Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)|
THE CONQUEROR WORM.
LO! 't is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
That motley drama!oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin
And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout,
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!it writhes!with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Outout are the lightsout all!
And over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
Originally published for the January 1843 issue of Graham's Magazine,
The Conqueror Worm can be found in:
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe. New York:
J.S. Redfield, 1858.
Poe, Edgar Allan. Complete Poems. Thomas Ollive Mabbot, ed. Urbana, IL:
University of Illinois Press, 2000.