I'm with Deuce in that I don't think the narrator of "Cimmeria" was intended to be Conan: it's more likely a reincarnation tale in the vein of James Allison and the like. That said, I find something vaguely attractive about the idea that the narrator could be Conan's ghost, wandering cheerlessly through eternity, only vaguely recalling "the name men called me," where "hunts and wars are as shadows."
If it's Conan wandering the lands of the dead for eternity
, then these
lines don't make a lot of sense:How many deaths shall serve to break at last
This heritage which wraps me in the greyApparel of ghosts?
I can understand the Conan-centrism that surrounds all of these arguments to shoehorn Conan into "Cimmeria", but he just doesn't fit, IMO.
What we have is an utterly depressed Conan of Cimmeria who is ALSO a versifier/poet (which makes his attitude toward Rinaldo a little less understandable, IMO). This "Conan of the 'Cimmeria' Poem" also feels trapped by the memories of his previous incarnations and wonders when he can be released, finally, from the endless wheel of incarnation that blackens his soul. Does this
sound like the Conan of Howard's yarns? Not from where I sit. However, it does
sound a bit like Conan's creator, Robert E. Howard.
I've got tons of stuff to quote to back it up, but I'd hope the similarities would be self-evident.
But that's all besides the point: if Howard did intend to link Cimmeria with the Hyborian Age, let alone Conan, it would be retroactively.
Well, I think "Cimmeria" can be looked upon as one of the points where REH's vision of the Hyborian Age began to coalesce. In fact, I think it can be seen as a very cool artifact of when Howard was in a bleak mood, brooding upon his "black Milesian" heritage and then synthesizing that
into what became the "Cimmeria" of the Hyborian Age.
Looking at it that way, we see a more intimate connection between REH and the HA. In addition, we get a glimpse of a Cimmeria long
before Conan's time, which broadens
our overall understanding/knowledge, rather than compressing
it all into a frame that distorts Conan and the Cimmerians of Conan's own era.
Howard had every opportunity to tell Tevis Clyde Smith or Lovecraft that "Cimmeria" was actually about Conan. He did not do so.
My two lunas