Narcissus

  • A Gigantic Clock of Ebony

    It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

    The chiming of the clock: ebony wood and black pepper, narcissus blossom and tuberose, clanging with dull, heavy opoponax and thick olibanum.

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  • Alabaster Vulva

    White amber and sheer vanilla, orris butter, Italian bergamot, and narcissus.

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  • Cleric

    Rose amber, frankincense, myrrh, champaca flower, Peru balsam, cistus, palisander, cananga, hyssop, and narcissus absolute.

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  • Darkness

    The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
    The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;
    The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
    And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
    Of aid from them — She was the Universe.

    Bottled gloom; the essence of oblivion. Blackest opium and narcissus deepened by myrrh.

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  • Pride

    Vanity in extremis. The scent of rabid hauteur: Moroccan rose and narcissus.

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  • The Midnight Carnival

    There were nine wagons, each draped in black, each drawn by a lean black horse, and each baring barred sides like teeth when the wind blew through the black hangings. The lead wagon was driven by a squat old woman, and it bore signs on its shrouded sides that said in big letters: MOMMY FORTUNA’S MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL. And below, in smaller print: Creatures of night, brought to light.

    Cruelty and confinement, small magics and penny illusions: galbanum, teak, myrrh, narcissus, patchouli, cacao, labdanum, agarwood, lavender, neroli, and black moss.

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  • The Witch Bride

    A fair witch crept to a young man’s side,
    And he kiss’d her and took her for his bride.

    But a Shape came in at the dead of night,
    And fill’d the room with snowy light.

    And he saw how in his arms there lay
    A thing more frightful than mouth may say.

    And he rose in haste, and follow’d the Shape
    Till morning crown’d an eastern cape.

    And he girded himself, and follow’d still
    When sunset sainted the western hill.

    But, mocking and thwarting, clung to his side,
    Weary day!-the foul Witch-Bride.

    (Aw, c’mon, Allingham. Foul is a pretty strong choice of words, dontcha think?)

    Pale and lovely, with eyes belladonna-wide: hemlock blossoms and ghostly nightshade veiled by wisteria, white frankincense, black amber, and narcissus resin.

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