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7, No 2 (Whole Number 25).

****Edited by Leigh Blackmore for the SSWFT (Apr 30, 2012/45th mailing), & Esoteric Order of Dagon (Apr 30, 2012/ 158th mailing) Amateur Press Associations. ***78 Rowland Ave, Wollongong, NSW 2500. Australia.***

RIP Michael Wykes

RIP HADES

DRIVEN TO MADNESS WITH FRIGHT: THE INFLUENCE OF POES ULALUME ON LOVECRAFTS NEMESIS

MANTICHORE 25
Leigh Blackmore
Contact lvxnox@gmail.com/ leigh.blackmore@proofperfect.com.au Proof Perfect Editorial Services: www.proofperfect.com.au; Facebook http://tiny.cc/ag50m LB at Australian Horror Writers Association: http://www.australianhorror.com/member_pages.php?page=86 Official Website: Blackmausoleum http://members.optusnet.com.au/lvxnox/ Latest SSWFT news at: http://sswftapa.blogspot.com/ LBs library : http://www.librarything.com/profile/666777

This issue is dedicated to Michael Robert Wykes (1955-2012) and Hades Ravenhawk (d.2012) R.I.P.

Contents This Issue


Mantic Notes...2 Driven to Madness with Fright: The Influence of Poes Ulalume on Lovecrafts Nemesis by Leigh Blackmore..3

(Pronunciation:'man-tik. Etymology: Greek mantikos, from mantis: of, relating to the faculty of divination; prophetic).

Mantic Notes

Little time to discuss happenings of the last three months, as I am rushing to meet the deadline (geez, thats a new feeling ). The main events I can recall were both good and bad. On the up side, we held a poetry reading at Owls Caf in Wollongong (organized by local science fiction enthusiast and playwright Laura Goodin, to read speculative poetry. Most of the night was dominated by weird poetry yay! read by poets ranging from myself and Margi Curtis to Danny Lovecraft, Richard Harland, & Kyla Ward. No space here to post photos, but there is an album from the night at my Facebook page if anyone s keen to see. Also on the up side, Margi has participated in numerous exhibitions, selling a landscape she displayed at the Thirroul Seaside Arts Festival, and selling several different pieces at this years Tin Shed Art Gallery exhibition (the group of women she regularly meets with to work). My business (Proof Perfect) has been slow but steady. I recently did my first job for an overseas client Edward Lipsett in Japan, who produces a beautiful horror magazine (in Japanese) called NIGHT LAND. Graham continues to build his current theatre organ. On the series of unfortunate events side, we had a flood just after the last mailing, resulting from torrential rains across NSW, which caused us to have to remove all our downstairs carpet in one room, since it began to rot once we had disposed of the intruding waters. Following that has been a long process of deciding how to reseal the concrete floor, choosing and buying tiles, and beginning to lay them, most of which has been done by Graham. Were halfway there. Further sad events occurred when on 12 April, Grahams brother Michael passed away. Our beloved cat Hades, who had been ailing for some time, finally failed as well, on 19 April and it was necessary to assist him to return to the Underworld whence he came. This issue is dedicated to them both. This issue consists of my long essay on Ulalume and Nemesis. I wrote this back in March and revised it this week. There are a few wrinkles not yet ironed out, for which I beg indulgence until I can completely finalise this piece. Im not yet completely happy with the interior arrangement of sections, either. However, I think the essay is in good enough shape to make it worthwhile presenting here. Once again I must apologise for lack of mailing comments to both SSWFT and EOD members. No time! And special thanks to Scott Shaeffer, my Emergency Editor in SSWFT, for stepping up and coordinating the Feb and April SSWFT mailings while I have been so inundated with other things.

Driven to Madness with Fright: The Influence of Poes Ulalume on Lovecrafts Nemesis
By Leigh Blackmore 2012

Lovecrafts poem Nemesis (written in the sinister small hours of the black morning after the Halloween of 1917) (HPL to Reinhardt Kleiner, 8 Nov, 1917; SL I: 51) is often regarded
Illustration for "Ulalume" by W. Heath Robinson

as one of his most effective weird poems. Like many of Lovecrafts works, Nemesis

has had an impact on popular culture the poem has influenced the lyrics of the song Slumber Soul by metal band Surrender, and composer Huw CatchpoleDavies has set the work to haunting music in his Nemesis: Song for Soprano and Piano (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPEOzdAIYsw). In the only critical study of Nemesis to date, Donald R. Burleson has examined the role of the narrators persona within the poem, a narrator Burleson refers to as a sort of dream-presence, a persona appearing to be an undying embodiment of the collective unconscious, or a timeless dreamer who seems doomed to eternal

Handbound edition of "Nemesis" by Lovecraft, available from Etsy.com

memory by some primordial sin of the spirit. (Burleson, 1990, 40). He also examines various aspects of indeterminacy and self-subversion within the poem. Burlesons examination is valid and informative. However, I will here examine Nemesis from some points of view not touched on by Burlesons essay. Firstly, I will examine the possible influence of other poems and poets (principally Swinburne and Poe) upon Lovecrafts piece. I will go on touch on various technical devices of both Nemesis and Ulalume and on thematic issues and similarities between the two poems, as well as Lovecrafts references to Ulalume in At the Mountains of Madness. Lastly, I will explore the issues of sin/hubris, retribution and reincarnation in the poem. To place Nemesis briefly in context, let us recall that in relation to his fiction, 1917 was the period when Lovecraft, then aged 27, was resuming his writing of fiction after the long hiatus since 1908s The Alchemist. During 1917 he had penned The Tomb in June, Dagon in July, and A Reminiscence of Dr Samuel Johnson in September. In Nov of 1917, he applied to join the National Amateur Press Association. Nemesis was, as mentioned above, written on 1 Nov, 1917 (as it happens, the day US soldiers were first killed in combat in WWI); it was published about six months later in W. Paul Cooks The Vagrant for June 1918. It is notable that Lovecraft wrote his poem in the small hours of the morning following Halloween technically 1 November, but at a time that could also be considered an extension of Halloween itself October 31. He wrote it, in fact, on a night in the lonesome October the same night on which Poes poem is set. Line 25 of Ulalume reads: Ah! night of all nights in the year. Mabbot makes clear that the night of all nights is Halloween, when the dead have power. (Mabbot, 422) Can it be mere coincidence that Lovecraft decided to write his poem, so influenced by Poe (as I will shortly demonstrate), at almost precisely the time that Ulalume is actually set? I think not. More likely, the timing was one of Lovecrafts ways of paying tribute to Poes inspiration and memory apart, of course, from the actual textual clues we find in Nemesis.

Anapaestic and Swinburnian Metre, and the Metrical Structure of Nemesis Before turning to discussion of Poes influence on Nemesis, let us look at the issue of Algernon Swinburnes influence on the poem. The influence of Swinburnes poem Hertha on Nemesis has often been remarked. It is in terms of metre, not in terms of subject matter, that the influence can be observed, for Swinburnes long (forty stanzas) poem is a pantheistic subversion of Christianity, in the form of a dramatic monologue narrated by the Teutonic goddess of fertility or Earth Mother. While Lovecraft would not have been out of sympathy with such subject matter, Nemesis itself dwells on different themes, as we shall see. Lovecraft himself confessed to the metrical influence of Hertha on Nemesis in the same letter to Reinhardt Kleiner where he discusses his poems composition. Lovecraft was certainly familiar with Swinburnes overall poetic output. He owned a Modern Library edition of Swinburnes Poems, given to him by George Kirk (Joshi, Lovecrafts Library, item 859). Moreover, he had a high opinion of Swinburnes work: It seems to me that A.C. Swinburne was the only real poet either in England or America since the death of Mr Poe (Lovecraft, Selected Letters I, 73). Lovecraft saw Swinburne as one of the wholly aesthetic-pagan tradition from Keats to Baudelaire to which his own literary gang belonged. (Lovecraft, Selected Letters II, 276). He believed that Of Swinburne, the earlier work is the best (Lovecraft, Selected Letters III, 315), though elsewhere he writes that the English poet babbled himself out in repetition. S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz assert that Nemesis uses the actual metre of Swinburnes Hertha (Joshi and Schultz, 188). But this is not quite accurate. They are close in metre and metrical pattern, but not identical. The superficial similarity of metre in the two poems is mainly due to the use of the anapaest, a form of trimeter (three feet or beats), where the first two are unaccented/unstressed, and the third is accented/stressed (e.g. Da-da-DUM). The first stanza of Hertha reads (accented feet shown in caps): I am THAT/ which beGAN/ Out of ME/the years ROLL; Out of ME/ God and MAN;

