The Quest of Iranon
H. P. Lovecraft
Written on Feb 28, 1921
Published in July through August of 1935
The Quest of Iranon
Into the granite city of Teloth wandered the youth, vine-crowned, his yellow hair glistening with myrrh
and his purple robe torn with briers of the mountain Sidrak that lies across the antique bridge of stone.
The men of Teloth are dark and stern, and dwell in square houses, and with frowns they asked the
stranger whence he had come and what were his name and fortune. So the youth answered:
"I am Iranon, and come from Aira, a far city that I recall only dimly but seek to find again. I am a
singer of songs that I learned in the far city, and my calling is to make beauty with the things
remembered of childhood. My wealth is in little memories and dreams, and in hopes that I sing in
gardens when the moon is tender and the west wind stirs the lotus-buds."
When the men of Teloth heard these things they whispered to one another; for though in the granite
city there is no laughter or song, the stern men sometimes look to the Karthian hills in the spring and
think of the lutes of distant Oonai whereof travellers have told. And thinking thus, they bade the
stranger stay and sing in the square before the Tower of Mlin, though they liked not the colour of his
tattered robe, nor the myrrh in his hair, nor his chaplet of vine-leaves, nor the youth in his golden voice.
At evening Iranon sang, and while he sang an old man prayed and a blind man said he saw a nimbus
over the singer's head. But most of the men of Teloth yawned, and some laughed and some went to
sleep; for Iranon told nothing useful, singing only his memories, his dreams, and his hopes.
"I remember the twilight, the moon, and soft songs, and the window where I was rocked to sleep. And
through the window was the street where the golden lights came, and where the shadows danced on
houses of marble. I remember the square of moonlight on the floor, that was not like any other light,
and the visions that danced on the moonbeams when my mother sang to me. And too, I remember the
sun of morning bright above the many-coloured hills in summer, and the sweetness of flowers borne on
the south wind that made the trees sing.
"Oh Aira, city of marble and beryl, how many are thy beauties! How I loved the warm and fragrant
groves across the hyline Nithra, and the falls of the tiny Kra that flowed though the verdant valley! In
those groves and in the vale the children wove wreathes for one another, and at dusk I dreamed strange
dreams under the yath-trees on the mountain as I saw below me the lights of the city, and the curving
Nithra reflecting a ribbon of stars.
"And in the city were the palaces of veined and tinted marble, with golden domes and painted walls,
and green gardens with cerulean pools and crystal fountains. Often I played in the gardens and waded