Ebony and Crystal

Preface by George Sterling

Who of us care to be present at the accouchment of the immortal? I believe that we so attend who are first to take this book in our hands. A bold assertion, truly, and one demonstrable only in years remote from these; and -- dust wages no war with dust. But it is one of those things that I should most "like to come back and see."
Because he has lent himself the more innocently to the whispers of his subconscious daemon, and because he has set those murmurs to purer and harder crystal than we others, by so much the longer will the poems of Clark Ashton Smith endure. Here indeed is loot against the forays of moth and rust. Here we shall find none or little of the sentimental fat with which so much of our literature is larded. Rather shall one in Imagination's "mystic mid-region," see elfin rubies burn at his feet, witch-fires glow in the nearer cypresses, and feel upon his brow a wind from the unknown. The brave hunters of fly-specks on Art's cathedral windows will find little here for their trouble, and both the stupid and the over-sophisticated would best stare owlishly and pass by: here are neither kindergartens nor skyscrapers. But let him who is worthy by reason of his clear eye and unjaded heart wander across these borders of beauty and mystery and be glad.

San Francisco, Oct 28th, 1922.

Reprinted in Smith's Selected Poems (Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1971).

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