Argument of 'The Hashish-Eater'

Clark Ashton Smith

By some exaltation and expansion of cosmic consciousness, rather than a mere drug, used here as a symbol, the dreamer is carried to a height from which he beholds the strange and multiform scenes of existence in alien worlds; he maintains control of his visions, evokes and dismisses them at will. Then, in a state similar to the Buddhic plane, he is able to mingle with them and identify himself with their actors and objects. Still later, there is a transition in which the visions, and the monstrous and demonic forces he has evoked, begin to overpower him, to hurry him on helplessly, under circumstances of fright and panic. Armies of fiends and monsters, many drawn from the worlds of myth and fable, muster against him, pursue him through a terrible cosmos, and he is driven at last to the verge of a gulf into which falls in cataracts the ruin and rubble of the universe; a gulf from which the face of infinity itself, in all its awful blankness, beyond stars and worlds, beyond created things, even fiends and monsters, rises up to confront him.

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Printed on: December 11, 2018