Excerpts from the

Poetry of 

Robert E. Howard

Conceived and bred in blackened pits of hell,
The poems come that set the stars on fire;
Born of black maggots writhing in a shell
Men call a poet's skull--an iron bell
Filled up with burning mist and golden mire.

- "Which Will Scarcely Be Understood"

"Who are you?" I asked the phantom,
"I am rest from Hate and Pride.
"I am friend to king and beggar,
"I am Alpha and Omega,
"I was councilor to Hagar
"But men call me suicide."
I was weary of tide breasting,
Weary of the world's behesting,
And I lusted for the resting
As a lover for his bride."

- "The Tempter"

Solomon Kane stood forth alone,
grim man of sober face:
"Worthy of death he may well be,
but the trial ye held was mockery,
"Ye hid your spite in a travesty
where justice hid her face.

More of the man had ye been, on deck
Your sword to cleanly draw
"In forthright fury from its sheath
and openly cleave him to the teeth-
"Rather than slink and hide beneath
a hollow word of the law."

- "The One Black Stain"

We race the steed of the Saxon knight
Across the naked fen-
They of the East are full of pride,
Cubs of the Lion's den.
They boast they breed a race of kings-
But we of the West breed Men.

- "Marching Song of Connacht"

"We beat them back with broken blades, till crimsom ran the tide;
"Death thundered in the cannon smoke when Richard Grenville died.
"We should have blown her hull apart and sunk beneath the Main."
The people saw upon his wrist the scars of the racks of Spain.

Where is Bess?" said Solomon Kane. "Woe that I caused her tears."
"In the quiet churchyard by the sea she has slept these seven years."
The sea-wind moaned at the window-pane, and Solomon bowed his head.
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and the fairest fade," he said.

- "Solomon Kane's Homecoming"

Life is a lamp with the glimmer gone,
A dank and a darkened cave;
Yet still I swear by the light of dawn,
And not by the grip of the grave.

- "Hope Empty of Meaning"

The mighty poets write in blood and tears
And agony that, flame-like, bites and sears.
They reach their mad blind hands into the night,
To plumb abysses dead to human sight;
To drag from gulfs where lunacy lies curled,
Mad, monstrous nightmare shapes to blast the world.

- "Musings"

What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

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