings. Streets with carved doorways where the sunset beams Flooded old fanlights and small window-panes, And Georgian steeples topped with gilded vanes— These were the sights that shaped my childhood dreams. Such treasures, left from times of cautious leaven, Cannot but loose the hold of flimsier wraiths That flit with shifting ways and muddled faiths Across the changeless walls of earth and heaven. They cut the moment’s thongs and leave me free To stand alone before eternity.
It had been old when Babylon was new; None knows how long it slept beneath that mound, Where in the end our questing shovels found Its granite blocks and brought it back to view. There were vast pavements and foundation-walls, And crumbling slabs and statues, carved to shew Fantastic beings of some long ago Past anything the world of man recalls. And then we saw those stone steps leading down Through a choked gate of graven dolomite To some black haven of eternal night Where elder signs and primal secrets frown. We cleared a path—but raced in mad retreat When from below we heard those clumping feet.
His solid flesh had never been away, For each dawn found him in his usual place, But every night his spirit loved to race Through gulfs and worlds remote from common day. He had seen Yaddith, yet retained his mind, And come back safely from the Ghooric zone, When one still night across curved space was thrown That beckoning piping from the voids behind. He waked that morning as an older man, And nothing since has looked the same to him. Objects around float nebulous and dim— False, phantom trifles of some vaster plan. His folk and friends are now an alien throng To which he struggles vainly to belong.
Over old roofs and past decaying spires The harbour whistles chant all through the night; Throats from strange ports, and beaches far and white, And fabulous oceans, ranged in motley choirs. Each to the other alien and unknown, Yet all, by some obscurely focussed force From brooding gulfs beyond the Zodiac’s course, Fused into one mysterious cosmic drone. Through shadowy dreams they send a marching line Of still more shadowy shapes and hints and views; Echoes from outer voids, and subtle clues To things which they themselves cannot define. And always in that chorus, faintly blent, We catch some notes no earth-ship ever sent.
The way led down a dark, half-wooded heath Where moss-grey boulders humped above the mould, And curious drops, disquieting and cold, Sprayed up from unseen streams in gulfs beneath. There was no wind, nor any trace of sound In puzzling shrub, or alien-featured tree, Nor any view before—till suddenly, Straight in my path, I saw a monstrous mound. Half to the sky those steep sides loomed upspread, Rank-grassed, and cluttered by a crumbling flight Of lava stairs that scaled the fear-topped height In steps too vast for any human tread. I shrieked—and knew what primal star and year Had sucked me back from man’s dream-transient sphere!
I saw it from that hidden, silent place Where the old wood half shuts the meadow in. It shone through all the sunset’s glories—thin At first, but with a slowly brightening face. Night came, and that lone beacon, amber-hued, Beat on my sight as never it did of old; The evening star—but grown a thousandfold More haunting in this hush and solitude. It traced strange pictures on the quivering air— Half-memories that had always filled my eyes— Vast towers and gardens; curious seas and skies Of some dim life—I never could tell where. But now I knew that through the cosmic dome Those rays were calling from my far, lost home.
There is in certain ancient things a trace Of some dim essence—more than form or weight; A tenuous aether, indeterminate, Yet linked with all the laws of time and space. A faint, veiled sign of continuities That outward eyes can never quite descry; Of locked dimensions harbouring years gone by, And out of reach except for hidden keys. It moves me most when slanting sunbeams glow On old farm buildings set against a hill, And paint with life the shapes which linger still From centuries less a dream than this we know. In that strange light I feel I am not far From the fixt mass whose sides the ages are.
Despair 02:43
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 daemons 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, Gold 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.
Festival 01:41
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 unhallow’d 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 sick boughs entwin’d 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.
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 weaves thro’ 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 pow’r 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 penn’d, For the hounds of Time to rend.
Eternal brood the shadows on this ground, Dreaming of centuries that have gone before; Great elms rise solemnly by slab and mound, Arch’d 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 spectre glides along Aisles where of old his living footsteps fell; No common glance discerns him, tho’ his song Peals down thro’ time with a mysterious spell: Only the few who sorcery’s secret know Espy amidst these tombs the shade of Poe.
Nemesis 04:34
Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night, I have liv’d 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 whirl’d 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-fork’d lightning is rending, That resound with hysterical cries; With the moans of invisible daemons that out of the green waters rise. I have plung’d like a deer thro’ 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 thro’ 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 scann’d the vast ivy-clad palace, I have trod its untenanted hall, Where the moon writhing up from the valleys Shews the tapestried things on the wall; Strange figures discordantly woven, which I cannot endure to recall. I have peer’d from the casement in wonder At the mouldering meadows around, At the many-roof’d 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-deck’d 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. Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night, I have liv’d 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.
The hours of night unheeded fly, And in the grate the embers fade; Vast shadows one by one pass by In silent daemon cavalcade. But still the magic volume holds The raptur’d eye in realms apart, And fulgent sorcery enfolds The willing mind and eager heart. The lonely room no more is there— For to the sight in pomp appear Temples and cities pois’d in air And blazing glories—sphere on sphere.
