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By H. P. Lovecraft

In the midnight heavens burning
      Thro’ ethereal deeps afar,
Once I watch’d with restless yearning
      An alluring, aureate star;
Ev’ry eye 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;
And in lyre-born chords extended
      Harmonies of Lydian lays.

There (thought I) lies scenes of pleasure,
      Where the free and blessed dwell,
And each moment bears a treasure
      Freighted with a lotus-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 our 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 sadness
      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,
      Thro’ the fever’d flick’ring leer’d.

Now I know the fiendish fable
      That 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 for evermore.
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Page Last Revised 20 October 2009
URL: http://hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/poetry/p122.aspx
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