The Fungi from Yuggoth

by H. P. Lovecraft

     (first pub. the Fantasy Fan, 2 No. 2 (October 1934), 24.)

     The place was dark and dusty and half-lost 
     In tangles of old alleys near the quays, 
     Reeking of strange thing brought in from the seas, 
     And with queer curls of fog that west winds tossed, 
     Small lozenge panes obscured by smoke and frost, 
     Just showed the books, in piles like twisted trees, 
     Rotting from floor to roof-congeries 
     Of crumbling elder lore at little cost. 

     I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap 
     Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through, 
     Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep 
     Some secret, monstrous if only one knew 
     Then, looking for some seller old in craft, 
     I could find nothing but a voice that laughed. 

     II. Pursuit 

     (first pub. The Fantasy Fan, 2, no. 2 (October 1934), 24.) 

     I held the book beneath my coat, at pains 
     To hide the thing from sight ins uch a place; 
     Hurrying through the ancient harbour lanes 
     With often-turning head and nervous oace. 
     Dull, furtive windows in old tottering brick 
     Peered at me oddly as I hastened by, 
     And thinking what they sheltered, I grew sick 
     For a redeeming glimpse of clear blue sky. 
     No one had seen me take the thing-but still 
     A blank laugh echoes in my whirling head, 
     And I could guess what nighted worlds of ill 
     Lurked in that volume I had coveted. 
     The way grew strange-the walls alike and madding- 
     And ar behind me, unseen feet were padding. 

     III. The Key 

     (first pub. The Fantasy Fan, 2, No. 5 (January 1935), 72.)

     I do not know what windings in the waste 
     Of thos strange sea-lanes brought me home once more 
     But on my porch I trembled, white with haste 
     To get inside and bolt the heavy door 
     I had the book that old the hidden way 
     Across the void and through the space-hung screens 
     That hold the undimensional worlds at bay 
     And keep lost aeons to their own demesnes. 


     At last the key was mine to those vague visions 
     Of sunset spires and twilight woods that boord 
     Dim in the gulfs beyond this earth's precisions 
     Lurking as memories of infinitude 
     The key was mine, but as I sat there mumbling 
     The attic window shook with a faint fumbling. 

     IV. Recognition 

     (first pub. Driftwind, 11, No. 5 (December 1936), 180.)

     The day had come again, when as a child 
     I saw-just once- that hollow of old oaks, 
     Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes 
     The slinking shapes which madness has defiled 
     In that the same-an herbage rank and wild 
     Clings round an altar whose carved signs involve 
     That Nameless One to whom a thousand smokes 
     Rose, aeons gone, from unclean towers up-piled. 


     I saw the body spread on that dank stone, 
     And knew those things which feasted were not men; 
     I knew this strange, grey world was not my own, 
     But Yuggoth, past the starry voids-and then 
     The body shrieked at me with a dead cry, 
     And all too late I knew that it was I! 

     V. Homecoming 

     (first pub. The Fantasy Fan, 2, No. 5 (January 1935), 72)

     The daemon said that he would take me home 
     To the pale, shadowy land I half-recalled 
     As a high place of stair and terrace, walled 
     With marble balustrades that sky-winds comb, 
     While miles below a maze of dome on dome 
     And tower on tower beside a sea lies sprawled. 
     Once more, he told me, I would stand enthralled 
     On those old heights, and hear the far-off foam. 

     All this he promised, and through sunset's gate 
     He swept me, past the lapping lakes of Flame, 
     And red-gold thrones of gods without a name 
     Who shriek in fear at some impending fate 
     Then a black gulf with sea-sounds in the night" 
     "Here was your home," he mocked, "when you had sight!" 

     VI. The Lamp 

     (first pub. Driftwind, 5, No. 5 (March 1931), 16.)

     We found the lamp inside those hollow cliffs 
     Whose chiselled sign no priest in Thebes could read, 
     And from whose caverns frightened hieroglyphs 
     Warned every living creature of earth's breed. 
     No more was there-just that one brazen bowl 
     With traces of a curious oil within; 
     Fretted wtih some obscurely patterned scroll 
     And symbols hinting vaguely of strange sin. 

