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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.
  Return to “Astrophobos” This page last revised 20 October 2009.
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