I fear I may have been misinterpreted because my language was so lax. When I indicated that I would "not go there" with respect to Edwin Arlington Robinson, I meant merely that I would not defend the following two poems, which, while not in my top Ten, are very, very high indeed in my estimation. But I leave it at that. I can't "justify" my liking on literary merit or poetic merit (not because they lack it, but because I simply don't see them in those ways any more, they are too close.) So, without further ado--"Miniver Cheevy" (spelled it incorrectly in prior post) and "Richard Cory."

Edward Arlington Robinson Miniver Cheevy

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

Richard Cory
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Mr. Robinson endeared himself to me as a poet with his remarkable Arthurian Poetry. It may be finer than nearly everything (post Medieval/Renaissance). I would prize only Tennyson's remarkable "Lady of Shalott" above Arlington's quite remarkable "Merlin." If you can find it, highly recommended. (I like long narrative poetry A LOT--it is conceivable that I am the only living fan of Alexander Pope (love almost everything) and John Dryden (in part).)

[Note: correct Edward to Edwin above in response to Dylan's note. Thank you.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 6, 2002 5:17 PM.

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