I am EQU/al and WHOLE; God CHANG/es, and MAN,/ and FORM/ of them BOD/i-ly; I /am the SOUL. It can easily be seen that the metrical structure of Swinburnes poem varies somewhat from that of Lovecrafts; Hertha has long final lines of 16 feet; Lovecraft final lines in Nemesis are even longer, consisting of six anapaests, totalling 18 feet. Lovecrafts lines in Nemesis are purely anapaestic, whereas Swinburnes last lines in Hertha mix four anapaests with two iambs, and thus are not purely anapaestic. The metrical mixture of anapaests and iambs is most characteristic of late-19th-century verse, particularly that of Swinburne in poems such as his The Triumph of Time and the choruses from Atalanta in Calydon. True, Swinburne also wrote several poems in more or less straight anapaests, with line-lengths varying from three feet ("Dolores") to eight feet ("March: An Ode"), but Hertha does not fit this pattern. Neither do the short lines forming the first four lines of Swinburnes stanzas (each consisting of six feet) conform to the pattern of Lovecrafts lines in Nemesis (each consisting of nine feet). Swinburne does use the anapaest in each of his first four lines of each stanza in Hertha. But he only uses two anapaests per line. Lovecraft uses three, and the rhythmic result of Lovecrafts lines is therefore significantly unlike Swinburnes. The metrical structure of Lovecrafts lines in Nemesis is in fact a consistent three anapaests (= nine feet) per line: Through the GHOUL/- guarded GATE/ways of SLUM/[ber][catalexis] Past the WAN/-mooned aBYSS/es of NIGHT I have LIVED/oer my LIVES/ without NUM/[ber],[catalexis] I have SOUND/ed all THINGS/ with my SIGHT; And I STRUG/gle and SHRIEK/ ere the DAY/break, being DRIV/en to MAD/ness with FRIGHT. Though Lovecraft structures his stanzas in Nemesis as quintrains (or five-lined stanzas), with the last line consisting of six anapaests, they could equally well be set out as sextets (or six-lined stanzas), by dividing the long last line in half, which would then see each of the fifth and sixth lines consisting (as the first four lines do)

of three anapaests. His long last lines are basically doublings of the three-anapaest structure of lines 1-4. The only inconsistency in Lovecrafts strict metric scheme is the extra beat or stress which comes at the end of his lines 1 and 3 in each stanza. This extra syllable at the end of a line is a device known as catalexis (see above). Joshi states that Lovecrafts poems Festival (published in slightly abridged form in Weird Tales as Yule Horror) The House and The City are written in the same Swinburnian metre as Nemesis. (Joshi, I Am Providence, 657) All these poems certainly use anapaestic metre, but there are some significant differences from poem to poem as well. The Festival (1925), like Nemesis, is structured in quintrains. However, whereas in Nemesis lines 1-4 consist of three anapaests, Festival has stanzas consisting of only two anapaests in each of its first four lines. In this, it is admittedly similar to Swinburnes Hertha: There is SNOW/ on the GROUND, And the VALL/eys are COLD, And a MID/night proFOUND Blackly SQUATS/ oer the WOLD; However, the final line of each stanza of Festival consists of six anapaests: But a LIGHT/on the HILL/tops half-SEEN/ hints of FEAST/ings unHALL/owd and OLD. This makes the structure of Festival a little different than that of Swinburnes Hertha. They are similar in a general sense the use of anapaest but, as we have already seen, Herthas final lines in each stanza consist of a mixture of anapaest and iamb (admittedly dominated by anapaests). Lovecraft has used a strict anapaestic metre throughout Festival. Let us look at Lovecrafts poem The House (1919). The first stanza reads: Tis a GROVE/-circled DWELL/ing [cathexis] Set CLOSE/ to a HILL, Where the BRAN/ches are TELL/ing [cathexis]

Strange LEG/ends of ILL; Over TIM/bers so OLD That they BREATHE/of the DEAD, Crawl the VINES,/ green and COLD, By strange NOUR/ishment FED; And no MAN/ knows the JUIC/es they SUCK/ from the DEPTHS/ of their DANK/ slimy BED. In The House, we have a variation of structure and metre which differs from both Nemesis and Hertha. Lovecraft has chosen to use a mixture of anapaests and iambs in this poem. Each stanza of this poem consists of nine lines, of which lines 1, 3 and 5-9 inclusive use only anapaests, but with lines 2 and 4 consisting of an iamb followed by an anapaest. Lines, 1, 3, and 5-8 consist of two anapaests per line (lines 1 and 3 also have cathexis, or an unstressed final foot); while the final line, Line 9, consist of six anapaests (as do the final stanza lines in Nemesis and Festival). (This metre is consistent throughout the poem). We can see that it might be acceptable in a general sense to refer to such a poem being written in the same Swinburnian metre as Nemesis, but that only applies to Lovecrafts overall use of anapaest in each poem. When we closely analyse line structure and metre, we can see that Hertha, Nemesis, Festival and The House all differ from each other in significant respects. It is unnecessary to examine The City (1919), for while that poem employs anapaestic metre, there is an admixture of other forms of metre as well, and in structure it scarcely resembles the other Lovecraft poems mentioned. Nemesis and The Poe-ets Nightmare In his Introduction to Lovecrafts Fantastic Poetry (1990, 8), Joshi discusses the fact that Lovecrafts poem The Poe-ets Nightmare (1916) is really the first instance of Lovecrafts artistic expression of cosmicism. Joshi quotes the lines: ..whirling ether bore in eddying streams The hot, unfinishd stuff of nascent worlds

as making clear the influence of Lucretius on the cosmic middle section of that poem. This is inarguably valid. There are some discernible similarities between Nemesis and The Poe-ets Nightmare. The cyclical framework of Nemesis, which shows the narrator entering his dreams at the poems beginning and emerging from them at the end, with the poems core being the substance of his nightmares, rather resembles The Poe-ets Nightmare, in which Lucullus Languish experiences a cosmic nightmare after partaking of both too much food and too much Poe. Nemesis, however, presents a very unified and coherent account of the dream (or spirit) voyagings of the narrator, leaving it to the reader to experience the horror of the narrators state, without wagging an admonishing finger at the reader, as does The Poe-ets Nightmare. Consequently, Nemesis is all the more powerful as a weird but objectively-related narrative. The two poems also differ in various respects. Firstly, in Nemesis Lovecraft dispensed with the extended comical framework he used in The Poe-ets Nightmare and which significantly detracts from the dramatic and horrific impact of that poems middle section (which is why he later preferred to publish only the middle section, under its subtitle of Alethia Phrikodes.) In Nemesis. the single stanza operating as a frame either end of the middle nightmare section is consistent with the overall tone and subject matter of the poem. Such consistency demonstrates Lovecrafts increasing mastery of this sort of material, making Nemesis an extremely effective piece of work. In a second difference from The Poe-ets Nightmare, the shortening of the actual parenthetical framework in Nemesis to a single recapitulated stanza (as opposed to the prolix framework, penned in couplets, of The Poe-ets Nightmare, whose beginning section runs to 76 lines and whose coda runs to 38 lines) makes Nemesis a far superior example of the framing technique, for both clarity and concision of artistic effect. Lastly, as opposed to the trite moralistic tone which mars the end of The Poe-ets Nightmare with its: Curb your rash force, in numbers or at tea Not overzealous for high fancies be Lest ye, like young Lucullus Languish, groan

Beneath Poe-etic nightmares of your own, Nemesis does not point a moral, but only describes the protagonists entrapment in the endless cycle of existence. Poetical Devices in Nemesis The metrical scheme used by Lovecraft in Nemesis, rather than that of Swinburnes Hertha, is observably far closer to that used by Poe in his classic Ulalume. Lovecrafts letter to Reinhardt Kleiner of Nov 8, 1917 (previously cited), in which Lovecraft discusses the composition of the piece, says that the poem has a very different metre and appeal. (SL I:51). Lovecraft opines that he shall probably send the piece to W. Paul Cooks The Vagrant since Cook seems so fond of the unusual. (SL I: 51). But most revealingly, in discussing his metrical scheme for the poem, Lovecraft says The hybrid metre, a cross betwixt that of Poes Ulalume and Swinburnes Hertha, ought to satisfy the couplet-hating souls of yourself & Mo! (SL I: 52). Here we have the truth that Nemesis was influenced metrically by both Swinburne and Poe. It is highly surprising that the influence of Ulalume upon Nemesis appears to have been overlooked in favour of that of Hertha, since Ulalume, in addition to its metrical similarities, has far more textual points of similarity with Lovecrafts poem, which point to it being the greater influence on Nemesis. Let us consider some other technical aspects of Nemesis as verse. Firstly, Lovecrafts use of alliteration in Nemesis is nothing less than delicious. Adorning the first stanza are such phrases as phrases as ghoul-guarded gateways, sounded all things with my sight, and struggle and shriek; while the poems subsequent stanzas are darkly bejewelled by such alliterative phrases as sinister grey-clouded skies, barren and bleak, frog-foetid fountains, marsh and the main, mouldering meadows, grave-girdld ground, and the sin of my spirit. And this takes account of only one poetic technique utilised in Nemesis.

