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The Nameless CityBy H. P. Lovecraft
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When I drew nigh the nameless city i knew it to be accursed. Ns was travellingin a parched and terrible sink under the moon, and afar I saw it protruding uncannily abovethe sands as components of a corpse might protrude indigenous an ill-made grave. Fear spoke indigenous the age-wornstones the this hoary survivor the the deluge, this great-grandmother the the eldest pyramid; anda viewless aura repelled me and also bade me retreat native antique and also sinister tricks that no manshould see, and no guy else had ever before dared come see.Remote in the desert that Araby lies the nameless city, crumbling and also inarticulate,its low walls practically hidden by the sands the uncounted ages. That must have actually been thus before thefirst stones the Memphis to be laid, and while the bricks that Babylon were yet unbaked. Over there isno legend so old as to give it a name, or come recall that it was ever before alive; however it is called ofin whispers about campfires and muttered about by grandams in the tents the sheiks, therefore thatall the tribes shun it there is no wholly understanding why. It to be of this location that Abdul Alhazredthe mad poet dreamed on the night prior to he sang his unexplainable couplet:“That is notdead which deserve to eternal lie,And with strange aeons even death maydie.”
I should have known that the Arabs had an excellent reason for shunning the namelesscity, the city said of in weird tales yet seen by no life man, yet ns defied them and wentinto the untrodden waste through my camel. Ns alone have seen it, and also that is why no other facebears such hideous present of fear as mine; why no other male shivers so horribly as soon as the night-windrattles the windows. Once I come upon that in the ghastly stillness of infinite sleep it lookedat me, chilly from the beam of a cold moon amidst the desert’s heat. And also as ns returnedits look i forgot mine triumph in ~ finding it, and stopped still with my camel to wait because that thedawn.For hours I waited, it rotates the east grew grey and the stars faded, and the greyturned come roseal irradiate edged through gold. Ns heard a moaning and saw a storm of sand stirring amongthe neck stones though the sky was clear and the huge reaches of the desert still. Then suddenlyabove the desert’s much rim come the blazing leaf of the sun, seen through the tiny sandstormwhich was passing away, and in mine fevered state ns fancied the from some remote depth therecame a crash the musical steel to hail the fiery disc as Memnon hails that from the financial institutions of theNile. My ear rang and my creative thinking seethed as I led mine camel slowly across the sand to thatunvocal stone place; that place too old for Egypt and also Meroë come remember; that place whichI alone of life men had actually seen.In and out among the shapeless structures of houses and also palaces ns wandered,finding never ever a carving or engraving to tell of those men, if males they were, who constructed thecity and also dwelt therein so lengthy ago. The antiquity of the spot to be unwholesome, and also I longedto encounter some sign or an equipment to prove the the city was indeed fashioned by mankind. Therewere specific proportions and also dimensions in the damages which i did no like. Ns hadwith me countless tools, and also dug much within the walls of the obliterated edifices; yet progresswas slow, and also nothing far-ranging was revealed. When night and also the moon returned I felt a chillwind i m sorry brought brand-new fear, for this reason that ns did not dare to remain in the city. And also as ns went outsidethe antique wall surfaces to sleep, a tiny sighing sandstorm gathered behind me, blowing over the greystones though the moon was bright and also most of the desert still.I awaked just at dawn from a pageant of awful dreams, my ears ringing asfrom some metallic peal. I saw the sunlight peering redly v the critical gusts the a small sandstormthat hovered end the nameless city, and marked the quietness of the remainder of the landscape.Once more I ventured in ~ those brooding ruins that swelled in ~ the sand favor an ogreunder a coverlet, and again dug vainly because that relics of the forgotten race. In ~ noon ns rested, andin the afternoon i spent lot time tracing the walls, and the bygone streets, and the outlinesof the practically vanished buildings. I observed that the city had actually been mighty indeed, and wondered atthe sources of that is greatness. To myself i pictured every the splendours of an er so far-off thatChaldaea could not remind it, and thought that Sarnath the Doomed, the stood in the soil of Mnarwhen mankind was young, and of Ib, the was carven of grey rock before mankind existed.All at as soon as I came upon a ar where the bed-rock rose stark with the sandand developed a low cliff; and also here I experienced with delight what seemed to promise more traces