by Edgar Allen Poe
Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedlight
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
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 the 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---
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the trajedy, "Man,"
And its hero, the conqueror Worm.
This poem was taken from the short story "Ligeia" by Edgar Allen Poe, and
it represents the last words of Ligeia as she died. Suggested reading.