Secondly, the technique of anaphora (that is, the deliberate repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of successive clauses) is another rhetorical device effectively used by Lovecraft in the poem. The repetition of actions the narrator has taken include I have livd, I have sounded, I have whirld, I have seen, I have drifted, I have plungd, I have stumbled, I have drunk, I have scannd, I have trod, I have peerd, I have haunted, and in two lines of the second-to-last stanza, the repetition of I was old. In other uses of this technique within the poem we have the repetition of the phrase where the... twice within stanza 2, once in stanza 3, once in stanza 6, and once more in stanza 8. Lovecraft effectively lends emphasis via this technique to the endlessly repetitive nature of the various places, times and scenes through which the narrator (or its soul/spirit) (or dream presence in Burlesons terminology) travels. The narrator travels from the waking to the dream state, from the very earth at the dawning, through seas, forests, mountains, palaces and tombs, to the icy regions of the Antarctic (where the smoke-belching Erebus rages) and the scorching regions of the desert (where the sun of the desert consumes) both in stanza 8 to the infinite aeons of what is effectively the poems last line (excepting the recapitulation of the first stanza as the last). By contrast to such devices as anapaestic metre, alliteration and anaphora, the actual rhyme scheme of Nemesis is unremarkable. Lovecraft rhymes such words as slumber and number, night and sight and fright in the first stanza. The rhymes in the following stanzas are for the most part equally simple, though the present participles in stanzas 2 and 3 are effective: dawning with yawning, and ending with rending. The false rhyme of palace with valleys in six is rather lax, unless it reflect some peculiar Yankee pronunciation of Lovecrafts which made the rhyme sound closer than it really is. (One notes that in Ulalume, Poe rhymes Titanic with Yaanek no doubt due to his particular regional accent.) The Poetical Merits of Nemesis S.T. Joshi has commented that Nemesis is vague and insubstantial, and lapses into bombast and obscurity (Joshi, Subtler Magick, 231-32). This seems an odd thing to say of a poem often considered one of Lovecrafts finest weird productions outside of the Fungi from Yuggoth cycle. For one thing, vagueness, suggestiveness and indefiniteness are of often components of effective weird fiction why not, then, of weird verse as well? The Italian scholar Massimo Berruti recently devoted a whole section of his critical study of Lovecrafts

friend Robert H. Barlow to the quality of vagueness as one of the essential aesthetic aspect[s] of Barlows narratives, pointing out that it was Lovecraft who taught Barlow the importance of vagueness and of the depiction of a mood when writing weird fiction. If mood and atmosphere are aesthetically all in weird fiction, with plot being inartistic and excess baggage (as Lovecraft often wrote or commented to Barlow), how much more so is it justified that weird poem be a picture of a mood? In a weird story, wrote Lovecraft and his aesthetic view applies equally to weird verse Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail which express shadings of moods and build up a vague illusion (emphasis mine) of the strange reality of the unreal (Lovecraft, Notes on the Writing of Weird Fiction, Marginalia, 1379). The same essay begins with the statement that My reason for writing stories is toi give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stbaly the vague, elusive, framentary (emphasis mine) impressions of wonder, beauty and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architecttural, atmpospheric, etc.) ideas, occurrences and images encountered in art and Literature (Marginalia, 135). Let us recall that it was the very qualities of vagueness and indeterminacy which Lovecraft valued so highly in such stories as Algernon Blackwoods The Willows and Robert H. Barlows The Night Ocean. In his own story The Green Meadow (which, as Stefan Dziemanowicz has shown, soewhat anticipates themes & motifs of Blackwoods The Willows), the nature of the awesome presence the narrator of the The Green Meadow sees in the forest behind him is sentient impulses of a vast vague kind. For another thing, despite the charge of obscurity, Nemesis has a quite discernible plot, beginning with the narrators confession that has he lived oer his lives without number, and moving on through the various scenes which over the aeons he has witnessed and experienced. The majority of these scenes are perfectly concrete in nature, including: the beginnings of the universe, the seas, the greyclouded skies, the many-forked lightning, the hoary primordial grove and its oaks, the cave-ridden mountains and the frog-foetid fountains, the ivy-clad palace, the moon and the valleys, the many-roofed village with its cemetery filled with white urn-carven marble, not to mention the Pharaohs jewel-decked throne by the Nile. Perhaps Joshi objects to the indefinite nature of certain forces that trouble the narrator during his wanderings for instance in stanza three, the narrator encounters invisible daemons; in stanza four, he says I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers through dead branches above without defining the exact

nature of this thing; in stanza six, he sees strange figures discordantly woven in the tapestries on the wall figures that he cannot endure to recall. Or perhaps the objection is made in reference to the narrator/personas motivation or exact form, which are admittedly somewhat unclear. But we know from the poem that the narrator has a consciousness whether embodied or disembodied is difficult to say. Lovecrafts intention seems to have been to deliberately create an ambience of indefiniteness around the nature of this consciousness, though he does provide some clues in the final stanzas which we shall discuss later. Really, the answer to the charge of vagueness and obscurity, a quality which is common to the horrors in many of Lovecrafts works, is clearly set out in Lovecrafts philosophical story The Unnamable(1923) by its narrator: And since spirit, in order to cause all the manifestations attributed to it, cannot be limited by any of the laws of matter; why is it extravagant to imagine psychically living dead things in shapesor absences of shapeswhich must for human spectators be utterly and appallingly unnamable? As for Nemesis, I would argue that the poem has an interior thematic coherence and strength which place it above such criticisms as bombast and obscurity. Joshi is not the only critic to have judged Nemesis less effective than it might have been. L. Sprague de Camp, too, criticised Nemesis, which he regarded as a Poe pastiche, because despite a good, swinging rhythm, Nemesis (probably inspired by Poes Ulalume) is not only painfully derivative but also uses the galloping anapaestic metre. This is fine for Brownings Boot, saddle, to horse and away! but unsuited to Lovecrafts somber subject. (de Camp, 124). A more valid criticism than de Camps of the application of anapaestic metre to weird verse might well be that that it is oft-times used in English verse is as a comic metre. Examples include the foot of the limerick, The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, the nonsense poems of Edward Lear, and the poems of T.E. Eliots Book of Practical Cats. Nevertheless, I would argue that Lovecrafts use of anapaest in Nemesis is highly effective and strengthens rather than weakens the weird effect. Not only does it reinforce the sonorous, rolling nature of the planets spoken of in stanza 2, but it provides a feeling of rhythmical motion which accords well with the narrator spirits journeyings through space and time. Lovecraft, in my view, succeeds in making his metrical scheme dignified and portentous, as befits his subject matter in this poem quite an accomplishment given his choice of metre. Another criticism of Nemesis is made by Joshi in his introduction to Lovecrafts Fantastic Poetry. He criticises both The Rutted Road (a poem of 1917) and

Nemesis as deserving of Winfield Townley Scotts censure: To scare is a slim purpose in poetry. (Lovecraft, Fantastic Poetry, 9). Joshi adheres to this opinion of Nemesis as late as 2008 (Joshi, Emperors of Dreams, 33). I am unsure why Joshi does not see greater merits in Nemesis (which is brilliantly, illustrated, by the way, by Jason C. Eckhardt, in Joshis edition of The Fantastic Poetry) but perhaps it is a matter of taste. Townley Scotts criticism of Lovecrafts weird verse has always struck me as rather inane; one could equally well say to scare is a slim purpose in fiction. Lovecraft himself, however, demonstrated the aesthetic significance of the weird tale; the aesthetic significance of the subgenre of the weird poem is just as valid, though the purpose of such verse may be partly or even solely to scare. Scott might also have written To entertain is a slim purpose in literature well, yes, so it may be; but many writers find this slim purpose all the motivation they need to create works of literature. For a horror writer and weird poet such as Lovecraft, what is more natural than that in his weird verse he would seek to scare or unsettle the reader? This object is in perfect harmony with the object of his weird fiction to creatively deliver, via a buildup of atmospheric language and conception, those feelings of dread which he so valued, as expressed in his famous dictum in Supernatural Horror in Literature: A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the dmons of unplumbed space." (Lovecraft, Annotated Supernatural Horror, 23).