There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track Over the hill, and strained to see The fields that teased my memory. This tree, that wall—I knew them well, And all the roofs and orchards fell Familiarly upon my mind As from a past not far behind. I knew what shadows would be cast When the late moon came up at last From back of Zaman’s Hill, and how The vale would shine three hours from now. And when the path grew steep and high, And seemed to end against the sky, I had no fear of what might rest Beyond that silhouetted crest. Straight on I walked, while all the night Grew pale with phosphorescent light, And wall and farmhouse gable glowed Unearthly by the climbing road. There was the milestone that I knew— “Two miles to Dunwich”—now the view Of distant spire and roofs would dawn With ten more upward paces gone. . . . There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track, And reached the crest to see outspread A valley of the lost and dead: And over Zaman’s Hill the horn Of a malignant moon was born, To light the weeds and vines that grew On ruined walls I never knew. The fox-fire glowed in field and bog, And unknown waters spewed a fog Whose curling talons mocked the thought That I had ever known this spot. Too well I saw from the mad scene That my loved past had never been— Nor was I now upon the trail Descending to that long-dead vale. Around was fog—ahead, the spray Of star-streams in the Milky Way. . . . There was no hand to hold me back That night I found the ancient track.
The thing, he said, would come that 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 a 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!
The Outpost 03:51
When evening cools the yellow stream, And shadows stalk the jungle’s ways, Zimbabwe’s palace flares ablaze For a great King who fears to dream. For he alone of all mankind Waded the swamp that serpents shun; And struggling toward the setting sun, Came on the veldt that lies behind. No other eyes had vented there Since eyes were lent for human sight— But there, as sunset turned to night, He found the Elder Secret’s lair. Strange turrets rose beyond the plain, And walls and bastions spread around The distant domes that fouled the ground Like leprous fungi after rain. A grudging moon writhed up to shine Past leagues where life can have no home; And paling far-off tower and dome, Shewed each unwindowed and malign. Then he who in his boyhood ran Through vine-hung ruins free of fear, Trembled at what he saw—for here Was no dead, ruined seat of man. Inhuman shapes, half-seen, half-guessed, Half solid and half ether-spawned, Seethed down from starless voids that yawned In heav’n, to these blank walls of pest. And voidward from that pest-mad zone Amorphous hordes seethed darkly back, Their dim claws laden with the wrack Of things that men have dreamed and known. The ancient Fishers from Outside— Were there not tales the high-priest told, Of how they found the worlds of old, And took what pelf their fancy spied? Their hidden, dread-ringed outposts brood Upon a million worlds of space; Abhorred by every living race, Yet scatheless in their solitude. Sweating with fright, the watcher crept Back to the swamp that serpents shun, So that he lay, by rise of sun, Safe in the palace where he slept. None saw him leave, or come at dawn, Nor does his flesh bear any mark Of what he met in that curst dark— Yet from his sleep all peace has gone. When evening cools the yellow stream, And shadows stalk the jungle’s ways, Zimbabwe’s palace flares ablaze, For a great King who fears to dream.
To a Dreamer 01:52
I scan thy features, calm and white Beneath the single taper's light; Thy dark-fring'd lids, behind whose screen Are eyes that view not earth's demesne. And as I look, I fain would know The paths whereon thy dream-steps go; The spectral realms that thou canst see With eyes veil'd from the world and me. For I have likewise gaz'd in sleep On things my mem’ry scarce can keep, And from half-knowing long to spy, Again the scenes before thine eye. I, too, have known the peaks of Thok; The vales of Pnath, where dream-shapes flock; The vaults of Zin—and well I trow Why thou demand'st that taper's glow. But what is this that subtly slips Over thy face and bearded lips? What fear distracts thy mind and heart, That drops must from thy forehead start? Old visions wake—thine op'ning eyes Gleam black with clouds of other skies, And as from some demoniac sight I flee into the haunted night.
A time-black tower against dim banks of cloud; Around its base the pathless, pressing wood. Shadow and silence, moss and mould, enshroud Grey, age-fell’d slabs that once as cromlechs stood. No fall of foot, no song of bird awakes The lethal aisles of sempiternal night, Tho’ oft with stir of wings the dense air shakes, As in the tower there glows a pallid light. For here, apart, dwells one whose hands have wrought Strange eidola that chill the world with fear; Whose graven runes in tones of dread have taught What things beyond the star-gulfs lurk and leer. Dark Lord of Averoigne—whose windows stare On pits of dream no other gaze could bear!
In dim abysses pulse the shapes of night, Hungry and hideous, with strange mitres crown'd; Black pinions beating in fantastic flight, From orb to orb thro' sunless void profound. None dares to name the cosmos whence they course, Or guess the look on each amorphous face, Or speak the words that with resistless force, Would draw them from the hells of outer space. Yet here upon a page our frighten'd glance, Finds monstrous forms no human eye should see; Hints of those blasphemies whose countenance, Spreads death and madness thro' infinity. What limner he who braves black gulfs alone, And lives to make their alien horrors known?


An audio production of H.P. Lovecraft's Fungi From Yuggoth as read by William E. Hart and with eerie atmospheric music scored by Graham Plowman. We've also filled the CD with a dozen more of Lovecraft's best Weird Poems! The late Jon Arfstom's painting of HPL graces the cover.

These readings emphasize the poetry's meter and rhyme schemes, making it easy to follow. The audio emphasis should make it clear listening, even while jogging or driving in your car.


released January 1, 2018

Graham Plowman, William E. Hart, H.P. Lovecraft,


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Cthulhu Mythos - H.P. Lovecraft Horror Music Dublin, Ireland

Full orchestral music based on, and inspired by, the work of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, and other writers of the Cthulhu Mythos.

There is over 8 hours of music available here and more on the way...

Suitable for listening while writing, role-playing or playing board games. Arkham Horror LCG, Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror, Dungeons & Dragons, and many more...
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