The Peril That Lurks Among Ruins (Text taken from a later manuscript)

Clark Ashton Smith

"Go not too often among ruins," said the Daemon in one of his rare moods of admonitory confidence. "For there is a strangeness in the shadows which these memorials of the vastness of the Past, broken though they may be, have thrown for so many centuries upon the selfsame spot as in the dawn of their erection. Such shadows have gathered strength from their ancient and unbroken brooding; and they are not as the shadows of natural objects, for human time has accumulated within them like unswept dust, and memories of the dead cluster there like bats in a cavern. They have all the power and all the sopor of despair; they are deep as death and hollow as limbo. The earth has grown abysmal beneath them, and the air is full of unseen precipitate gulfs."

"He is not wise who walks frequently and habitually amid these shadows. For, heedless of the peril, one may slip on some invisible precipice of the Past and go falling forevermore, a phantom among phantoms, sere and purposeless as a blown autumnal leaf, through the windy eternal night of bygone things. Yea, lost from time, he shall whirl impalpably with the gusty sand through shattered arches and between domeless columns; apart from the cycles of being, he shalt dwell henceforward as a shadow with shadows"

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/prose-poetry-plays/39
Printed on: April 20, 2014