The Envoys

Clark Ashton Smith

None other saw them when they came
Across the many-clangored mart,
But in mine eyes and in my heart
They passed as might the pillared flame
Of lightning loosened on the tombs,
Or errant suns that wander by
To dawn on the Cimmerii.

Great monarchs, proud and cypress-tall,
With zones and crowns of argentry,
They were, who proffered royally
Full urns of pulsing gems to all:—
The blood-warm gems of lunar wombs,
Pale ores, and opals pavonine,
And beryls like to leopards' eyne.

Their eyes were lit with alien day,
Were filled of alien worlds; their feet
With starry splendors paved the street,
And silver dust of some bright way
Fell from their garments, with perfumes
More strange than breath of vernal gales
From Saturn's moly-cinctured vales.

What embassy were they, from suns
Of Algebar or Capricorn—
From planets of remoter morn
In flaming fields where Taurus runs—
Or haplycome, immediate,
From out a four-dimensioned world
Within the occlusive ether furled?

They strode upon the swooning pave,
They towered by the trembling spires,
Tall as apocalyptic fires
Above the peoples of the grave:
But, sightless and inveterate,
To Mammon vowed, the throng went by,
Charneled beneath an iron sky.

Yea, blinder than the steel and stone,
Men took not from their proffered store
One gift of all the gifts they bore,
But sued for gold to gods foreknown.
I, too, bemused, inebriate,
Amort with splendor, could but stand
And see them pass, with empty hand.

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Printed on: March 23, 2019