Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Conqueror Worm

     LO! ‘tis 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
        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.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem


From The Works of Edgar Allan Poe in Five Volumes: The Raven Edition (P.F. Collier, 1902)

 

Author


Edgar Allan Poe

Born in 1809, Edgar Allan Poe had a profound impact on American and international literature as an editor, poet, and critic.

Date Published: 2018-07-25

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/conqueror-worm