My Fancies They Do Roam

When the evening shadows come
Then my fancies they do roam
Round the dear old rustic cottage by the lane,
Where in days that are no more
Liv’d the maid I did adore,
Liv’d my own beloved sweetheart, darling Jane!

O my dearest, sweetest pride,
Thou couldst never be my bride,
For the angels snatch’d you up one summer day;
Yet my heart is ever true,
And I love you yes I do,
And I’ll mourn for you until I pine away!
I—pine—a—away (by 1st Tenor).


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “My Lost Love,” Lovecraft parodies the romantic poetry of his fellow amateur James Laurence Crowley.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “My Lost Love.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 226-7.

A Finer Man than I

In prideful scorn I watch’d the farmer stride
With step uncouth o’er road and mossy lane;
How could I help but distantly deride
The churlish, callous’d, coarse-clad country swain?

Upon his lips a mumbled ballad stirr’d
The evening air with dull cacophony;
In cold contempt, I shudder’d as I heard,
And held myself no kin to such as he.

But as he leap’d the stile and gain’d the field
Where star-fac’d blossoms twinkled thro’ the hay,
His lumb’ring footfalls oftentimes would yield,
To spare the flow’rs that bloom’d along the way.

And while I gaz’d, my spirit swell’d apace;
With the crude swain I own’d the human tie;
The tend’rest impulse of a noble race
Had prov’d the boor a finer man than I!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Brotherhood,” Lovecraft describes his impressions of a man he, initially, assumes to be a country boor.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Brotherhood.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 119.

Fair (?) Hecatissa

Young Strephon for his Chloë sigh’d
In accents warm but vain;
Th’ Hibernian nymph his suit deny’d,
Nor melted at his pain.

But one day from an Eastern scene
Fair (?) Hecatissa came;
She ey’d the swain with fav’ring mien,
And felt the Paphian flame.

No answ’ring flame the youth display’d;
He scorn’d her doubtful charms,
And still implor’d th’ Hibernian maid
To seek his outstretch’d arms.

Thus Strephon, both unlov’d and lov’d,
Both pleading and refusing,
Plann’d, that to passion might be mov’d
The maiden of his choosing.

With seeming scorn he ceas’d his sighs,
And careless turn’d away;
Then courted with dissembling eyes
The maid from Boston Bay.

The willing fair (?) his wooing heard;
With bliss his suit receiv’d;
Bright Chloë, list’ning, notes each word,
With jealous longing griev’d.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “A Pastoral Tragedy of Appleton, Wisconsin,” Lovecraft affectionately mocks the romantic entanglements of his friend Alfred Galpin.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “A Pastoral Tragedy of Appleton, Wisconsin.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 131-2.

A Joint Adieu

Indulgent sir, pray spare an inch or two,
And print the carping critics’ joint adieu.
So long it is since we began the fray
That readers swear we’ve filched your Log away!
Forgive, we beg, the sinners that presume
To fill with venomed verse such precious room.
Inflamed by war, and in a martial rage,
We held a while the centre of the stage
Till, blinded by each other’s furious fire,
We battled on, forgetting to retire.
But fiercest feuds draw sometimes to their ends,
And ancient foemen live to meet as friends:
So do we now, conjoin’d in lasting peace,
Lay down our pens, and mutual slander cease.
What sound is this? ’Tis but a joyous yell
From thankful thousands, as we say farewell.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The End of the Jackson War,” Lovecraft promises to end his feud with admirers of Fred Jackson, a popular romance writer.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The End of the Jackson War.” In The Ancient Track. The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 209.

Ad Criticos

What vig’rous protests now assail my eyes?
See Jackson’s satellites in anger rise!
His ardent readers, steep’d in tales of love,
Sincere devotion to their leader prove;
In brave defence of sickly gallantry,
They damn the critic, and beleaguer me.
Ingenious Russell, I forgive the slur,
Since in such clever lines your sneers occur.
Your verse, with true Pierian heat inflam’d,
Should be at some more worthy object aim’d.
Think not, good rhymester, that I sought to shew
In my late letter merely what I know,
Nor that I labour’d, with my humble quill,
To bend the universe to suit my will.
My aim, forsooth, was but to do my best
To free these pages from an am’rous pest.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Ad Criticos,” Lovecraft responds to those who objected to his criticism of Fred Jackson, a popular romance writer and a frequent contributor to The Argosy.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Ad Criticos.” In The Ancient Track. The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 203-7.

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.

Gifted Browning

Thy lyrics, gifted Browning, charm the ear,
And ev’ry mark of classic polish bear.
With subtle raptures they enchain the heart;
To soul and mind a mystic thrill impart:
Yet would their rhythmic magic be more keen,
If we could but discover what they mean!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “On Robert Browning,” Lovecraft praises the poet for his verse while simultaneously lamenting its obscurity.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “On Robert Browning.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 203.

Come Hither, My Lads

Come hither, my lads, with your tankards of ale,
And drink to the present before it shall fail;
Pile each on your platter a mountain of beef,
For ’tis eating and drinking that bring us relief:
So fill up your glass,
For life will soon pass;
When you’re dead ye’ll ne’er drink to your king or your lass!


DESCRIPTION: In this passage from the short story “The Tomb” (1917), Jervas Dudley recites the eighteenth-century drinking song that he sang in front of his family at breakfast.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Tomb.” The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Penguin Books, 2001, pp. 1-10.

 

 

Gad Split Me!

Anacreon had a red nose, so they say;
But what’s a red nose if ye’re happy and gay?
Gad split me! I’d rather be red whilst I’m here,
Than white as a lily—and dead half a year!
So Betty, my miss,
Come give me a kiss;
In hell there’s no innkeeper’s daughter like this!


DESCRIPTION: In this passage from the short story “The Tomb” (1917), Jervas Dudley recites the eighteenth-century drinking song that he sang in front of his family at breakfast.  

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Tomb.” The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Penguin Books, 2001, pp. 1-10.

 

The Valiant Knights of Peace

We are the valiant Knights of Peace
Who prattle for the Right:
Our banner is of snowy fleece,
Inscribed: “TOO PROUD TO FIGHT!”

By sweet Chautauqua’s flow’ry banks
We love to sing and play,
But should we spy a foeman’s ranks,
We’d proudly run away!

When Prussian fury sweeps the main
Our freedom to deny;
Of tyrant laws we ne’er complain,
But gladsomely comply!

We do not fear the submarines
That plough the troubled foam;
We scorn the ugly old machines—
And safely stay at home!

They say our country’s close to war,
And soon must man the guns;
But we see naught to struggle for—
We love the gentle Huns!

What tho’ their hireling Greaser bands
Invade our southern plains?
We well can spare those boist’rous lands,
Content with what remains!

Our fathers were both rude and bold,
And would not live like brothers;
But we are of a finer mould—
We’re much more like our mothers!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Pacifist War Song—1917,” Lovecraft satirizes the pacifists of his generation who were protesting America’s entry into the First World War.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Pacifist War Song—1917.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 401.