Selections from

Songs and Sonnets Atlantean

by Donald Sidney-Fryer




From Songs and Sonnets Atlantean.  Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1971.



       "O Ebon-Colored Rose"

       To Clark Ashton Smith

       "Thy Spirit Walks the Sea"

       A Symbol for All Splendor Lost

       To Edmund Spenser

       A Vision of Strange Splendor (from "Minor Chronicles of Atlantis")

       O Beautiful Dark-Amber Eyes of Old

       Sonnets on an Empire of Many Waters  (Selections)

              VII. Atalantessys

              XII. Poseidonis

              XVI. A Letter From Valoth

              XVII. (No, not until the final age of Earth)

       For Master Edmund Spenser His Great Song


From Songs and Sonnets Atlantean: The Second Series (Holicong, PA: Wildside Press, 2003)


       In an Atlantean Bath

       Strength of Dreams


       Our Lady of the Unicorn

       Rêverie Gothique



Minor Chronicles of Atlantis


Translated from the Atlantean of Prince Atlantarion.


Dedicated to Fritz and Jonquil Leiber.



A Vision of Strange Splendor


    1. I dreamed a dream: a million-colored rose unfolded to my view.  Standing on an empty plain beneath an empty sky, I watched both the plain and the sky gradually disappear, and I myself became concentred only to one enormous eye that could see in any directions, an eye that also had the power somehow to apprehend sound, an essence of audient vision somehow suspended in pure space.  But somehow I knew that I lay at the bottom of some innominate abyss.

    2. Of a sudden a great mass of ever-seething flame and smoke uprose, seemingly from nowhere.  With sonorities as of a million thunders, the great mass of smoke and flame, firmly fixed upon the nothingness of the nadir, uncoiled swiftly to the zenith, with lights upon lights upon lights of a strange, septuple splendor.

    3. Anon a weird, half-veiled illuminescence hovered over and out from this outré phenomenon, and suddenly at the top of the great mass of smoke and flame, a rosebud appeared, a rosebud curiously black and white and gray, a rosebud which waxed fuller and fuller, suddenly to burst forth in riotous bloom incredible, with a million petals and with a million colors, filling space as far as the eye could see.

    4. Now this million-colored rose began to expand further and further, again filling space as far as the eye could see.  And anon, deep within the profounds of the million-colored petals, I perceived tiny particles of incandescent matter which I suddenly recognized as innumerable stars around which there circled in unending cycles other stars as well as moons and planets.

    5. Now all these atoms or stars began to circle around the great central eye which, I belatedly noticed, could perceive in all directions at once.  Over and over, the atoms or stars wheeled around the great central eye in a deliberate and pre-measured music that seemed to have no end and no beginning.  And now the splendors of that far-flung rose waxed ever brighter, whit colors and lights never imaged and never to be imagined.

    6. And once again the million-colored rose began to expand further and further, again filling space as far as the eye could see. And somehow I knew that the million-colored rose had reached her uttermost growth, her uttermost bloom.  What an infinity of atoms and stars nestled in her petals!  In that one great expansive jet of light… a resplendent fountainhead or matrix of innumerable and innominate shapes and forms and fantasies… I perceived and understood the essential unity of everyone and everything.

    7. Anon the stars or atoms grew faint and began to fail, and the million-colored rose began to withdraw back upon and into herself.  Then with a suddenness unexpected as it was frightening, the rose burst into great and all-consuming flame. But through the flames I was able still to perceive a rosebud of pristine beauty, a rosebud curiously black and white and gray.  The rosebud vanished and in her place a fiery alpha appeared, endued with incredible splendors.  Anon the million-colored splendors of the alpha changed to a single phosphorescent and compassionate blue, and then the alpha disappeared.  And then I and the eye and the vision become one.  And then I woke.








Copyright © 1971, 2003, 2004 by Donald Sidney-Fryer.  Used by permission.



Donald Sidney-Fryer: Last of the Courtly Poets

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