The Conqueror Worm
I listened to an Edgar Allan Poe collection on audio book at work this week, performed by Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price. Edgar Allan Poe is kind of like The Cure (stay with me on this one) in that they both have this kind of adolescent reputation as the poets of choice for melodramatic teens. But with the author and the band, revisiting the work proves just as entertaining and moving and even more impressive in retrospect than it was in high school dabbling.
I’ll make an obvious statement and give Poe top billing, though, as his short stories and poems are even better the second or third or fourth time around. Here are some of those great lines that only Edgar Allan Poe can write:
“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore”
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!/Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!”
“Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.”
“He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”
-The Masque of the Red Death