     Little the fears of forty centuris meant 
     To us as we bore off our slender spoil 
     And when we scanned it in our darkened tent 
     We struck a match to test the ancient oil 
     It blazed-Great God!. . . But the vast shapes we saw 
     In that mad flash have seared our lives with awe. 

     VII. Zaman's Hill 

     (first pub. Driftwind, 9, No. 4 (October 1934), 125)

     The great hill hung close over the old town 
     A precipice against the main street's end 
     Green, tall, and wooded, looking darkly down 
     Upon the steeple at the highway bend 
     Two hundred years the whispers had been heard 
     About what happened on the man-shunned slope 
     Thales of an oddly mangled dear or bird 
     Or of lost boys whose kin had ceased to hope 

     One day the mail-man found no village there 
     Nor were its folks or house seen again 
     People came out of Aylesbury to state 
     Yet they all told the mail-man it was plain 
     That he was mad for saying he had spied 
     The great hill's gluttonous eyes, and jaws stretched wide 

     VIII. The Port 

     (fist pub. Driftwind, 5, No. 3 (November 1930), 36.)

     Ten miles from Arkham I had struck the trail 
     That rides the cliff-edge over Boynton Beach, 
     And hoped that just at asunset I could reach 
     The crest tht looks on Innsmouth in the vale. 
     Far out at sea was a retreating sail 
     White as hard years of ancient winds could bleach 
     But evil with some portent byeond speech 
     So that I did not wave my hand or hail. 

     Sails out of Innsmouth! Echoing old renown 
     Of long-dead times, but now a too-swift night 
     Is closing in, and I have reached the height 
     Whence I so often scan the distant town 
     The spires and roofs are there-but look! The gloom 
     Sinks on dark lanes, as lightless as the tomb! 

     IX. The Courtyard 

     (first pub. Weird Tales, 16, No. 3 (September 1930), 322.)

     It was the city I had known before; 
     The ancient, leprous town where mongrel throngs 
     Chant to strange gods, and beat unhallowed gongs 
     In crypts beneath foul alleys near the shor. 
     The rotting, fish-eyed houses leered at me 
     From where they leaned, drunk and half-animate, 
     As edging through the filth I passed the gate 
     To the black courtyard where the man would be.... 

     The dark walls closed me in, and loud I cursed 
     That ever I had come to such a den, 
     When suddenly a score of windows burst 
     Into wild light, and swarmed with dancing men: 
     Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead- 
     And not a corpse had either hands or head! 

     X. The Pigeon-Flyers 

     (Weird Tales, 39, No. 9 (January 1947), 96.)

     They took me slumming, where gaunt walls of brick 
     Bulge outward with s viscous stored-up evil 
     And twisted faces, thronging foul and thick 
     Wink messages to alien god and devil 
     A million fires were blazing in the streets 
     And from flat roofs a furtive few would fly 
     Bedraggled birds into the yawning sky 
     While hidden drums droned on with measured beats. 

     I knew those fires where brewing monstrous things, 
     And that those birds of space has been Outside- 
     I guessed to what dark planet's crypts they plied 
     and wht they brought from Thog beneath their wings 
     The others laughed-till struck too mute to speak 
     By what they glimpsed in one bird's evil beak. 

     XI. The Well 

     (first pub. The Providence Journal, 102, No. 116 (14 May 1930), 15.)

     Farmer Seth Atwood was past eight when 
     He tried to sink that deep well by his door 
     With only Eb to help him bore and bore 
     We laughed, and hoped he'd soon be sane again 
     And yet, instead, young Eb went crazy, too, 
     So that they shipped him to the county farm 
     Seth bricked up the well-mouth up as tight as glue- 
     Then hacked an artery in his gnarled left arm. 

     After the funeral we felt bound to get 
     Out to that well and rip the bricks away 
     But all we saw were iron handholds set 
     Down a black hole deeper than we could say 
     And yet we put the bricks back-for we found 
     The hole too deep for any line to sound. 

     XII. The Howler 

     (first pub. Driftwind, 7, no. 3 (November 1932), 100.) 

     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. 

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