The second stanza of Nemesis (which Lovecraft would quote as the epigraph to his Nov 1935 story The Haunter of the Dark, indicating his continued fondness for the poem across a span of nearly twenty years) is surely at least as redolent of the influence of Lucretius, and as representative of Lovecrafts increasingly crystallising cosmic philosophical attitude, as those lines from The Poe-ets Nightmare penned two years earlier. The second stanza of Nemesis reads: I have whirld with the earth at the dawning When the sky was a vaporous flame, I have seen the dark universe yawning, Where the black planets roll without aim; Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name. The utilisation of the last three lines of this stanza as the epigraph to Lovecrafts tale The Haunter of the Dark (1935) foreshadows the cosmic nature of the mystery that will be unveiled in that story, with its extra-terrestrial creature worshipped by the Starry Wisdom cultists via the medium of the Shining Trapezohedron. And given that Nemesis is also to some extent a poem on the dangers of hubris and sin, Lovecraft may have used the poem fragment to hint that Robert Blakes curiosity in seeking the mysteries of the Starry Wisdom church was a form of hubris which led inevitably to his downfall. Edgar Allan Poe and Ulalume Let us now turn to a consideration poem of Poes Ulalume

(written December 1847). It is one of his most famous verses; criticism on it runs to at least thirty-five separate essays by diverse hands (For a list see http://www.eapoe.org/works/info/pp087.htm). Ulalume was written late in the same year that Poes young wife, Virginia Clemm, died (she died in January 1847) and probably reflects to some extent the poets brooding on her death and burial.

It is a dreamlike ballad of 104 lines which presents a psychologically divided poet in conflict with his soul over his temptation to escape the memory of his dead lover, Ulalume, by pursuing new hope and new love under the influence of Astarte, the moon goddess. The story of Poes poem is fundamentally that (paraphrasing Mabbotts description) in October of a year when recollection is difficult, in the imaginary realm of music and painting the protagonist and his soul walk together through a strange landscape. It is Halloween (when the dead have power), and as dawn approaches they see the planet of love in the sky. She is seen as warmer than the moon and as having escaped from the turmoil of lust. The soul distrusts Venus but is claimed by reasoning until stopped by a tomb, now seen to be that of the protagonists lost love. The question is asked whether the ghouls (friendly to living people) have called up a phantom of hope to save the walkers from memory of an irreparable loss. (Mabbott, 414). The publication history of Poes Ulalume is too complicated to reiterate here. (For a full discussion see Mabbott, 409-15). But after it was initially published anonymously in George Hooker Coltons magazine The American Review (Dec 1847), it was reprinted in the Home Journal of Jan 1, 1848 with a query about its authorship (the query being at Poes request). It was thereafter, in Providence RI Lovecrafts home town that Poe first wrote his name as author in the copy of the American Review at the Providence Athenaeum; the actual signed copy is preserved there. Poe also discussed the poem with Helen Whitman, finally arranging to have it reprinted as his own in the Providence Journal of November 22, 1848. Apart from the well-established general influence that Poe as a writer had on Lovecraft, we might conjecture that the appearance of Ulalume under Poes name in the very newspaper of Lovecrafts hometown (albeit nearly seventy years earlier) may well have influenced Lovecrafts decision to partly base his metrical structure in Nemesis on that of Ulalume.

Ulalume (1847) by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

The skies they were ashen and sober; The leaves they were crisped and sereThe leaves they were withering and sere; It was night in the lonesome October Of my most immemorial year; It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, In the misty mid region of WeirIt was down by the dank tarn of Auber, In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. Here once, through an alley Titanic, Of cypress, I roamed with my SoulOf cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. There were days when my heart was volcanic As the scoriac rivers that rollAs the lavas that restlessly roll Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek In the ultimate climes of the poleThat groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek In the realms of the boreal pole. Our talk had been serious and sober, But our thoughts they were palsied and sereOur memories were treacherous and sereFor we knew not the month was October, And we marked not the night of the year(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) We noted not the dim lake of Auber(Though once we had journeyed down here), Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. And now, as the night was senescent, And star-dials pointed to mornAs the star-dials hinted of morn-

Illustration for Ulalume by W. Heath Robinson

At the end of our path a liquescent And nebulous lustre was born, Out of which a miraculous crescent Arose with a duplicate hornAstarte's bediamonded crescent Distinct with its duplicate horn. And I said-"She is warmer than Dian: She rolls through an ether of sighsShe revels in a region of sighs: She has seen that the tears are not dry on These cheeks, where the worm never dies, And has come past the stars of the Lion, To point us the path to the skiesTo the Lethean peace of the skiesCome up, in despite of the Lion, To shine on us with her bright eyesCome up through the lair of the Lion, With love in her luminous eyes." But Psyche, uplifting her finger, Said-"Sadly this star I mistrustHer pallor I strangely mistrust:Oh, hasten!-oh, let us not linger! Oh, fly!-let us fly!-for we must." In terror she spoke, letting sink her Wings until they trailed in the dustIn agony sobbed, letting sink her Plumes till they trailed in the dustTill they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. I replied-"This is nothing but dreaming: Let us on by this tremulous light! Let us bathe in this crystalline light! Its Sybilic splendor is beaming With Hope and in Beauty to-night:See!-it flickers up the sky through the night! Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, And be sure it will lead us arightWe safely may trust to a gleaming

That cannot but guide us aright, Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night." Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, And tempted her out of her gloomAnd conquered her scruples and gloom; And we passed to the end of the vista, But were stopped by the door of a tombBy the door of a legended tomb; And I said-"What is written, sweet sister, On the door of this legended tomb?" She replied-"Ulalume-Ulalume'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!" Then my heart it grew ashen and sober As the leaves that were crisped and sereAs the leaves that were withering and sereAnd I cried-"It was surely October On this very night of last year That I journeyed-I journeyed down hereThat I brought a dread burden down hereOn this night of all nights in the year, Ah, what demon has tempted me here? Well I know, now, this dim lake of AuberThis misty mid region of WeirWell I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir." "Ulalume" is a ballad, a poem that tells a story. Like other ballads, "Ulalume" includes refrains (repetition of key phrases). Although the poem is not intended to be sung, its rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and alliteration give it a musical quality. Regarding its title, some critics have surmised that the name comes from the verb "ululate", meaning to cry loudly. Another of the many explanations given for Poes derivations of the word Ulalume is that Ul-ul-loo (variously spelled) is a Gaelic phrase of wailing. (See Mabbot, pp. 419-20 for this and further speculations on the source of the name). (Interestingly, and aside, the Gaelic phrase is found liberally used, as Ou lou lou, throughout the fantasy stories of M. John Harrisons Viriconium sequence). If one accepts this derivation, and recalling that Lovecraft pronounced his later invention Cthulhu as something akin to Klew-loo: The u is similar to that in full; with the first syllable not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness (H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters V, pp. 10 11.),

one might conjecture that the title of Poes poem may even have influenced the creation of Lovecrafts Great Old One itself! Another popular suggestion for the basis of the name Ulalume is that Poe simply used a Latin stem of some kind which he then ended with ume (pronounced oom) so that the word would rhyme with other words in the poem, gloom and tomb, and rhyme with an unspoken word that looms over the poem: doom. The vowel in ume also rhymes with the vowels in ghoul. Some of the principal figures of speech we find in "Ulalume" include: alliteration Of my most immemorial year Our talk had been serious and sober (Line 1, Stanza 3) anaphora: It was night in the lonesome October Of my most immemorial year; It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, In the misty mid region of WeirIt was down by the dank tarn of Auber, In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. Simile - There were days when my heart was volcanic / As the scoriac rivers that rolland personification/metaphor: (reference to the soul, Psyche, as a person). Atmosphere and Word Choice in Ulalume The atmosphere of "Ulalume" is not only bleak and depressing but also mysterious and otherworldly. To create this atmosphere, Poe used words connoting decay, disease, death, destruction, loneliness, and suffering; he combines them with words connoting vagueness, ethereality, and mystery. Among the words enabling Poe to create his nightmarish poem are ashen, withering, lonesome, dim, misty, dank, ghoul-haunted, sulphurous, groan, agony, sorrowfully, senescent, liquescent, nebulous, and Lethean. The phrase mid region in Stanzas 1 and 9
Illustration for "Ulalume" by W. Heath Robinson

