The Ride of Falume

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The Ride of Falume  (1927) 
by Robert Ervin Howard
First published in Weird Tales, October 1927

Falume of Spain rode forth amain when twilight's crimson fell
To drink a toast with Bahram's ghost in the scarlet land of Hell.
His rowels clashed as swift he dashed along the flaming skies;
The sunset rode at his bridle braid and the moon was in his eyes.
The waves were green with an eerie sheen over the hills of Thule
And the ripples beat to his horse's feet like a serpent in a pool.
On vampire wings the shadow things wheeled round and round his head,
Till he came at last to a kingdom vast in the Land of the Restless Dead.

They thronged about in a grisly rout, they caught at his silver rein;
”Avaunt, foul host! Tell Bahram's ghost Falume has come from Spain!”
Then flame-arrayed rose Bahram's shade: “What would ye have, Falume?”
”Ho, Bahram who on earth I slew where Tagus' waters boom,
Now though I shore your life of yore amid the burning West,
I ride to Hell to bid ye tell where I might ride to rest.
My beard is white and dim my sight and I would fain be gone.
Speak without guile: where lies the isle of mystic Avalon?”

”A league beyond the western wind, a mile beyond the moon,
Where the dim seas roar on an unknown shore and the drifting stars lie strewn;
The lotus buds there scent the woods where the quiet rivers gleam,
And king and knight in the mystic light the ages drowse and dream.”

With sudden bound Falume wheeled round, he fled through the flying wrack
Till he came again to the land of Spain with the sunset at his back.
”No dreams for me, but living free, red wine and battle's roar;
I breast the gales and I ride the trails until I ride no more.”

This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.
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It is not necessarily in the public domain in the United States if published from 1923 to 1977. For a US-applicable version, check {{PD-1996}} and {{PD-URAA-same-year}} for relevant use.