Lo! ’tis a gala night
Within the lonesome lat! er 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
That motleu drama! – oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With it’s Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that size 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 becomes 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 a rush of a storm –
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
Tha the play is the tragedy, ‚Man’,
And its hero, the conqueror Worm.