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By H. P. Lovecraft

It was in the pale garden of Zaïs;
The mist-shrouded gardens of Zaïs,
Where blossoms the white nephalotë,
The redolent herald of midnight.
There slumber the still lakes of crystal,
And streamlets that flow without murm’ring;
Smooth streamlets from caverns of Kathos
Where brood the calm spirits of twilight.
And over the lakes and the streamlets
Are bridges of pure alabaster,
White bridges all cunningly carven
With figures of fairies and daemons.
Here glimmer strange suns and strange planets,
And strange is the crescent Banapis
That sets ’yond the ivy-grown ramparts
Where thickens the dust of the evening.
Here fall the white vapours of Yabon;
And here in the swirl of vapours
I saw the divine Nathicana;
The garlanded, white Nathicana;
The slender, black-hair’d Nathicana;
The sloe-ey’d, red-lipp’d Nathicana;
The silver-voic’d, sweet Nathicana;
The pale-rob’d, belov’d Nathicana.
And ever was she my belovèd,
From ages when Time was unfashion’d;
From days when the stars were not fashion’d
Nor any thing fashion’d but Yabon.
And here dwelt we ever and ever,
The innocent children of Zaïs,
At peace in the paths and the arbours,
White-crown’d with the blest nephalotë.
How oft would we float in the twilight
O’er flow’r-cover’d pastures and hillsides
All white with the lowly astalthon;
The lowly yet lovely astalthon,
And dream in a world made of dreaming
The dreams that are fairer than Aidenn;
Bright dreams that are truer than reason!
So dream’d and so lov’d we thro’ ages,
Till came the curs’d season of Dzannin;
The daemon-damn’d season of Dzannin;
When red shone the suns and the planets,
And red gleamed the crescent Banapis,
And red fell the vapours of Yabon.
Then redden’d the blossoms and streamlets
And lakes that lay under the bridges,
And even the calm alabaster
Glow’d pink with uncanny reflections
Till all the carv’d fairies and daemons
Leer’d redly from the backgrounds of shadow.
Now redden’d my vision, and madly
I strove to peer thro’ the dense curtain
And glimpse the divine Nathicana;
The pure, ever-pale Nathicana;
The lov’d, the unchang’d Nathicana.
But vortex on vortex of madness
Beclouded my labouring vision;
My damnable, reddening vision
That built a new world for my seeing;
A new world of redness and darkness,
A horrible coma call’d living.
So now in this coma call’d living
I view the bright phantons of beauty;
The false, hollow phantoms of beauty
That cloak all the evils of Dzannin.
I view them with infinite longing,
So like do they seem to my lov’d one;
So shapely and fair like my lov’d one;
Yet foul from their eyes shines their evil;
Their cruel and pitiless evil,
More evil than Thaphron and Latgoz,
Twice ill for its gorgeous concealment.
And only in slumbers of midnight
Appears the lost maid Nathicana,
The pallid, the pure Nathicana,
Who fades at the glance of the dreamer.
Again and again do I seek her;
I woo with deep draughts of Plathotis,
Deep draughts brew’d in wine of Astarte
And strengthen’d with tears of long weeping.
I yearn for the gardens of Zaïs;
The lovely lost garden of Zaïs
Where blossoms the white nephalotë,
The redolent herald of midnight.
The last potent draught I am brewing;
A draught that the daemons delight in;
A draught that will banish the redness;
The horrible coma call’d living.
Soon, soon, if I fail not in brewing,
The redness and madness will vanish,
And deep in the worm-peopled darkness
Will rot the base chains that hav bound me.
Once more shall the gardens of Zaïs
Dawn white on my long-tortur’d vision,
And there midst the vapours of Yabon
Will stand the divine Nathicana;
The deathless, restor’d Nathicana
Whose like is not met with in living.
  Return to “Nathicana” This page last revised 20 October 2009.
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