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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

LIGEIA *

           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 Wo!

           That motley drama! --oh, be sure
              It shall not be forgot!
           With its Phantom chased forever more,
              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 tragedy, "Man,"
              And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

* See The Conqueror Worm

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