(Line

5,

Stanza

1)

seems to suggest a place halfway between the world and the underworld. Likewise, in Nemesis, Lovecraft used words connoting fear, terror and suffering, combining them with words connoting vagueness, ethereality and mystery. Lovecrafts significant word-choices in this regard include: ghoul-guarded, wanmooned, abysses, struggle, shriek, madness, whirled, horror, sinister, hysterical, invisible, hoary, primordial, presence, stalks, flee, leers, dead, stumbled, barren, bleak, frog-foetid, ooze, cursed, untenanted, discordantly, peered, mouldering, grave-girdled, haunted, fear, rages, drear, vile, doom, infinite, aeons, unmerciful, and gloom. Rhyme Scheme and Metre in Ulalume Poe uses end rhyme throughout his poem. In each stanza, the first line rhymes with the fourth, and the second line rhymes with the third. The rhyme scheme of other lines varies, since not all stanzas have the same length. However, the most notable element of Ulalumes form comes in its use of variations of rhyme and of repetition. The rhyme scheme makes frequent use not only of end rhyme but also of repetition of words. For example, the first stanza's rhyme scheme is A1 B1 B1 A2 B2 A3 B3 A3 B3, where B1 is the repetition of the word "sere," A3 is the repetition of "Auber," and B3 is the repetition of "Weir." All nine stanzas begin with A1 B1 B1 A2 as the scheme of the first four lines, and the rest of the verses' schemes are all very similar. Poe also repeats much of the description of setting in the first stanza in the third and last verses, giving the poem a circular form that parallels his metaphorical voyage of a year and return to Ulalume's grave. The metre also varies, but Poe relies mainly on anapaestic feet, sometimes mixed with iambic feet. (As we have seen, Swinburne tended to use this mixture, but Lovecraft usually used unmixed anapaestic metre where he used anapaests at all). The rhythm of "Ulalume" consists mainly of dactyls (which consists of one accented followed by two unaccented syllables), and of anapaests (which reverse the pattern with two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one). Catalexis (an extra syllable at the end of a line) occurs occasionally. Following are examples: ....iamb..... | ....anapaest....... |....anapaest. The SKIES | they were ASH | en and SO | ber | .catalexis

........anapaest...... | .......anapaest....... | ...anapaest.....| There were DAYS | when my HEART | was vol CAN | .ic ......iamb......... Though ONCE | | we had ....anapaest..... JOUR | neyed

.catalexis

|........anapaest down HERE

Despite the admixture of iambs in certain places, the principal metre of Ulalume is anapaestic, thus Lovecrafts Nemesis is closely akin to it in this regard. Critical response to Ulalume has been varied, just as to Lovecrafts Nemesis. Eric Carlson reminds us that it was roundly attached by Aldous Huxley as the height of vulgarity in literature, by Yvor Winters as a prime example of Poes deliberate obscurantism and by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren as a flagrant example of cheap mystification, but that on the other hand, Ulalume is invariably anthologised as one of Poes best poems - one of his two or three finest. Some have criticised its allegedly gross defects of trite diction, heavy meter, overuse of rime and cloying sounds, and general effect of theatricality; yet other critics have argued that these defects are as nothing as compared to Poes special hypnotic purpose and the lasting influence of his theory and practice on modern verse. (Carlson, Symbol and Sense, 22.) Where there is so much room for debate on the merits of a poem by Poe, it is hardly surprising that different critics may view several of Lovecrafts verses in different lights according to their individual standards and tastes. Amusingly enough, though Lovecraft probably didnt know if it (there is no reference to Hart in the Selected Letters) author Bret Harte (1836-1902) composed a parody of Poes poem entitled "The Willows" featuring the narrator, in the company of a woman called Mary, running out of credit at a bar: And I said What is written, sweet sister, At the opposite side of the room? She sobbed, as she answered, all liquors Must be paid for ere leaving the room. Textual Similarities in Ulalume and Nemesis In Nemesis, there is a clear echo of Poes lines from Ulalume about Mt Yaanek in Lovecrafts repetition of the word roll in the last two lines of this stanza, as the black planets roll without aim and roll in their horror unheeded. Not only is this a choice instance of anaphora (the deliberate repetition of a word or phrase, for emphasis, at the beginning of successive verses, clauses or paragraphs) but it irresistibly recalls the repetition of the word roll in Poes lines from stanza 2 of

Ulalume: the section of Poes poem where the narrator compares his volcanic heart to the lavas that roll down Mount Yaanek. As the scoriac rivers that ROLL As the lavas that restlessly ROLLTheir sulphurous currents down Yaanek In the ultimate clime of the pole That groan as they ROLL down Mount Yaanek In the realms of the boreal pole. Poe uses the word roll here both as an end-rhyme, at lines 1 and 2 (a word enrhyming with itself is technically called identical rhyme) and as an internal rhyme, in line 5, as well rhyming it with pole in lines 4 and 6. Lovecraft has varied the usage by making his repetition of roll an internal rhyme but the similarity of phraseology in the two poems can hardly go unnoticed. All this being said, Lovecraft does not thematically follow Ulalume in Nemesis on every level. Poes poem, for instance, is replete with symbolism from Grecian mythology Titan, Psyche, Lethe, Sibyls, etc, as well as astrological symbolism regarding the planets Venus and the sign of Leo. This is not symbolism which Lovecraft chose to imitate in Nemesis, despite his own fondness for Grecian mythology. Cosmic Philosophy, Reincarnation and the Horrors of Infinite Age in Nemesis Furthermore, Lovecrafts adoption of the verb roll apropos the planets is far more cosmic than Poes conception. Poe utilises the metaphor of lava rolling down the sides of the volcanic Mt Yaanek to symbolise the restiveness of his narrators heart a purely physical and earth-based metaphor for a human emotion. However, in Lovecrafts poem, human emotions play no part or at least are dwarfed by the enormous forces of creation and cyclic existence that are the narrators fate. In Nemesis, it is not merely

lavas that roll, but the planets themselves, rolling gigantically in their orbits an extrapolation undreamed of by Poe. The planets are without knowledge or lustre or name because the narrator of Nemesis is the only witness to them no other life has yet appeared in the universe, hence the planets have not been observed or named by any living being (divine or otherwise). The planets are nameless in fact, unnameable because the narrator (himself nameless) is observing the planets of the cosmos at its very creation, at the dawning, when the sky was a vaporous flame. The fact that the planets roll without aim also emphasises Lovecrafts mechanist materialist philosophy as regards the process of creation. There is no divine Creator guiding the planets in their courses, only blind idiot force the force that Lovecraft frequently personified (if one can use such a term) as Azathoth. Indeed, the aimless nature of the planets in Nemesis merely foreshadows such of Lovecrafts works as Azathoth, the 22nd poem of the Fungi from Yuggoth sequence, with its: They danced insanely to the high, thin whining Of a cracked flute clutched in a monstrous paw, Whence flow the aimless waves whose chance combining [emphasis mine] Gives each frail cosmos its eternal law. Nemesis is therefore imbued with a cosmic quality not unlike that which we find in Clark Ashton Smiths cosmic verse. Joshi is of the view that Lovecraft became aware of the abysmal inferiority of his verse to Smiths (Joshi, Subtler Magick, 222). This is true, but Nemesis was nevertheless a worthy effort in this vein. Lovecraft first wrote to Smith in August 1922, so the penning of Nemesis predates that correspondence by around five years a testament to Lovecrafts own original imaginative power in weird verse. The opening stanza of Nemesis is resoundingly effective in its evocation of the philosophical concept known as the eternal return. The lines I have livd oer my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight; evoke a vision of endlessly repeated cycles of incarnation which can be found in many other places in Lovecrafts work in the poems The House (1919) and in

