Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Conqueror Worm” (Text-03b), Saturday Museum (Philadelphia), March 4, 1843, p. 1, col. 6


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


­[page 1, column 6, continued:]

THE CONQUEROR WORM.

Lo! ’tis a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!

A mystic throng, bewing’d, bedight

In veils, and drown’d 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 chas’d forevermore,

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,”

Its hero the Conqueror Worm.


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


Notes:

This poem is quoted as part of a biographical article on Poe. (The present version of the poem differs from the February 25, 1843 text only in the capitalization of “phantom” in the third stanza.)

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

[S:1 - PSM, 1843 (photocopy)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The Conqueror Worm (Text-03b)