Treasure Island

Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

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 Woe!

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 seraphs 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,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, 'Man,'
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Thursday, January 19, 2012

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  • Caroline Bulleck (10/1/2012 11:48:00 PM)

    I fell in love with this poem the first time I read it. The imagery, diction, writing style and rhyming scheme he uses is amazing. (Report) Reply

  • Mark Lacharite (1/21/2012 6:01:00 PM)

    How the angels witness man take themselves to play the martyr and the catalyst is always an astounding view to behold! Look....I know you've been dead awhile...lol....but I don't go a day away without a poem of yours in my head! -Mark Lacharite (Report) Reply

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