A Lady's Chamber

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A Lady's Chamber  (1929) 
by Robert Ervin Howard
First published in American Poet, April 1929.
Published under the pen name Patrick Howard.

Orchid, jasmine and heliotrope
Scent the gloom where the dead men grope.

Silver, ruby-eyed leopards crouch
At the carven ends of the silken couch.

A purple mist of a perfume rare
Billows and sways, and weights the air.

The pale blue domes of the ceiling rise
Gemmed and carved like opium skies—
Golden serpents with crystal eyes.

Why should men grow strange and cold,
Like a marble heart in a breast of gold?

Their eyes are ice and they look strange tales,
They carve the mist with their long jade nails.

Orchid, jasmine and heliotrope
Scent the gloom where dead men grope;
They have stabbed their hearts with a golden sword
And hanged themselves with a silken rope.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.
For Class A renewals records (books only) published between 1923 and 1963, check the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database and the Rutgers copyright renewal records.
For other renewal records of publications between 1922 - 1950 see the Pennsylvania copyright records scans.
For all records since 1978, search the U.S. Copyright Office records.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Works published in 1929 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1956 or 1957, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than 31 December(31 December) in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on 1 January 1958(1 January 1958).