Cassilda is first brought to our attention through her song at the beginning of Robert W. Chambers' book The King In Yellow, as she sings a song that gives the first hints of mysterious Carcosa, in particular the multiple suns and moons, the black stars, the lake, the Hyades and the King In Yellow himself.
It is referenced in the title of the story Cassilda's Song.
Cassilda's Song Edit
- Along the shore the cloud waves break,
- The twin suns sink behind* the lake,
- The shadows lengthenIn Carcosa.
- Strange is the night where black stars rise,
- And strange moons circle through the skies
- But stranger still isLost Carcosa.
- Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
- Where flap the tatters of the King,
- Must die unheard inDim Carcosa.
- Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
- Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
- Shall dry and die inLost Carcosa.
* The original 1895 edition and most subsequent editions have the sun sinking behind the lake, but some recent editions have it sinking beneath it. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown, although it appears to have originated with Project Gutenberg (thanks to Graeme Phillips for discovering that!). Make of it what you will...
Presence in the Play Edit
The song is part of Act 1, Scene 2 of the play, although it is unclear whether it falls before or after the other quoted section of that scene. A similar poem opens the story The Yellow Sign: "Let the red dawn surmise / What we shall do, / When this blue starlight dies / And all is through". Whether it is part of the play or not, is unclear. James Blish moved it to the Second Act (see More Light).
The song has been recorded (as either Cassilda's Song or Dim Carcosa) by the following artists: