Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Conqueror Worm” (comparative text)


Texts Compared:

  • 1845-F - RAOP (1845)
  • 1849-J - RAOP-JLG (1849)


[page 27:]



Line-001:  LO! ’tis a gala night

Line-002:  [[indent-2]] Within the lonesome latter years!

Line-003:  An angel throng, bewinged, bedight

Line-004:  [[indent-2]] In veils, and drowned in tears,

Line-005:  Sit in a theatre, to see

Line-006:  [[indent-2]] A play of hopes and fears,

Line-007:  While the orchestra breathes fitfully

Line-008:  [[indent-2]] The music of the spheres.


Line-009:  Mimes, in the form of God on high,

Line-010:  [[indent-2]] Mutter and mumble low,

Line-011:  And hither and thither fly —

Line-012:  [[indent-2]] Mere puppets they, who come and go

Line-013:  At bidding of vast formless things

Line-014:  [[indent-2]] That shift the scenery to and fro,

Line-015:  Flapping from out their Condor wings

Line-016:  [[indent-2]] Invisible Wo!


Line-017:  That motley drama — oh, be sure

Line-018:  [[indent-2]] It shall not be forgot!

Line-019:  With its Phantom chased for evermore,

Line-020:  [[indent-2]] By a crowd that seize it not,

Line-021:  Through a circle that ever returneth in

Line-022:  [[indent-2]] To the self-same spot,

Line-023:  And much of Madness, and more of Sin,

Line-024:  [[indent-2]] And Horror the soul of the plot. [page 28:]


Line-025:  But see, amid the mimic rout

Line-026:  [[indent-2]] A crawling shape intrude!

Line-027:  A blood-red thing that writhes from out

Line-028:  [[indent-2]] The scenic solitude!

Line-029:  It writhes! — it writhes! — with mortal pangs

Line-030:  [[indent-2]] The mimes become its food,

Line-031:  And {{1845-F: the angels // 1849-J: seraphs }} sob at vermin fangs

Line-032:  [[indent-2]] In human gore imbued.


Line-033:  Out — out are the lights — out all!

Line-034:  [[indent-2]] And, over each quivering form,

Line-035:  The curtain, a funeral pall,

Line-036:  [[indent-2]] Comes down with the rush of a storm,

Line-037:  {{1845-F: And // 1849-J: While }} the angels, all pallid and wan,

Line-038:  [[indent-2]] Uprising, unveiling, affirm

Line-039:  That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”

Line-040:  [[indent-2]] And its hero the Conqueror Worm.




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[S:0 - comparative] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The Conqueror Worm (comparative - RAOP-JLGs)