The Hack

The modern bard restrains poetic rage,
To fit his couplets to a quarter-page.
Who now regards his skill, or taste, or strength,
When verse is writ and printed for its length?
His soaring sentiments he needs must pinch,
And sing his Amaryllis by the inch.
The art is easy when the artist tries
Not for Parnassus, but alone for size.
He wastes no care on polish, wit, or grace,
Who rhymes to fill an idle bit of space.
None heeds his worth; his listless lines are bought
Because some favour’d story is too short.
No critic’s sneer his honest ire incites,
For none, forsooth, peruses what he writes!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The Magazine Poet,” Lovecraft mocks the commercialism of modern magazines and the poets who write for them.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Magazine Poet.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 225-6.

Gift of Bacchus

Hail! gift of Bacchus; red, delicious Wine,
To raise the soul, and ev’ry thought refine;
What blissful transports can thy pow’r impart,
And fill us with Anacreontic Art!
Unhappy man above the beast was plac’d;
Stript of his joys, and with mere Reason grac’d:
Sweet Wine alone his pleasures can restore;
Let him but quaff, and he’s a beast once more!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The Power of Wine: A Satire,” Lovecraft expresses his contempt for alcohol and those who imbibe it.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Power of Wine: A Satire.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 212-3.

By Tonight I Shall Be No More

I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer; and shall cast myself from this garret window into the squalid street below. Do not think from my slavery to morphine that I am a weakling or a degenerate. When you have read these hastily scrawled pages you may guess, though never fully realise, why it is that I must have forgetfulness or death.


DESCRIPTION: In this passage from the short story “Dagon” (1917), the narrator explains why he has decided to commit suicide.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Dagon.” The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Penguin Books, 1999, pp. 1-6.