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 the hero, the Conqueror Worm.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Conqueror Worm

3 Comments

  1. trevor johnston says:

    this poem is about what it says in the poem: the trajedy man. the angels in the poem are crying because there is nothing they can do to stop the trajedy of man. i love this poem because it takes a totally different perspective on human life and death.

  2. queen trixie the piratical says:

    i love this…how can he make words do that? he has such a gift…i loved the play part and the angels…such a wonderful mental picture (well, not wonderful exactly, what with the gore and all, but well-expressed…) it’s one of me favourites…

  3. Craig Lewis says:

    Is this Poem strickly about Witch Hunters or man’s over all misuse of power.

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