The Familiars

John Whateley lived about a mile from town,
Up where the hills began to huddle thick;
We never thought his wits were very quick,
Seeing the way he let his farm run down.
He used to waste his time on some queer books
He’d found around the attic of his place,
Till funny lines got creased into his face,
And folks all said they didn’t like his looks.

When he began those night-howls we declared
He’d better be locked up away from harm,
So three men from the Aylesbury town farm
Went for him—but came back alone and scared.
They’d found him talking to two crouching things
That at their step flew off on great black wings.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The Familiars,” Lovecraft describes the fiendish practices of John Whateley, an eccentric farmer who dabbles in black magic.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Familiars.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 90-1.

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