by Robert E. Howard
One slept beneath the branches dim,
Cloaked in the crawling mist,
And Richard Grenville came to him
And plucked him by the wrist.
No nightwind shook the forest deep
Where the shadows of Doom were spread,
And Solomon Kane awoke from sleep
And looked upon the dead.
He spoke in wonder, not in fear:
"How walks a man who died?
Friend of old times, what do ye here,
Long fallen at my side?"
"Rise up, rise up," Sir Richard said,
"The hounds of Doom are free;
The slayers come to take your head
To hang on the ju-ju tree."
"Swift feet press the jungle mud
Where the shadows are grim and stark,
And naked men who pant for blood
Are racing through the dark."
And Solomon rose and bared his sword,
And swift as tongue could tell,
The dark spewed forth a painted horde
Like shadows out of hell.
His pistols thundered in the night,
And in that burst of flame
He saw red eyes with hate alight,
And on the figures came.
His sword was like a cobra's stroke
And death hummed in its tune;
His arm was steel and knotted oak
Beneath the rising moon.
But by him sang another sword,
And a great form roared and thrust,
And dropped like leaves the screaming horde
To writhe in the bloody dust.
Silent as death their charge had been,
Silent as night they fled;
And in the trampled glade was seen
Only the mangled* dead.
And Solomon turned with outstretched hand,
Then halted suddenly,
For no man stood with naked brand
Beneath the moon-lit tree.
(*Editorial correction for meter; REH had "torn", which doesn't fit.)