Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Despair by H.P Lovecraft

Now, is this a perfect Halloween poem, or what?
Suggested musical pairing: Spem in Allium by Thomas Tallis
Help, I'm Alive by Metric, Haunted When the Minutes Drag by Love and Rockets

Despair by H.P. Lovecraft

Despair 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.


Christopher said...

Susan, as soon as I started reading the poem I was immediately reminded of 'The Furies' from the ancient Greek tragedies (e.g., Aeschylus' trilogy, The Oresteia), and then near the end, Lovecraft names them! Awesome poem--full of pathos and drama! I dig the pairing with Tallis too. A great composer (I love that you are related to him too!).

You probably know this, but there was apparently a brass plaque on his crypt in the chancel of the church where he was buried that had this poem on it--


“Entered here doth ly a worthy wyght,
Who for long tyme in musick bore the bell:
His name to shew, was THOMAS TALLYS hyght,
In honest virtuous lyff he dyd excell.

“He serv’d long tyme in chappel with grete prayse
Fower sovereygnes reygnes (a thing not often seen);
I meane Kyng Henry and Prynce Edward’s dayes,
Quene Mary, and Elizabeth oure Quene.

“He mary’d was, though children he had none,
And lyv’d in love full thre and thirty yeres
Wyth loyal spowse, whose name yelypt was JONE,
Who here entomb’d him company now beares.

“As he dyd lyve, so also did he dy,
In myld and quyet sort (O happy man!)
To God ful oft for mercy did he cry,
Wherefore he lyves, let deth do what he can.”

Great posting, and keep up the great work on your blog, I love it! Cheers! Chris

TheWingchairTraveller said...

Before my grandmother died, I asked her to write down all she knew of our family. she told me that my great-grandmother Kathryn's maiden name was Thomas Tallis and was related to an English composer from the Renaissance of the same name. A few years later, I pulled this letter out and decided to look up this composer. Little did I know, he was a Renaissance composer who is still revered to this day. When I was in Greenwich a few years back, I wanted to go see his grave in the church there(I don't recall the name). We asked the man working there, and he told us reluctantly that he would bring us down to the crypt, but he warned us that it wasn't very "very safe" (this was England, not the U.S. after all). So, chicken that I am, I decided against it. I do recall seeing such a plaque though, and I am so thankful to you for writing what it says. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of history out there about him, but I haven't been very extensive. Thanks so much!

TheWingchairTraveller said...

Oh i wish I could edit my comment. Her maiden name was Tallis, not Thomas Tallis!

TheWingchairTraveller said...

most interesting, I just did a search for Tallis' tomb and ended up on this blog:

Quite the coincidence! You can read the comment I left there!

Christopher said...

Susan, I just wanted you to know that you are so inspirational to me that I have included a link to your literary blog on mine. I do truly hope that people discover the wonderful writing and poetry that your are featuring. Cheers! Chris

TheWingchairTraveller said...

Wow, Christopher! Many, many thanks for appreciating my blog. While I love blogging and being part of the blogosphere network, I'm finding it very hard getting followers or just people (even friends!) to stop by my blog. I guess what it comes down to is the huge dividing line today between those who are well-read and those who are not. It is difficult to try to reach out to those without a bulk of reading knowledge behind them. I do follow a few literary blogs, so I try to actively participate in them daily with comments. And, the Goodreads discussion groups are great too. Hopefully, with time, my word will get out. Thanks for reading my blog. I enjoy reading ProSe also. You also have aunique take on blogging, and you take some beautiful photographs!