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Best Famous Edwin Arlington Robinson Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edwin Arlington Robinson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edwin Arlington Robinson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edwin Arlington Robinson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Edwin Arlington Robinson poems.

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Written by Edwin 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.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

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.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad by the Fire

 Slowly I smoke and hug my knee, 
The while a witless masquerade 
Of things that only children see 
Floats in a mist of light and shade: 
They pass, a flimsy cavalcade, 
And with a weak, remindful glow, 
The falling embers break and fade, 
As one by one the phantoms go.
Then, with a melancholy glee To think where once my fancy strayed, I muse on what the years may be Whose coming tales are all unsaid, Till tongs and shovel, snugly laid Within their shadowed niches, grow By grim degrees to pick and spade, As one by one the phantoms go.
But then, what though the mystic Three Around me ply their merry trade? -- And Charon soon may carry me Across the gloomy Stygian glade? -- Be up, my soul! nor be afraid Of what some unborn year may show; But mind your human debts are paid, As one by one the phantoms go.
ENVOY Life is the game that must be played: This truth at least, good friend, we know; So live and laugh, nor be dismayed As one by one the phantoms go.

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Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad of a Ship

 Down by the flash of the restless water 
The dim White Ship like a white bird lay; 
Laughing at life and the world they sought her, 
And out she swung to the silvering bay.
Then off they flew on their roystering way, And the keen moon fired the light foam flying Up from the flood where the faint stars play, And the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
'T was a king's fair son with a king's fair daughter, And full three hundred beside, they say, -- Revelling on for the lone, cold slaughter So soon to seize them and hide them for aye; But they danced and they drank and their souls grew gay, Nor ever they knew of a ghoul's eye spying Their splendor a flickering phantom to stray Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
Through the mist of a drunken dream they brought her (This wild white bird) for the sea-fiend's prey: The pitiless reef in his hard clutch caught her, And hurled her down where the dead men stay.
A torturing silence of wan dismay -- Shrieks and curses of mad souls dying -- Then down they sank to slumber and sway Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
ENVOY Prince, do you sleep to the sound alway Of the mournful surge and the sea-birds' crying? -- Or does love still shudder and steel still slay, Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying?

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |


 We told of him as one who should have soared 
And seen for us the devastating light 
Whereof there is not either day or night, 
And shared with us the glamour of the Word 
That fell once upon Amos to record
For men at ease in Zion, when the sight 
Of ills obscured aggrieved him and the might 
Of Hamath was a warning of the Lord.
Assured somehow that he would make us wise, Our pleasure was to wait; and our surprise Was hard when we confessed the dry return Of his regret.
For we were still to learn That earth has not a school where we may go For wisdom, or for more than we may know.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad of Dead Friends

 As we the withered ferns 
By the roadway lying, 
Time, the jester, spurns 
All our prayers and prying -- 
All our tears and sighing, 
Sorrow, change, and woe -- 
All our where-and-whying 
For friends that come and go.
Life awakes and burns, Age and death defying, Till at last it learns All but Love is dying; Love's the trade we're plying, God has willed it so; Shrouds are what we're buying For friends that come and go.
Man forever yearns For the thing that's flying.
Everywhere he turns, Men to dust are drying, -- Dust that wanders, eying (With eyes that hardly glow) New faces, dimly spying For friends that come and go.
ENVOY And thus we all are nighing The truth we fear to know: Death will end our crying For friends that come and go.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The Woman and the Wife


"You thought we knew," she said, "but we were wrong.
This we can say, the rest we do not say; Nor do I let you throw yourself away Because you love me.
Let us both be strong, And we shall find in sorrow, before long, Only the price Love ruled that we should pay: The dark is the end of every day, And silence is the end of every song.
"You ask me for one more proof that I speak right, But I can answer only what I know; You look for just one lie to make black white, But I can tell you only what is true-- God never made me for the wife of you.
This we can say,--believe me! .
Tell me so!" II--THE ANNIVERSARY "Give me the truth, whatever it may be.
You thought we knew, but now tell me what you miss: You are the one to tell me what it is-- You are a man, and you have married me.
What is it worth to-night that you can see More marriage in the dream of one dead kiss Than in a thousand years of life like this? Passion has turned the lock.
Pride keeps the key.
"Whatever I have said or left unsaid, Whatever I have done or left undone,-- Tell me.
Tell me the truth .
Are you afraid? Do you think that Love was ever fed with lies But hunger lived thereafter in his eyes? Do you ask me to take moonlight for the sun?"

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |



No, no,—forget your Cricket and your Ant, 
For I shall never set my name to theirs 
That now bespeak the very sons and heirs 
Incarnate of Queen Gossip and King Cant.
The case of Leffingwell is mixed, I grant, And futile Seems the burden that he bears; But are we sounding his forlorn affairs Who brand him parasite and sycophant? I tell you, Leffingwell was more than these; And if he prove a rather sorry knight, What quiverings in the distance of what light May not have lured him with high promises, And then gone down?—He may have been deceived; He may have lied,—he did; and he believed.
II—THE QUICKSTEP The dirge is over, the good work is done, All as he would have had it, and we go; And we who leave him say we do not know How much is ended or how much begun.
So men have said before of many a one; So men may say of us when Time shall throw Such earth as may be needful to bestow On you and me the covering hush we shun.
Well hated, better loved, he played and lost, And left us; and we smile at his arrears; And who are we to know what it all cost, Or what we may have wrung from him, the buyer? The pageant of his failure-laden years Told ruin of high price.
The place was higher.
III—REQUIESCAT We never knew the sorrow or the pain Within him, for he seemed as one asleep— Until he faced us with a dying leap, And with a blast of paramount, profane, And vehement valediction did explain To each of us, in words that we shall keep, Why we were not to wonder or to weep, Or ever dare to wish him back again.
He may be now an amiable shade, With merry fellow-phantoms unafraid Around him—but we do not ask.
We know That he would rise and haunt us horribly, And be with us o’ nights of a certainty.
Did we not hear him when he told us so?

