O Golden-Tongued Romance

Clark Ashton Smith

We found, we knew it dimly
Within a dead life grimly
By guarding time inurned—
A glamour far and olden,
A fulgor night-enfolden,
A flame that in long-darkling Eden burned.

Though hardly then we claimed it,
We yet adored and named it
With a name forgotten now—
A faery word and dawn-like,
A word of gramarie, gone like
An opal bird from off a purple bough. . . .

Ah! vain the lamp reluming
The unhaunted vault inhuming
The cold Canopic jar,
And vain the charm recovered
From out the daemon-hovered,
Worm-travelled page of pentacled grimoire.

And yet the thing we yearned for,
The thing that we returned for
From tomb and catacomb,
It may not wholly dwindle
While moon or meteor kindle
A phantom beacon on the ebon foam.

Through ghoul-watched wood unthridden,
By goblin mere and midden,
No ivory horn will blow,
No gold lamp lighten gloom-ward,
But we will carry doom-ward
The broken beauty caught from long ago:

An echo half evading
The ear, remotely fading
From a far-vibrant lyre.
A long-plucked flower blooming
In the dry urn, a fuming
Myrrh-fragrant ember in a darkened pyre.

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