The Song of the Mad Minstrel

I am the thorn in the foot, I am the blur in the sight;
I am the worm at the root, I am the thief in the night.
I am the rat in the wall, the leper that leers at the gate;
I am the ghost in the hall, herald of horror and hate.

I am the rust on the corn, I am the smut on the wheat,
Laughing man's labor to scorn, weaving a web for his feet.
I am canker and mildew and blight, danger and death and decay;
The rot of the rain by night, the blast of the sun by day.

I warp and wither with drouth, I work in the swamp's foul yeast;
I bring the black plague from the south and the leprosy in from the east.
I rend from the hemlock boughs wine steeped in the petals of dooms;
Where the fat black serpents drowse I gather the Upas blooms. 

I have plumbed the northern ice for a spell like Frozen lead; 
In lost grey fields of rice, I have learned from Mongol dead. 
Where a bleak black mountainstands I have looted grisly caves; 
I have digged in the desert sands to plunder terrible graves. 

Never the sun goes forth, never the moon glows red, 
But out of the south or the north, I come with the slavering dead.
I come with hideous spells, black chants and ghastly tunes;
I have looted the hideen hells amd plundered the lost black moons.

There was never a king or priest to cheer me by word or look, 
There was never a man or beast in the blood-black ways I took. 
There were crimson gulfs unplumbed, there were black wings over a sea,
There were pits where mad things drummed, and foaming blasphemy.

There were vast ungodly tombs where slimy monsters dreamed; 
There were clouds like blood-drenched plumes where unborn demons screamed.
There were ages dead to Time, and lands lost out of Space;  
There were adders in the slime, and a dim unholy Face. 

Oh, the heart in my breast turned stone, and the brain froze in my skull--
But I won through, I alone, and poured my chalice full 
Of horrors and dooms and spells, black buds and bitter roots--
From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits.

Poem by Robert E. Howard

Used in the game "Adom" © Thomas Biskup,

Visit Andy William's page with all Mad Minstrels quotes.