- “Psychopompos: A Tale in Rhyme“
- Poem (310 lines); begun in late 1917 but not completed until the summer of 1918. First published in Vagrant(October 1919); rpt. WT(September 1937).The title means “Conveyer of souls [i.e., to Hades],” a somewhat peculiar title for a poem about werewolves. The story concerns Sieur and Dame de Blois, who seem merely to be reclusive nobles but are in fact werewolves. When a citizen kills Dame de Blois (in the form of a snake), the Sieur besieges the house of his wife’s murderer with a band of other wolves, but he is himself killed. HPL apparently was influenced by Winifred Virginia Jackson’s poem “Insomnia” ( Conservative, October 1916) in the two quatrains that open the poem. The final two lines as originally written —“For Sieur de Blois (the old wife’s tale is through)/Was lost eternally to mortal view”—were changed at the instigation of John Ravenor Bullen of the Transatlantic Circulator, who maintained that “through” as used here was impermissibly colloquial (see MW156). HPL included the work in lists of his fiction.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.