of theantediluvian people. Hewn rudely on the face of the cliff were the unmistakable facades the severalsmall, squat rock homes or temples; who interiors might preserve plenty of secrets of eras tooremote because that calculation, though sandstorms had actually long due to the fact that effaced any kind of carvings which may havebeen outside.Very low and sand-choked were all of the dark apertures close to me, however I clearedone through my spade and crawled through it, carrying a torch to reveal everything mysteries it mighthold. As soon as I was inside I experienced that the cavern was undoubtedly a temple, and beheld plain signs ofthe gyeongju that had lived and worshipped prior to the desert to be a desert. Primitive altars, pillars,and niches, every curiously low, were no absent; and though I experienced no sculptures nor frescoes,there were plenty of singular stones clearly shaped right into symbols by artificial means. The lownessof the chiselled chamber was an extremely strange, because that I might hardly more than kneel upright; however thearea to be so good that mine torch shewed only component at a time. Ns shuddered weird in some of thefar corners; for specific altars and stones suggested forgotten rites that terrible, revolting,and uncertain nature, and made me wonder what path of men might have made and frequentedsuch a temple. Once I had seen all that the place contained, ns crawled out again, avid to findwhat the other temples can yield.Night had actually now approached, however the tangible things I had seen made curiositystronger than fear, so that ns did not flee indigenous the lengthy moon-cast shadows that had dauntedme when very first I observed the nameless city. In the twilight i cleared one more aperture and also with anew torch crawled right into it, finding more vague stones and symbols, despite nothing more definitethan the other temple had actually contained. The room was just as low, yet much less broad, finishing ina very narrow passage crowded with obscure and also cryptical shrines. Around these temples I wasprying as soon as the noise the a wind and of my camel outside damaged through the stillness and also drewme forth to see what could have fearful the beast.The moon was gleaming vividly end the primeval ruins, bright a thick cloudof sand that seemed blown by a solid but diminish wind native some suggest along the cliff aheadof me. I knew it to be this chilly, sandy wind which had disturbed the camel, and was around tolead him to a place of far better shelter when I chanced to glance up and also saw the there to be nowind atop the cliff. This astonished me and made me fearful again, but I automatically recalledthe sudden neighborhood winds I had actually seen and heard before at sunrise and sunset, and also judged that wasa typical thing. I made decision that it came from some rock fissure bring about a cave, and watchedthe troubled sand to trace it to its source; quickly perceiving that it came from the black color orificeof a holy place a long distance south of me, practically out the sight. Versus the throttle sand-cloudI plodded toward this temple, which together I neared it loomed larger than the rest, and also shewed adoorway much less clogged through caked sand. I would certainly have gotten in had not the great force ofthe icy wind almost quenched mine torch. That poured madly the end of the dark door, sighing uncannilyas the ruffled the sand and spread around the weird ruins. Quickly it prospered fainter and the sand grewmore and more still, till finally all was at rest again; however a existence seemed stalking amongthe spectral stones of the city, and also when ns glanced in ~ the moon it appeared to quiver together thoughmirrored in unquiet waters. Ns was an ext afraid 보다 I could explain, but not sufficient to dull mythirst because that wonder; for this reason as shortly as the wind was quite gone ns crossed right into the dark chamber fromwhich it had actually come.This temple, as I had actually fancied indigenous the outside, was larger than one of two people of thoseI had visited before; and was maybe a herbal cavern, because it boring winds from part regionbeyond. Right here I might stand rather upright, however saw the the stones and altars were together low asthose in the other temples. ~ above the walls and roof i beheld because that the first time part traces ofthe photographic art of the old race, curious curling streaks of paint that had nearly fadedor crumbled away; and on 2 of the altars I experienced with increasing excitement a maze the well-fashionedcurvilinear carvings. Together I held my torch aloft it seemed to me that the shape of the roof wastoo continuous to be natural, and also I wondered what the prehistoric cutters of rock had very first workedupon. Their engineering skill must have been vast.Then a brighter flare that the great flame shewed me the for which i hadbeen seeking, the opened to those remoter abysses whence the sudden wind had blown; and also I grewfaint as soon as I experienced that