Recapture (Nov 1929) from the Fungi from Yuggoth sequence, to name but two. I will deal further with the theme of reincarnation in Nemesis later. Such lines as I have haunted the tombs of the ages and: I was old when the Pharaohs first mounted The jewel-deckd throne by the Nile; I was old in those epochs uncounted when I, and I only, was vile, tie in to the theme of vast epochs of time which Lovecraft often associates in his work with feelings of horror. Lovecraft wrote: The reason why time plays so great a part in so many of my tales is that this element looms up in my mind as the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe. Conflict with time seems to me the most potent and fruitful theme in all human expression. (Notes on the Writing of Weird Fiction, Marginalia, 135). Lovecrafts works do not always display a horror of times vast extent. A notable exception to this theme in his work is the sonnet Continuity (the 36 th and last of the sonnets in the Fungi from Yuggoth cycle), where the poet, rather than being horrified by contemplation of the aeons confesses himself emotionally moved by the slanting beams of light which fall on an old barn: In that strange light I find myself not far From the fixt mass whose sides the ages are. In these lines, which verges on capturing a mystical experience experienced by the poet, we detect a latent tendency in Lovecraft to be affected by what theologian Rudolf Otto called the numinous, despite Lovecrafts avowed disbelief in any shred of supernatural or religious belief. But such a sentiment as this anent the flow of time is rare in Lovecrafts work. More often, as in Nemesis, we find time and history as sources of not simply awe and wonder, but of terror Consider, for instance, the opening lines of the story The Festival (1923): It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind (italics mine), where Lovecraft implies that the very ancientness of the ritual somehow associates it with horrors beyond the ken of humankind; or indeed, his frequently-expressed conviction that that any place or thing that is very old is intrinsically horrible, as in The Outsider (1921) with its line in the second

paragraph: I know not where I was born, save that the castle was infinitely old and infinitely horrible. (italics mine). This horror of infinite oldness is closely related to the concept of strange aeons, as in the second line of the infamous couplet by Abdul Alhazred: And with strange aeons even death may die (emphasis mine) In Nemesis, we see this as (last line of the second-last stanza): Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom. (emphasis mine). Lovecrafts conception of aeons and epochs (what the Hindus refer to as kalpas) of time as being horrifying can also be observed in the titles of such stories as Out of the Aeons and The Shadow Out of Time and in the themes of (amongst other tales) The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shunned House, Imprisoned with the Pharaohs, and The Nameless City, with their manifold horrors arising from the ancient past. In Nemesis, not only does the narrator live out his lives without number (that is, lives uncountably numerous), but he lives through epochs uncounted a reinforcement of the fact that his plight is both infinitely old and infinitely horrible. The word unmerciful utilised in the above-quoted line is a kind of inversion of a characteristic Lovecraftian usage. Elsewhere in his work, Lovecraft frequently characterised the forces of the universe as merciful, but in an ironic way for instance in The Outsider (1921) It was the awful baring of that which the merciful earth should always hide and The Call of Cthulhu (1926) The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. And The Other Gods (1921) Merciful gods of earth, I am falling into the sky!" And Hypnos (1922) : May the merciful gods, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom...And yet again, in The Colour Out of Space(1927) He had come of late to do nothing but stare into space and obey what his father told him; and Ammi thought that his fate was very merciful. . In Nemesis, Lovecrafts narrator refers to a personification of the cosmic forces which show no mercy to the minds of humankind.

Ghoul Imagery in Nemesis, Ulalume and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath The phrase Ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber from the first line of Nemesis is an intriguing foreshadowing of motifs in Lovecrafts short novel The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926/27), written some ten years after Nemesis. George Wetzel first observed the connection between this line of Nemesis and the Lovecraftian Dreamlands stories in his essay Genesis of the Cthulhu Mythos in Schweitzer, Discovering H.P. Lovecraft. (p. 57-58). Of course, the phrase also recalls the title of Lovecrafts 1919 story Beyond the Wall of Sleep. Sleep and dreams figured largely in Lovecrafts oeuvre, from Hypnos (1922) (the name for the Greek God of sleep) to The Dreams in the Witch-House (1932). In Dream-Quest, Randolph Carter descends the seven hundred steps to the cavern of flame, to the Gates of Deeper Slumber, whereby he enters the Haunted (or Enchanted) Wood. Dream-Quests hero, Randolph Carter, first encounters the ghouls after having been snatched away from Mt Ngranek (whose name sounds remarkably like that of Poes Mt Yaanek in Ulalume) by night-gaunts, who leave him to die in the underworld Vale of Pnath. The friendly ghouls, including Richard Upton Pickman, return him to the upper Dreamlands. So while the Gateway of Deep Slumber in Dream-Quest is not actually guarded by ghouls (as in the first line of Nemesis), the imagery embodied by the poems first line is neverthless strikingly to important motifs in Dream-Quest. It seems reasonable to suggest the existence of such foreshadowings in Lovecrafts work, since many of the key images, tropes and themes explored in his early works were obsessively repeated and amplified throughout his later oeuvre. To take but one similar example of thematic foreshadowing from a poem to a story, one of Lovecrafts earliest fantastic poems, Unda, or the Bride of the Sea (1915), in which a young man falls in love with a sea-nymph (her name, of course, indicating that she is an undine or water-spirit), loses her when she returns to her native deep, and then himself drowns, so that he is now safe with his bride. In this theme we may read an early variant (apart from its obvious warning of what Lovecraft then

perceived as the dangers of the womanly sex, via depiction/demonisation of the woman as a femme fatale) of the events of The Shadow Over Innsmouth. In this tale, the narrator is firstly (unbeknownst to himself) born from the genealogical line of Obed Marsh of Innsmouth (interbred with the Deep Ones), during his youth loses this part of himself, but in discovering his ancestry, is eventually reconciled to the idea of living happily forever in the undersea city of Yha-nthlei. Turning to Poes Ulalume, we may note the significant usage there of the phrase ghoul-haunted and not merely ghoul-haunted, but ghoul-haunted woodland [of Weir] In Ulalume though the ghouls haunt the woodland of Weir, they are (in some interpretations) friendly, and seen as not wishing to harm living people (see ll. 96-97, where Poe calls them ...the woodlandish ghouls, The pitiful, the merciful ghouls). It is at first sight remarkable that Poe portrayed his ghouls in Ulalume as friendly, and that Lovecraft, in The Dream-Quest, did the same. (In the slightly earlier tale, Pickmans Model (1926), Lovecraft depicts ghouls as terrible and fearsome creatures; however, in the Dream-Quest, they are both loyal and helpful to the protagonist, their less disturbing nature in this tale verging at times on the comical). According to David Robinson, Line 97 of Ulalume, where the narrator describes them as The pitiful, the merciful ghouls indicates his feeling that the ghouls have displayed a sympathy toward him in their action. It is ironic that any creatures who supposedly feed upon corpses could be called merciful, but the irony deepens when the nature of the ghouls mercy is fully understood. (Robinson, 8). Robinson actually goes on to query the notion of many critics that Poes ghouls are helpful, in that that they try to prevent the narrator of Ulalume finding the tomb of his lost beloved and thus being plunged again into grief. He ultimately reverses the friendly ghoul interpretation, considering that the ghouls are far more sinister than the critics have realised. (Robinson, 10) and that the ghouls are the supreme ironists. Mercifully and pitifully they give the speaker his wish for peace, but in so doing frustrate him all the morethey give him the knowledge of deaththey kill him spirituallyThus the ghouls are not well-meaning deceivers, but cruel instruments through which the narrator sees the impossible disparity between his hopes and abilities. (Robinson, 12).

Beowulf and the Ghoul: A Possible Source for Ghouls in Lovecraft? Some lines (102-105) in Beowulf referring to the creature Grendel are rather reminiscent of the opening line of Nemesis: That ghastly grim one, Grendel they called him Was that fiend of fens who defended the waste, Marsh and moorland. Where the monsters dwell That gloom-weary ghoul guarded a season after the Creator had outlawed the cursed one among the kin of Cain (emphasis mine) The author of Beowulf is here saying that all of the descendants of Cain were banished and sent away to a mere, where Grendel then set up his lair. (Lehmann, 24) Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem. It consists of 3182 alliterative long lines, is set in Scandinavia and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is generally dated between the 8th and the early 11th century. Had HPL read Beowulf? We know that he was familiar with its existence, as with the existence of other bardic productions such as the Norse Sagas and the Iliad, because he refers to it in passing a letter to J. Vernon Shea of Oct 9, 1931(Lovecraft, Selected Letters III, 420). But had he read it? More to the point, had he perhaps read it by 1917 when Nemesis was composed? English translations were certainly available to him. In 1805, Sharon Turner first translated selected verses into modern English. This was followed in 1814 by John Josias Conybeare who published an edition "in English paraphrase and Latin verse translation." In 1815, Grimur Jonsson Thorkelin published the first complete edition in Latin. Nikolaj Frederick Severin Grundtvig reviewed Thorkelins edition in 1815, creating the first complete verse translation in Danish in 1820. In 1837, J.M. Kemble created an important literal translation in English. In 1895, William Morris and & A. J. Wyatt published the ninth English translation.

