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'In the Dreamig Past'
But the Hills Were Ancient Then by Robert E. Howard

Reading from pages 9-10 of A Word from the Outer Dark

These six verses of four lines each take the dreamer from a reverie in the present, through the "mist of yesterdays" backward, first depicting Anglos wrestling with the untamed land and then earlier, Spaniards, whose nation's aspirations were defied by the lowly mesquite.

But the Hills Were Ancient Then paints a shadowy word picture of a landscape resisting, testing and shaping the human invader.

Each of the six verses is thematic:

1. life, maintaining cyclic patterns

2. time, and its dislocating effect on the human mind

3. change, in the form of man

4. races, waxing and waning

5. elemental effects on the human form

6. fate and the resistance of the elemental forms to man's will

In many ways But the Hills Were Ancient Then, serves as a thematic guide to Howard's prose. It bears reading before many a Howard hero tale.

Of Lions and Men

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