it to be a little and plainly synthetic door chiselled in the solidrock. I thrust my torch within, beholding a black color tunnel through the roof arching short over a roughflight of an extremely small, numerous, and also steeply descending steps. I shall constantly see those stepsin mine dreams, for I concerned learn what lock meant. At the time I hardly knew whether to callthem measures or only foot-holds in a precipitous descent. Mine mind was whirling with mad thoughts,and the words and warnings the Arab prophets seemed to float across the desert indigenous the landsthat men understand to the nameless city that guys dare no know. Yet ns hesitated only a moment beforeadvancing v the portal and commencing to rise cautiously down the steep passage, feetfirst, together though top top a ladder.It is just in the destructive phantasms of medicine or delirium that any kind of other one can have had actually such a descent as mine. The small passage led infinitely down prefer some hideoushaunted well, and the torch i held above my head can not irradiate the unknown depths towards whichI was crawling. I lost track of the hours and forgot to consult my watch, though i was frightenedwhen I believed of the street I should be traversing. There were alters of direction and ofsteepness, and also once I came to a long, low, level passage whereby I had actually to wriggle feet first alongthe rocky floor, holding mine torch at arm’s length beyond my head. The ar was not highenough for kneeling. After that were more of the steep steps, and also I was still scrambling downinterminably once my failing torch passed away out. I execute not think i noticed it at the time, because that whenI did an alert it i was quiet holding the high above me together if it to be ablaze. I was quite unbalancedwith that instinct for the strange and also the unknown which has actually made me a wanderer upon earth anda haunter the far, ancient, and also forbidden places.In the darkness there flashed before my mind fragments of mine cherished treasuryof daemoniac lore; sentences from Alhazred the mad Arab, paragraphs native the apocryphal nightmaresof Damascius, and infamous lines native the delirious photo du Monde that Gauthier de Metz.I repetitive queer extracts, and also muttered of Afrasiab and also the daemons the floated with him downthe Oxus; later on chanting over and over again a expression from one of Lord Dunsany’s tales—“theunreverberate blackness the the abyss”. As soon as when the descent flourished amazingly steep ns recitedsomething in sing-song from cutting board Moore till I feared to recite more:
“A reservoir that darkness, blackAs witches’ cauldrons are, as soon as fill’dWith moon-drugs in th’ eclipse distill’d.Leaning to look if foot might passDown thro’ the chasm, ns saw, beneath,As far as vision could explore,The jetty sides as smooth together glass,Looking as if simply varnish’d o’erWith the dark pitch the Sea the DeathThrows out upon its slimy shore.”
Time had actually quite end to exist as soon as my feet again felt a level floor, and Ifound myself in a place slightly greater than the rooms in the two smaller temples currently so incalculablyfar above my head. I can not fairly stand, however could kneel upright, and in the dark ns shuffledand crept hither and also thither at random. I shortly knew that I remained in a narrow passage who wallswere inside wall with situations of wood having actually glass fronts. As in that Palaeozoic and abysmal place Ifelt that such points as sleek wood and glass i shuddered at the feasible implications. Thecases were apparently ranged along each next of the i at regular intervals, and also were oblongand horizontal, hideously favor coffins in shape and size. When I make the efforts to move two or threefor further examination, I uncovered they to be firmly fastened.I witnessed that the passage was a lengthy one, so floundered ahead rapidly in a creepingrun that would have seemed horrible had any type of eye watched me in the blackness; cross from sideto side occasionally to feel of mine surroundings and also be certain the walls and also rows of instances stillstretched on. Male is so offered to thinking visually the I nearly forgot the darkness and picturedthe endless corridor the wood and also glass in its low-studded monotony together though I observed it. And also thenin a minute of indescribable emotion ns did see it.Just when my sophisticated merged right into real sight I cannot tell; however there came a gradualglow ahead, and also all at as soon as I knew that I experienced the dim outlines that the corridor and the cases,revealed by part unknown subterranean phosphorescence. For a tiny while all was specifically asI had imagined it, due to the fact that the glow was an extremely faint; but as ns mechanically kept on stumbling aheadinto the more powerful light i realised the my an intricate had been but feeble. This room was no relicof crudity favor the holy places in the city above, yet a monument that the many magnificent and