But Lovecraft owned no standalone copy of the work according to Lovecrafts Library. (Joshi, Lovecrafts Library). Despite the reference in Beowulf to Grendel as the gloomweary ghoul guard, we can probably discount the work from having influenced the first line of Nemesis. (Of course, Lovecraft may have drawn his ghoul legendry from sources also accessible to Poe such as The Thousand and One Nights, Hans Christian Andersons The Wild Swans and Lord Byrons The Giaour, which all feature ghouls). Poes Mount Yaanek, & Mount Erebus in Lovecraft In his short novel At the Mountains of Madness (1932), Lovecraft pays tribute to Poe via several means. One of the methods he uses is to incorporate motifs from Poes The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838). But we are here concerned with Lovecrafts references to Ulalume in his novel. The narrator tells of observing, while nearing the end of the approach with the Miskatonic expedition to Antartica, the region of Ross Island:
On the 7th of November, sight of the westward range having been temporarily lost, we passed Franklin Island; and the next day descried the cones of Mts. Erebus and Terror on Ross Island ahead, with the long line of the Parry Mountains beyond. There now stretched off to the east the low, white line of the great ice barrier, rising perpendicularly to a height of two hundred feet like the rocky cliffs of Quebec, and marking the end of southward navigation. In the afternoon we entered McMurdo Sound and stood off the
Ross Island, showing position of Mt Erebus (Poe's Yaanek)

coast in the lee of smoking Mt. Erebus. The scoriac peak (italics mine) towered up some twelve thousand, seven hundred feet against the

eastern sky, like a Japanese print of the sacred Fujiyama, while beyond it rose the white, ghostlike height of Mt. Terror, ten thousand, nine hundred feet in altitude, and now extinct as a volcano. Puffs of smoke from Erebus came intermittently, and one of the graduate assistants - a brilliant young fellow named Danforth - pointed out what looked like lava on the snowy slope, remarking that this mountain, discovered in 1840, had undoubtedly been the source of Poe's image when he wrote seven years later: As the scoriac rivers that roll As the lavas that restlessly rollTheir sulphurous currents down Yaanek In the ultimate clime of the pole That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek In the realms of the boreal pole.

Danforth was a great reader of bizarre material, and had talked a good deal of Poe. I was interested myself because of the Antarctic scene of Poe's only long story the disturbing and enigmatical Arthur Gordon Pym. On the barren shore, and on the lofty ice barrier in the background, myriads of grotesque penguins squawked and flapped their fins, while many fat seals were visible on the water, swimming or sprawling across large cakes of slowly drifting ice. (Lovecraft,

At the Mountains

of Madness, 7-8).
Volcanic Mt Erebus (Poe's Yaanek)

Lovecraft echoes Poes volcanic imagery of Mt Yaanek in Ulalume in the eighth stanza of Nemesis, which reads in part: I have flown on the pinions of fear Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages, Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear. This clinches the connection of Ulalume with Lovecrafts poem Nemesis (where, back in 1917, Lovecraft had mentioned Erebus). A jokull, by the way, is an Icelandic name for glaciers. We may note that the use of an Antarctic location in part of Nemesis both foreshadows and is consistent with Lovecrafts horror of the cold and this later use of Antarctica as a locus redolent with potent horror in At the Mountains of Madness. Mount Erebus was discovered on January 27, 1841 (and observed to be in eruption) by polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross, who named it Mount Erebus after his ships, Erebus and Terror (which were also used by Sir John Franklin on his disastrous Arctic expedition). Recall that Poes Ulalume was written in 1847, so Poes incorporation of Erebus into his poem as Mount Yaanek utilised comparatively recent contemporary knowledge at the time he penned Ulalume. Mt Erebus is the second highest volcano in Antarctica (after Mount Sidley). With a summit elevation of 3,794 metres (12,448 ft), it is located on Ross Island, which is also home to three inactive volcanoes, notably Mount Terror. Mount Erebus is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes over 160 active volcanoes. Erebus was a primordial Greek god of darkness, the son of Chaos.

The Greek God Erebus

Lovecraft has not been the only student of Poe to associate Poes Mount Yaanek with Mount Erebus. Mount Yaanek, with its "sulphurous currents" in the "ultimate climes of the pole", has frequently been associated by modern Poe critics with Mount Erebus. If Lovecraft realised the association between Yaanek and Erebus as early as 1917, when he wrote Nemesis and this seems likely then he was one of the earliest students of Poe to do so. He confirms his knowledge of this connection by explicitly referencing it in At the Mountains of Madness, and by going so far as to quote the relevant parts of Ulalume, as noted supra. Strangely, in Poes Ulalume, Yaanek's location is specified as being in "the realms of the boreal pole", indicating an Arctic location rather than an Antarctic one for the poetic counterpart. It is worth repeating the view of William P. Trent, in his textbook, The Raven (1897), who says Generally speaking boreal means northern, from Boreas, the north wind. But Poes imagination usually turned to the South Pole, so that it seems possible that he was following the French terminology, in which boreal pole is that pole of the magnetic needle which points to the south. The whole expression would then be equivalent to Antarctic regions. Since no active volcano was known in Poes time within the Arctic Circle Mount Hecla in Iceland is south of it this is necessarily correct. (Quoted in Mabbott, 421). Of course, Lovecrafts horror of the cold in general, and by extension the Antarctic regions in particular would have proved a further attraction to him when first reading Ulalume. While Poes description of Mt Yaanek does not stress its chilly aspects, for Lovecraft the mention that it lay in the realms of the boreal pole would probably have been sufficient to conjure a vista of horror which may have encouraged him to emulate Poe by mentioning Erebus in Nemesis. To briefly note a more minor instance of textual similarities between Poes and Lovecrafts poems, we may note that in Ulalume, the figure of Pysche has wings, which at one point she trails in the dirt. While there is no direct correlation to this imagery in Nemesis, the imagery of wings and flight does occur in two places in Lovecrafts poem and this may be slightly significant. In stanza 8, the second line reads I have flown on the pinions of fear (emphasis mine) In stanza 10, the imagery of a winged doom is conveyed via the line: Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom (emphasis mine).

Hubris, Retribution and the Eternal Return: The Cyclical Nature of Nemesis: Nemesis may more be more than simply one significant instance of an attempt on Lovecrafts part at literary catharsis of his nightmares.We turn now, at last, to a major theme of Nemesis, that of reincarnation, coupled with the idea of retribution for sin or hubris. We have referred above to the cyclical nature of Nemesis and the way in which this structure is similar to that of Lovecrafts own The Poe-ets Nightmare. But the cyclical structure of Nemesis is also strongly connected with its theme that of hubris, which can be simply defined as arrogance before the gods. Coupled with the theme of hubris in Nemesis is the
The Goddess Nemesis depicted by Tattarescu

philosophical concept of eternal return or eternal recurrence. This idea can be found throughout

numerous cultures, from classical Indian philosophy through the beliefs of ancient Egypt and on to the Pythagoreans and Stoics of ancient Greece. In modern times, Friedrich Nietzsche resurrected it as a thought experiment to argue for amor fati (love of ones fate). Lovecraft discovered Nietzsches writings as early as 1915, and found his philosophy greatly appealing; so there is every chance the theme of eternal return in Nemesis owes something to the influence of Nietzsches thought on Lovecraft. The narrator in Nemesis actually uses the old-fashioned word sin rather than hubris. From the last stanza but one: O great was the sin of my spirit And great is the reach of its doom Lovecraft notes that the poem presents the conception, Alfred Rethel's depiction of the goddess Nemesis tenable to the orthodox mind, that nightmares are the punishments meted out to the soul for sins committed in previous incarnations perhaps millions of years ago! (Lovecraft, Selected Letters I, 51).

Note Lovecrafts stress on the conception of retribution for sins via nightmares as tenable to the orthodox mind. His, of course, was an unorthodox mind, and he disbelieved in both the concept of divine punishment for sin, and of reincarnation. But as an artist, he was capable of representing those ideas in poetic form, and this is what Nemesis does. I believe we need to consider the poems titles to truly understand its ending. Why Nemesis? In Greek mythology, Nemesis (Greek, ) (also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia ("the Goddess of Rhamnous) at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon), symbolised the remorseless spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to the sin of hubris. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word [nmein], meaning "to give what is due. We have seen already that Lovecraft found the conception of being trapped in an endless cycle of time a horrifying one, and used this as a recurring motif in numerous works. In The Green Meadow, Lovecrafts narrator, a Greek philosopher somehow transported out of his own time and place, is trapped in just such an infinitely repeating, Samsara-like cycle of reincarnation: ...I knew the endless cycle of the future which none like me may escapeI shall live forever, be conscious forever, though my soul cries out to the gods for the boon of death and oblivion (Lovecraft, The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, 8). Examples of this theme in his work could easily be multiplied. The essence of Lovecrafts horror at the idea of being imprisoned in consciousness forever seems to be twofold. In many of his works he seems to regard consciousness itself as a torture and torment, and the idea of death or oblivion as a boon or release. One need only consider a work such as the prose poem Ex Oblivione (1920), where the narrator opens by confessing that the ugly trifles of existence began to drive me to madness like the small drops of water that torturers let fall ceaselessly upon one spot of their victims body (Lovecraft, Miscellaneous Writings, 35) to find a cogent expression of the Lovecraftian attitude that the mundane world (what occultist Austin Osman Spare referred to as the inferno of normalcy) was oft-times an abhorrent form of existence which he sought to escape via retreat into dreams and fancies. Lovecraft would undoubtedly have been amused, too, if he knew of the Christmas card once sent out by occultist Aleister Crowley during his Buddhist phase around 1902, which wished his friends and correspondents a speedy termination of existence.

