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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 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 angels 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.
The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
  And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
  And the harpies of upper air,
  That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
  Never shone in the sunset's gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
  Where the rivers of madness stream
  Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind blows through the rows of sheaves
  In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
  And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
  For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
  That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral power
  Spreads sleep o'er the cosmic throne,
  And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
  That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap *** in the pallid ray,
  Sprung out of the tomb's black maw
  To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
  The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
  Shall some day be with the rest,
  And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
  And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
  Of horror and death are penned,
  For the hounds of Time to rend.

— The End —