exoticart. Rich, vivid, and daringly great designs and pictures formed a consistent scheme ofmural painting whose lines and also colours were past description. The cases were that a strangegolden wood, through fronts the exquisite glass, and also contained the mummified develops of creaturesoutreaching in grotesqueness the many chaotic desires of man.To convey any type of idea of these monstrosities is impossible. They to be of the reptilekind, v body lines arguing sometimes the crocodile, sometimes the seal, but more oftennothing the which either the naturalist or the palaeontologist ever before heard. In dimension they approximateda tiny man, and also their fore foot bore delicate and also evidently versatile feet curiously choose humanhands and fingers. However strangest of all were their heads, which presented a contour violatingall known biological principles. To nothing have the right to such points be fine compared—in one flashI believed of comparisons as varied as the cat, the bulldog, the mythic Satyr, and also the humanbeing. No Jove himself had so colossal and protuberant a forehead, however the horns and the noselessnessand the alligator-like jaw placed the things external all created categories. I disputed fora time on the truth of the mummies, fifty percent suspecting they were synthetic idols; however soon decidedthey were without doubt some palaeogean species which had lived when the nameless city was alive. Tocrown their grotesqueness, most of them were gorgeously enrobed in the costliest of fabrics,and lavishly laden with ornaments of gold, jewels, and unknown shining metals.The prestige of this crawling creatures must have been vast, for they heldfirst place amongst the wild design on the frescoed walls and ceiling. With matchless ability hadthe artist drawn them in a civilization of your own, inside they had cities and gardens fashionedto fit their dimensions; and I might not however think the their pictured history was allegorical,perhaps shewing the progression of the gyeongju that worshipped them. This creatures, I claimed to myself,were to the guys of the nameless city what the she-wolf to be to Rome, or some totem-beast is toa people of Indians.Holding this view, I thought I could trace about a wonderful epos of thenameless city; the story of a mighty sea-coast metropolis that ruled the world prior to Africarose the end of the waves, and also of its struggles as the sea shrank away, and also the desert crept intothe productive valley that held it. I observed its wars and also triumphs, that is troubles and defeats, andafterward its terrible fight versus the desert once thousands the its people—here representedin allegory by the grotesque reptiles—were moved to chisel their method down v therocks in part marvellous manner to another world whereof their prophets had told them. The wasall vividly weird and also realistic, and also its connexion through the awesome lower I had actually made was unmistakable.I also recognised the passages.As i crept along the corridor toward the brighter light ns saw later stagesof the painted epic—the leave-taking the the race that had actually dwelt in the nameless city andthe valley approximately for ten million years; the gyeongju whose souls shrank native quitting scenes theirbodies had actually known therefore long, where they had settled as nomads in the earth’s youth, hewingin the virgin rock those primal shrines at i beg your pardon they never ceased come worship. Currently that thelight was far better I studied the pictures an ext closely, and, remembering that the strange reptilesmust stand for the unknown men, pondered ~ above the custom-mades of the nameless city. Numerous thingswere peculiar and inexplicable. The civilisation, which had a created alphabet, had actually seeminglyrisen come a greater order 보다 those immeasurably later on civilisations that Egypt and also Chaldaea, yetthere to be curious omissions. I could, for example, find no pictures to represent deaths orfuneral customs, conserve such as were concerned wars, violence, and plagues; and also I wondered atthe reticence shewn concerning natural death. The was as though suitable of earthly immortalityhad been fostered as a cheering illusion.Still nearer the finish of the passage to be painted scenes of the utmost picturesquenessand extravagance; contrasted see of the nameless city in its desertion and growing ruin, andof the strange brand-new realm or paradise come which the race had actually hewed its method through the stone.In this views the city and also the desert valley were shewn constantly by moonlight, a gold nimbushovering over the fallen walls and half revealing the splendid perfection of former times, shewnspectrally and elusively by the artist. The paradisal scene were nearly too extravagant tobe believed; depicting a hidden human being of eternal work filled with glorious cities and etherealhills and valleys. In ~ the very last I thought I saw indicators of an creative anti-climax. The paintingswere less skilful, and much much more bizarre