The idea of being trapped forever in the human consciousness, with its limited viewpoint and subject to ugly trifles must have seemed appalling to Lovecraft and this, together with his deeply-held feeling that conflict with time was the most profoundly dramatic and grimly terrible thing in the universe would have combined to make Lovecraft see the endless cycle of reincarnation as the very acme of horror. Even more than this, Lovecraft surely would have viewed the notion of being forced into a state of perpetual consciousness by forces outside of one s own will that is, by way of the retribution of the goddess Nemesis as one of the horrors par excellence that he was able to imagine. This is what Nemesis is all about. Emphasising the concept of eternal return, Nemesis ends with a repetition of its opening stanza as stanza 11. This, at one level, reinforces the notion of circularity in the motif of spiritual reincarnation and having livd oer my lives without number. On the other hand, the opening and closing stanzas establish a framework whereby the narrator is actually entering the dreaming state, which may equally imply that stanzas 2-10 (the poems core) do not involve an experience of reincarnation, but only a recurring dream or sequence of dreams. It may be only that thro the ghoulguarded gateways of slumber (and not in reality) the narrator lives over his numberless lives, sounding all things with his sight. Of course, for many believers in reincarnation, life itself is seen as a dream, and so the idea of an endless cycle of dreaming is not incompatible with the notion of an endless cycle of lives. As a slight aside: the line sounded all things with my sight is a rather delicious play on the names of two of the five human senses as well as on the sense of the word sounded, which is employed here as a synonym for plumbed (as when one sounds the depths of a well). Of course, the sight the narrator refers to here may not be physical sight, but a sort of second or spiritual sight. In his essay Reincarnation in Lovecrafts Fiction, Robert M. Price distinguishes five basic understandings of the concept of reincarnation, ranging from primitive and Platonic reincarnation, through the Gnostic form of the concept, to the Buddhist and Vedanta Hindu concept of anatta/advaita (where deliverance is from maya, the very illusion that any individual self exists) and finally the Theosophical doctrine of reincarnation in which the process of reincarnation involves not only transmigration between stages of evolution, but also between planets arranged along various chains spanning the dimensions. In this context, Price discusses Nemesis as well as other works by Lovecraft in which reincarnation figures: Lovecraft accurately reflects the despair felt by Eastern believers in reincarnation at the

prospect of the crushing burden of countless lives yet to be endured, a burden seemingly lessened not one whit by the countless births already undergone. Here too, we find lamented the remorseless working of karma, that ineluctable cosmic law of redress which dictates payment of the last farthing of sins committed in previous lives. In Prices view, though he did not believe in the doctrine, [Lovecrafts] vivid dreams of the past led him to use the theme in his fiction [and poetry], where he managed to recapitulate several forms (primitive, Platonic and Theosophical) of reincarnationism. The narrator of Nemesis then, appears trapped, due to his hubris some unidentified sin he has committed against the gods (the vast cosmic forces of the universe) in an endless cycle of waking and dreaming (sometimes known in Hindu metaphysics as the treadmill of Samsara) in which the dreams are horrific an experience not unfamiliar to Lovecraft. Conclusion In conclusion, the metre of Lovecrafts Nemesis is not simply Swinburnian, but also (and possibly primarily) Poe-esque. Nemesis has, in addition to commonality of metre with Poes Ulalume, several suggestive textual similarities whereby Lovecraft demonstrates his debt to Poes poem. Lovecraft paid homage to Poes Ulalume, but the cosmic themes that he utilised in Nemesis make it a work with a wholly original viewpoint. Despite the adopted viewpoint of the orthodox mind which may view reincarnation of the soul as a possibility, Lovecrafts narrator serves primarily as a vehicle of his view that agelessness and longevity are in themselves likely to lead to horror. Nemesis, far from deserving the disparagement with which some critics have heaped upon it, is a poem of considerable complexity and substance which will repay further study. We may reassess Nemesis as a powerful poem of great suggestiveness as well as of metrical felicity, in which (as in The Poe-ets Nightmare and others of his weird verses), Lovecraft sought to convey his cosmic philosophy. It stands as a testament to Lovecrafts varied achievements in weird verse.

Works Cited or Consulted Basler, Roy P. Poes Ulalume, Explicator, 2 (1944), item 49. Berrutti, Massimo. Dim-Remembered Stories: A Critical Study of R.H. Barlow. Hippocampus Press, 2011. NY:

Burleson, Donald R. H.P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study. Westport CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1983. Burleson, Donald. On Lovecrafts Nemesis. Lovecraft Studies 21(Spring 1990), 4042. Carlson, Eric W. Symbol and Sense in Poes Ulalume. American Literature, Vol 35, No 1 (Mar, 1963), 22-37. Dameron, J. Lasley and Irby B. Cauthen, Jr. Edgar Allan Poe: A Bibliography of Criticism 1827-1967. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974. De Camp, L. Sprague. Lovecraft: A Biography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975. Dziemianowicz, Stefan. The Green Meadow and The Willows: Lovecraft, Blackwood, and a Peculiar Correspondence. Lovecraft Studies 19/20 (Fall, 1989), 3439. Ensley, Helen. Poes Rhymes. Baltimore MD: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Edgar Allan Poe Society and the Library of the University of Baltimore, 1981. Faig, Kenneth W. H.P. Lovecraft: His Life, His Work. West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1979. Joshi, S.T. Emperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird Poetry. Sydney: Prea Press, 2008. Note: The chapter on Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft: Alone in Space, is a revised version of Joshis introduction from the Necronomicon Press edition of Lovecrafts The Fantastic Poetry. Joshi, S.T. I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft. NY: Hippocampus press, 2010 (2 vols). . Joshi, S.T. Lovecrafts Library: A Catalogue: Revised and Enlarged. NY: Hippocampus Press, 2002.

Joshi, S.T. A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H.P. Lovecraft. San Bernadino, CA: Borgo Press, 1996. Joshi, S.T. and David E. Schultz. An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Westport CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2001. Lehmann, Ruth P.M. Beowulf: An Imitative Translation. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1988. Lovecraft, H.P. The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H.P. Lovecraft. Edited by S.T. Joshi. San Francisco: Night Shade Books, 2001. Lovecraft, H.P. The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature. Edited by S.T. Joshi. NY: Hippocampus Press, 2012 (revised and expanded ed). Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1965 (corrected 9th printing; texts edited by S.T. Joshi). Lovecraft, H.P. The Fantastic Poetry. Ed S.T. Joshi. West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1990. Lovecraft, H.P. The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1989. (Corrected Third Printing; texts edited by S.T. Joshi). Lovecraft, H.P. Marginalia. Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1944. Lovecraft, H.P. Selected Letters Vol I-V. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1965-76. Mabbott, Thomas Olive (ed). Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume I: Poems. Cambridge, MA and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969. Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 211. Miller, Jr, James E. Ulalume Resurrected, Philological Quarterly, 34 (1955). Mulqueen, James E. The Meaning of Poes Ulalume, American Transcendental Quarterly, 1 (1st Quarter 1964).

Pearsall, Anthony. The Lovecraft Lexicon: A Readers Guide to Persons, Places, and Things in the Tales of H.P. Lovecraft. Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications, 2005. Poe, Edgar Allan. Ulalume. Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

Ulalume 1894-1895 The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:43-46, and 10:186-187) Ulalume 1902 The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (10:102-105, and 10:213-214) Ulalume 1911 The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (pp. 82-85, and pp. 244-247) Ulalume 1917 The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (pp. 117-120, and pp. 265-275) Ulalume A Ballad 1965 The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (pp. 103-106, and pp. 271-274) Ulalume 1969 The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:409-423) Ulalume 1984 Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 89-91) (reprints the text from Stovall, 1965)

Price, Robert M. Reincarnation in Lovecrafts Fiction. Crypt of Cthulhu 1, No 5 (Roodmas 1982). Online at: http://crypt-of-cthulhu.com/reincarnationinlovecraft.htm Robinson, David Ulalume -- The Ghouls and the Critics," Poe Studies, vol. VIII, no. 1, June 1975, pp. 8-10.] Online at: http://www.eapoe.org/pstudies/ps1970/p1975103.htm Schweitzer, Darrell (ed). Discovering H.P. Lovecraft (Revised and Expanded). Holicong, PA: Wildside Press, 2001.