A Stranger in this Century

For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men. This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.


DESCRIPTION: In a passage from the short story “The Outsider” (1921), the narrator sees himself in a mirror for the first time and realizes that he is monstrous.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Outsider.” The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Penguin Books, 1999, pp. 43-9.

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Deep in My Dream

Deep in my dream the great bird whispered queerly
Of the black cone amid the polar waste;
Pushing above the ice-sheet lone and drearly,
By storm-crazed aeons battered and defaced.
Hither no living earth-shapes take their courses,
And only pale auroras and faint suns
Glow on that pitted rock, whose primal sources
Are guessed at dimly by the Elder Ones.

If men should glimpse it, they would merely wonder
What tricky mound of Nature’s build they spied;
But the bird told of vaster parts, that under
The mile-deep ice-shroud crouch and brood and bide.
God help the dreamer whose mad visions shew
Those dead eyes set in crystal gulfs below!


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Antarktos,” Lovecraft describes an ancient and gargantuan creature, which lies beneath the Antarctic ice.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Antarktos.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 86.

A Monstrous Aftermath

They told me not to take the Briggs’ Hill path
That used to be the highroad through to Zoar,
For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four,
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.
Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view
The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope,
I could not think of elms or hempen rope,
But wondered why the house still seemed so new.

Stopping a while to watch the fading day,
I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs,
When through the ivied panes one sunset ray
Struck in, and caught the howler unawares.
I glimpsed—and ran in frenzy from the place,
And from a four-pawed thing with human face.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The Howler,” Lovecraft describes a mysterious cottage and the howling monstrosity that inhabits it.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Howler.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 85.

 

The Dweller

It had been old when Babylon was new;
None knows how long it slept beneath that mound,
Where in the end our questing shovels found
Its granite blocks and brought it back to view.
There were vast pavements and foundation-walls,
And crumbling slabs and statues, carved to shew
Fantastic beings of some long ago
Past anything the world of man recalls.

And then we saw those stone steps leading down
Through a choked gate of graven dolomite
To some black haven of eternal night
Where elder signs and primal secrets frown.
We cleared a path—but raced in mad retreat
When from below we heard those clumping feet.


DESCRIPTION: In his poem “The Dweller,” Lovecraft describes the excavation of an ancient city, in which a monstrous entity, long forgotten, still dwells.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “The Dweller.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 92-3.

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.