I have read a few books about fantasy by Lin Carter, and if I remember correctly one of them had a poem by Lin Carter based on the King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.

As most of you should know, The King in Yellow (1895) is a short story collection by Robert W. Chambers. Some of the stories mention a being called The King in Yellow and a fictional play titled The King in Yellow.

One story ("The Mask") quotes these lines from the play:

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

And I remember that one of the lines in the Lin Carter poem I mentioned was something like:

Do not seek to know, nor ask,
what lies beneath the pallid mask.

And I have an idea for a story where a character is asked by members of another species to show their face and, knowing the others would be grossed out, and remembering the Lin Carter poem, replies:

Do not think to know, nor ask,
what is behind my gilded mask.

So I would like to know what book and chapter that poem can be found in.

1 Answer 1


I found it here on page 284 in The Hastur Cycle:

XXXIII. The Candidate

Down the street of monoliths I passes,
The shambling, faceless figure of my Guide
A voiceless thing that beckoned to my side
And to the dreaded Gate I came at last.
Before the silent Guardian I made
The black unhallowed Sacrifice, and spoke
Names at whose sound forgotten echoes woke.
The portals gaped. I entered unafraid.
Fate, or my stars, or some accursed pride
Had brought me here. Naked, I stood alone
And to the Vow before the Elder Throne—
He laughed, and drew His tattered Mantle wide—
O do not seek to learn nor ever ask
What horror hides behind... The Pallid Mask!

It apparently first appeared in Amra, March 1965. (While Amra, as one of the most famous fanzines of all time, is something that one might expect to be able to read online these days, I cannot seem to find it archived anywhere obvious on the World-Wide Web.)


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