The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe/Volume 2/The Conqueror Worm

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The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe
Volume II. Poems and Tales

The Conqueror Worm
 

THE CONQUEROR WORM.

 

 

Lo! 'tis a gala night
 Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, he winged, 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
 Invisible Wo!

 

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.

 

Out—out are the lights—out 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.