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‘As If Night Turned in Her Sleep’
Queen Prezmyra, Chapter 15 of The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison


Pages 206-15

How the Lady Prezmyra discovered to Lord Gro what She would have brought about for Demonland, in which should also appear Her Lord’s yet more Greatness and Advancement: and how Her too Loud Speaking of Her Purpose was the Occasion whereby the Lord Corinius was to learn the sweetness of Bliss Deferred

A professionally writer is supposed to bury his weaker efforts in the middle of a novel. Eddison’s style is not well-suited for flirtation between noble ladies and their suiters. His atmospherics remain excellent and even dream inducing. As the queen and the lesser lady are being courted at Castle Garce, the most fascinating aspect of the bizarre fantasy setting was the flamboys, men grown grey lighting the night-garden trysts of the elite and certain to keep confidence.

Queen Prezmyra is exposed as a character with an actionable agenda and Lord Gro, that most human Goblin, continues to present himself as an ascendant soul in tragic circumstance.

“She smiled, and it seemed as if all the sultry night freshened and sweetened the lady’s mile…”

“…and as they walked Prezmyra sang softly:

He that cannot chuse but love,

Ad strives against it still,

Never shall my fancy move,

For he loves ‘gaynst his will;

Nor he which is all his own,

And can att pleasure chuse;

When I am caught he can be gone,

And when he list refuse.

Not he the loves none but faire,

For such by all are sought;

Nor he that can for foul ones care,

For his Judgement then is naught;

Nor he—“

Prezmyra’s verse are the central aspect of Chapter 15, as she beguiles Gro and in another portion of the evil garden crude Corinius waxes less compromising with his date:

“By all the sweets that ever darkness tasted, thou art mine tonight.”

Son of a Lesser God

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