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


Texts Represented:

  • 1843-A - Graham’s Magazine (January 1843)
  • 1843-B1 - Saturday Museum (February 28, 1843)
  • 1843-B2 - Saturday Museum (February 28, 1843)
  • 1845-C - New World (February 15, 1845)
  • 1845-D - Broadway Journal (May 24, 1845)
  • 1845-F - RAOP (1845)
  • 1847-H - The Poets and Poetry of America (1847)
  • 1849-J - RAOP-JLG (1849)








Line-001:  LO! {{1843-A: ’t is // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2 // 1845-C // 1845-D // 1845-F // 1847-H // 1849-J: ’tis }} a gala night

Line-002:  [[indent-2]] Within the lonesome latter years {{1843-A:// 1843-B1 // 1843-B2 // 1845-C // 1845-D // 1845-F // 1847-H // 1849-J: ! }}

Line-003:  {{1843-A // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2: A mystic // 1845-C: An angel 1843-A // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2: A mystic // 1845-C: An angel }} throng, {{1843-A: bewinged // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2: bewing’d }} , bedight

Line-004:  [[indent-2]] In veils and {{1843-A: drowned // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2 // 1845-C: drown’d }} 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 {{1843-A: shadowy // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2 // 1845-C // 1845-D // 1845-F // 1847-H // 1849-J: 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 {{1843-A: shall // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2: shall }} not be forgot!

Line-019:  With its {{1843-A: Phantom // 1843-B1: phantom // 1843-B2: Phantom }} chased forevermore,

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.


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 the angels 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 {{1843-A: dying // 1843-B1 // 1843-B2 // 1845-C // 1845-D // 1845-F // 1847-H // 1849-J: quivering }} form,

Line-035:  The curtain, a funeral pall,

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

Line-037:  And the seraphs, all haggard and wan,

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

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

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




For an explanation of the formatting used in this comparative text, see editorial policies and methods. This format is very much an experiment, particularly for poetry.


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