Gates of Horn and Ivory - English Writing

English Writing

The gates of horn and ivory appear in the following notable English written works:

  • Edmund Spenser's epic poem "The Faery Queene" (1590, English) in book 1, stanzas XL and XLIV, in reference to a false dream being brought to the hero (Prince Arthur/the Knight of the Red Crosse).
  • E. M. Forster's short story The Other Side of the Hedge. The reference from Forster comes when the main character of the story observes the two gates; The Other Side of the Hedge is usually read as a metaphor of death and Heaven.
  • T.S. Eliot's poem "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," the line "And Sweeney guards the horned gate" is likewise a reference to this image.
  • Eliot's poem Ash-Wednesday. The lines "And the blind eye creates / The empty forms between the ivory gates" similarly refer to this concept.
  • William Empson's poem 'Letter III': '...offspring of Heaven first born, | Earth's terra firma, the Hell-Gate of Horn'
  • H. P. Lovecraft's story, "The Doom that Came to Sarnath," as a set of magnificent ivory gates, carved from one piece of ivory stood at the entrance of a city of vain humans, which seems to be taken from Lord Dunsany's story "The Idle Days on the Yann". It is also mentioned as a passage to the realm of hallucinations in Lovecraft's "Celephaïs."
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's novel A Wizard of Earthsea
  • Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman
  • Robert Holdstock's novel Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn. In the Holdstock novel, the main character grapples with a traumatic event that has two very different manifestations, one true and one false.
  • Derek Mahon's poem "Homage to Malcolm Lowry". "Lighting-blind, you, tempest-torn / At the poles of our condition, did not confuse / The Gates of Ivory with the Gates of Horn."
  • Margaret Drabble's novel The Gates of Ivory
  • W.H. Auden's poem "Horae Canonicae"

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