than even the wildest the the previously scenes. Castle seemedto record a slow decadence the the old stock, coupled through a cultivation ferocity toward theoutside people from which that was pushed by the desert. The creates of the people—always representedby the sacred reptiles—appeared come be progressively wasting away, though their heart as shewnhovering about the ruins by moonlight got in proportion. Emaciated priests, shown asreptiles in ornate robes, cursed the top air and all who breathed it; and one damaging finalscene shewed a primitive-looking man, maybe a pioneer of ancient Irem, the City that Pillars,torn to piece by members that the elder race. Ns remembered just how the Arabs fear the nameless city,and was glad that beyond this place the grey walls and ceiling to be bare.As I regarded the pageant that mural history I had actually approached very closely theend that the low-ceiled hall, and also was mindful of a great gate through which came all of the illuminatingphosphorescence. Creeping as much as it, i cried great in transcendent amazement at what put beyond;for rather of other and also brighter chambers over there was only an illimitable void that uniform radiance,such as one might fancy when gazing under from the top of mountain Everest upon a sea of sunlitmist. Behind me to be a passage so cramped the I could not was standing upright in it; before me wasan infinity of subterranean effulgence.Reaching under from the passage right into the abyss was the head of a steep flightof steps—small countless steps favor those of the black color passages I had actually traversed—butafter a few feet the glow vapours hidden everything. Swung back open versus the left-handwall the the passage to be a enormous door of brass, exceptionally thick and also decorated v fantasticbas-reliefs, which could if closed shut the entirety inner world of light far from the vaultsand passages of rock. Ns looked in ~ the steps, and for the nonce dared not shot them. I touchedthe open brass door, and could not relocate it. Then i sank susceptible to the stone floor, mine mind aflamewith prodigious reflect which not also a death-like exhaustion can banish.As i lay still with closed eyes, cost-free to ponder, many things I had actually lightlynoted in the frescoes came back to me with new and damaging significance—scenes representingthe nameless city in its heyday, the vegetation the the valley approximately it, and also the distant landswith i beg your pardon its merchants traded. The allegory of the crawling creatures puzzled me by its universalprominence, and I wondered the it have to be so carefully followed in a pictured background of suchimportance. In the frescoes the nameless city had actually been shewn in proportions equipment to the reptiles.I wondered what its genuine proportions and magnificence had actually been, and also reflected a moment on certainoddities I had actually noticed in the ruins. I believed curiously that the lowness that the primal templesand of the underground corridor, which to be doubtless hewn for this reason out of deference to the reptiledeities there honoured; despite it perforce decreased the worshippers come crawling. Maybe thevery rites had associated a crawling in imitation of the creatures. No religious theory, however,could easily define why the level i in that awesome descent must be as low as the temples—orlower, because one could not even kneel in it. As I thought of the crawling creatures, whose hideousmummified develops were for this reason close come me, ns felt a brand-new throb of fear. Psychological associations space curious,and ns shrank from the idea that other than for the poor primitive male torn to piece in the lastpainting, mine to be the just human form amidst the countless relics and symbols that primordial life.But as always in mine strange and roving existence, wonder shortly drove out fear;for the luminous abyss and also what it might contain gift a problem worthy that the greatestexplorer. That a weird world of an enig lay far down that trip of peculiarly little steps Icould no doubt, and I hope to discover there those human memorials i m sorry the painted corridorhad failed to give. The frescoes had actually pictured unbelievable cities, hills, and valleys in thislower realm, and my an intricate dwelt top top the rich and colossal ruins that awaited me.My fears, indeed, came to the past rather than the future. Not also the physicalhorror that my place in that cramped corridor that dead reptiles and also antediluvian frescoes, milesbelow the human being I knew and also faced by one more world that eerie light and also mist, could complement the lethaldread ns felt at the abysmal antiquity of the scene and its soul. One ancientness so vast thatmeasurement is feeble appeared to leer down from the primal stones and rock-hewn temples in thenameless city, while the an extremely latest that the astounding maps in the frescoes shewed seas andcontinents the man has actually forgotten, with only here and there some vaguely familiar