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‘I Have Sought No Other Lover’
Adventure by Robert E. Howard, reading from pages 26-7 of A Word from the Outer Dark

I have come across this poem for the first time in my life, after having been involved for a year in the telling of a fantasy tale about a man beckoned into peril by the specter of a beautiful woman in the sky, waxing seductive at dusk and abandoning him like a jilted lover at dawn, his actionist compass through the midnight hours.

And here, in a Howard poem, I eerily find very like lines to mine. I surmise that this is because Howard and I share the same heroes, the men [like Grenville 1] who expanded the British Empire [civilization] because they hated dwelling in its innards and sought the unexplored world [barbarism] leading the way for that which they hated to follow them into the various broken paradises they sought out. Likewise, the pathfinders and trail-blazers and mountain men of America, haunt us both, having sought the primal people on the fringes of civilization as an act of escape, only to pull civilization after them like a bed cloth of chains catching the shoulders of some heathen god as he turns restlessly in his sleep, snaring the world in his greatest fear, in the throws of his nightmare slumber.

Below is the line that will resonate most for the fans of Conan and Kane:

“Harked to the shadowy jungle, where it

Brooded, bestial chin on midnight hand, like

A sullen giant of darkness.”

In the 21 extended lines of Adventure, Robert E. Howard expresses Man’s ages old wanderlust in terms of a love affair with an astral enchantress—at one point likened to Circe, and throughout associated with bestial peril, as the pets of this goddess of outward-striving and also with god-like elements, such as mountains, who appear as Her mute brothers and consorts. The essence of Adventure is most reflective, in terms of Howard’s masterworks, in the Kane story, Red Shadows, the Conan stories The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Queen of the Black Coast and the Kirby Buckner yarn Black Canaan. I regard Adventure as the poetic seedbed of much of Howard’s most telling work.


Reverent Chandler: The Saga of Fend

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