The Prophet Speaks

The Prophet Speaks by Clark Ashton Smith


City forbanned by seer and god and devil!

In glory less than Tyre or fabled Ys,

But more than they in mere, surpassing evil!


Yea, black Atlantis, fallen beneath dim seas

For sinful lore and rites to demons done,

Bore not the weight of such iniquities.


Your altars with a primal foulness run,

Where the worm hears the thousand-throated hymn....

And all the sunsets write your malison,


And all, the stars unrolled from heaven's rim

Declare the doom which I alone may read

In moving ciphers numberless and dim.


O city consecrate to crime and greed!

O scorner of the Muses' messenger!

Within your heart the hidden maggots breed.


Against your piers the nether seas confer;

Against your towers the typhons in their slumber

In sealed abysms darkly mutter and stir:


They dream the day when earth shall disencumber

Her bosom of your sprawled and beetling piles;

When tides that bore your vessels without number


Shall turn your hills to foam-enshrouded isles,

And, ebbing, leave but slime and desolation,

Ruin and rust, through all your riven miles.



On you shall fall a starker devastation

Than came upon Tuloom and Tarshish old,

In you shall dwell the last abomination.


The dust of all your mansions and the mould

Shall move in changing mounds and clouds disparted

About the wingless air, the footless wold.


The sea, withdrawn from littorals desert-hearted,

Shall leave you to the silence of the sky—

A place fordone, forlorn, unnamed, uncharted,


Where naught molests the sluggish crotali.