outline. Ofwhat could have happened in the geological aeons since the paints ceased and the death-hatingrace resentfully surrendered to decay, no man can say. Life had once teemed in these cavernsand in the luminous realm beyond; currently I to be alone with vivid relics, and also I trembled come thinkof the many ages with which this relics had kept a silent and deserted vigil.Suddenly over there came one more burst of that acute fear which had intermittentlyseized me ever due to the fact that I very first saw the disastrous valley and the nameless city under a cold moon,and despite my exhaustion I discovered myself beginning frantically come a sitting posture and also gazingback along the black color corridor towards the tunnels that rose to the outer world. Mine sensationswere much like those which had actually made me shun the nameless city in ~ night, and were together inexplicableas they to be poignant. In an additional moment, however, I obtained a still better shock in the formof a identify sound—the an initial which had damaged the utter silence of this tomb-like depths.It to be a deep, low moaning, together of a remote throng that condemned spirits, and also came from the directionin which ns was staring. Its volume promptly grew, till soon it reverberated frightfully throughthe short passage, and also at the exact same time ns became mindful of an enhancing draught that cold air,likewise flow from the tunnels and also the city above. The touch that this air appeared to restoremy balance, for i instantly recalled the sudden gusts which had actually risen around the mouth the theabyss every sunset and also sunrise, one of which had indeed served to disclose the hidden tunnels tome. Ns looked in ~ my watch and saw the sunrise to be near, for this reason braced myself to resist the galewhich was sweeping down to its cavern house as it had actually swept forth at evening. My fear again wanedlow, due to the fact that a herbal phenomenon has tendency to dispel broodings over the unknown.More and an ext madly poured the shrieking, moaning night-wind right into that gulfof the inner earth. Ns dropped at risk again and also clutched vainly at the floor for are afraid of beingswept bodily through the open gate into the phosphorescent abyss. Such rage I had not expected,and together I grew conscious of an actual slipping that my kind toward the abyss ns was beset by a thousandnew terrors of apprehension and also imagination. The malignancy the the blast awakened incrediblefancies; once much more I contrasted myself shudderingly to the just other human being image in the frightfulcorridor, the male who was torn to piece by the nameless race, because that in the fiendish clawing ofthe swirling currents there appeared to abide a vindictive fury all the stronger because it waslargely impotent. I think i screamed frantically close to the last—I was almost mad—butif ns did so my cries were shed in the hell-born babel of the howling wind-wraiths. Ns tried tocrawl against the murderous invisible torrent, but I could not also hold my own as i was pushedslowly and inexorably towards the unknown world. Finally reason must have wholly snapped, forI dropped to babbling over and over the unexplainable couplet that the mad Arab Alhazred, that dreamedof the nameless city:
“That is notdead which have the right to eternal lie,And with strange aeons even death maydie.”
Only the grim brooding desert gods know what really took place—what indescribablestruggles and also scrambles in the dark I endured or what Abaddon guided me earlier to life, whereI must always remember and shiver in the night-wind it rotates oblivion—or worse—claimsme. Monstrous, unnatural, colossal, was the thing—too far beyond all the concepts of manto be thought except in the quiet damnable tiny hours once one can not sleep.I have actually said the the rage of the rushing blast was infernal—cacodaemoniacal—andthat the voices to be hideous through the pent-up viciousness the desolate eternities.

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Presentlythose voices, while tho chaotic before me, appeared to my beating brain to take it articulate formbehind me; and also down over there in the grave of unnumbered aeon-dead antiquities, leagues listed below thedawn-lit human being of men, i heard the ghastly cursing and snarling of strange-tongued fiends. Turning,I witnessed outlined versus the luminous aether of the abyss what might not it is in seen versus the duskof the corridor—a nightmare horde the rushing devils; hate-distorted, grotesquely panoplied,half-transparent; devils the a gyeongju no man could mistake—the crawling reptiles of the namelesscity.And together the wind died away i was plunged right into the ghoul-peopled blackness ofearth’s bowels; for behind the last of the creatures the great brazen door clanged shutwith a deafening peal the metallic music whose reverberations swelled the end to the remote worldto hail the increasing sun together Memnon hails that from the financial institutions of the Nile.