Clay F. Johnson

Writer | Poet | Pianist | sometime Alpinist | hopeless Romanticist



Clay F. Johnson is an amateur pianist, devoted animal lover, and incorrigible reader of Gothic literature and Romantic-era poetry. His writing has been featured in the Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase, nominated for a Rhysling Award, and recently received an honorable mention in The Best Horror of the Year.

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“Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath”
—Ode to a Nightingale

“Though I breathe death with them it will be life
To see them sprawl before me into graves.”
The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream

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“I linger yet with Nature, for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,
I learn’d the language of another world.”

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“One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave…”
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

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“Poetry turns all things to loveliness; it exalts the beauty of that which is most beautiful, and it adds beauty to that which is most deformed; it marries exultation and horror, grief and pleasure, eternity and change; it subdues to union under its light yoke all irreconcilable things. It transmutes all that it touches, and every form moving within the radiance of its presence is changed by wondrous sympathy to an incarnation of the spirit which it breathes: its secret alchemy turns to potable gold the poisonous waters which flow from death through life; it strips the veil of familiarity from the world, and lays bare the naked and sleeping beauty, which is the spirit of its forms.”
—A Defence of Poetry

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“Some spirit shall escape from his ashes, and whisper to me things unfelt before. I am not satisfied to converse only with the generation of men that now happens to subsist; I wish to live in intercourse with the Illustrious Dead of All Ages. I demand the friendship of Zoroaster. Orpheus, and Linus, and Musæus shall be welcome to me. I have a craving and an earnest heart, that can never be contented with anything in this sort, while something more remains to be obtained.”
—Essay on Sepulchres

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“Make them free, and they will quickly become wise and virtuous, as men become more so; for the improvement must be mutual, or the injustice which one half of the human race are obliged to submit to, retorting on their oppressors, the virtue of men will be worm-eaten by the insect whom he keeps under his feet.”
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

“She swallowed the laudanum; her soul was calm—the tempest had subsided—and nothing remained but an eager longing to forget herself—to fly from the anguish she endured to escape from thought—from this hell of disappointment.”
Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman

© 2019 Clay F. Johnson