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

George Crabbe

 Give him the darkest inch your shelf allows, 
Hide him in lonely garrets, if you will,— 
But his hard, human pulse is throbbing still 
With the sure strength that fearless truth endows.
In spite of all fine science disavows, Of his plain excellence and stubborn skill There yet remains what fashion cannot kill, Though years have thinned the laurel from his brows.
Whether or not we read him, we can feel From time to time the vigor of his name Against us like a finger for the shame And emptiness of what our souls reveal In books that are as altars where we kneel To consecrate the flicker, not the flame.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The Revealer


He turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion … And the men of the city said unto him, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?—Judges, 14.
The palms of Mammon have disowned The gift of our complacency; The bells of ages have intoned Again their rhythmic irony; And from the shadow, suddenly, ’Mid echoes of decrepit rage, The seer of our necessity Confronts a Tyrian heritage.
Equipped with unobscured intent He smiles with lions at the gate, Acknowledging the compliment Like one familiar with his fate; The lions, having time to wait, Perceive a small cloud in the skies, Whereon they look, disconsolate, With scared, reactionary eyes.
A shadow falls upon the land,— They sniff, and they are like to roar; For they will never understand What they have never seen before.
They march in order to the door, Not knowing the best thing to seek, Nor caring if the gods restore The lost composite of the Greek.
The shadow fades, the light arrives, And ills that were concealed are seen; The combs of long-defended hives Now drip dishonored and unclean; No Nazarite or Nazarene Compels our questioning to prove The difference that is between Dead lions—or the sweet thereof.
But not for lions, live or dead, Except as we are all as one, Is he the world’s accredited Revealer of what we have done; What You and I and Anderson Are still to do is his reward; If we go back when he is gone— There is an Angel with a Sword.
He cannot close again the doors That now are shattered for our sake; He cannot answer for the floors We crowd on, or for walls that shake; He cannot wholly undertake The cure of our immunity; He cannot hold the stars, or make Of seven years a century.
So Time will give us what we earn Who flaunt the handful for the whole, And leave us all that we may learn Who read the surface for the soul; And we’ll be steering to the goal, For we have said so to our sons: When we who ride can pay the toll, Time humors the far-seeing ones.
Down to our nose’s very end We see, and are invincible,— Too vigilant to comprehend The scope of what we cannot sell; But while we seem to know as well As we know dollars, or our skins, The Titan may not always tell Just where the boundary begins.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The Old Kings New Jester

 You that in vain would front the coming order 
With eyes that meet forlornly what they must, 
And only with a furtive recognition 
See dust where there is dust,— 
Be sure you like it always in your faces,
Obscuring your best graces, 
Blinding your speech and sight, 
Before you seek again your dusty places 
Where the old wrong seems right.
Longer ago than cave-men had their changes Our fathers may have slain a son o two, Discouraging a further dialectic Regarding what was new; And after their unstudied admonition Occasional contrition For their old-fashioned ways May have reduced their doubts, and in addition Softened their final days.
Farther away than feet shall ever travel.
Are the vague towers of our unbuilded State; But there are mightier things than we to lead us, That will not let us wait.
And we go on with none to tell us whether Or not we’ve each a tether Determining how fast or how far we go; And it is well, since we must go together, That we are not to know.
If the old wrong and all its injured glamour Haunts you by day and gives your night no peace, You may as well, agreeably and serenely, Give the new wrong its lease; For should you nourish a too fervid yearning For what is not returning, The vicious and unfused ingredient May give you qualms—and one or two concerning The last of your content.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The Pity of the Leaves

 Vengeful across the cold November moors, 
Loud with ancestral shame there came the bleak 
Sad wind that shrieked, and answered with a shriek, 
Reverberant through lonely corridors.
The old man heard it; and he heard, perforce, Words out of lips that were no more to speak— Words of the past that shook the old man’s cheek Like dead, remembered footsteps on old floors.
And then there were the leaves that plagued him so! The brown, thin leaves that on the stones outside Skipped with a freezing whisper.
Now and then They stopped, and stayed there—just to let him know How dead they were; but if the old man cried, They fluttered off like withered souls of men.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Pasa Thalassa Thalassa

 “The sea is everywhere the sea.
” I Gone—faded out of the story, the sea-faring friend I remember? Gone for a decade, they say: never a word or a sign.
Gone with his hard red face that only his laughter could wrinkle, Down where men go to be still, by the old way of the sea.
Never again will he come, with rings in his ears like a pirate, Back to be living and seen, here with his roses and vines; Here where the tenants are shadows and echoes of years uneventful, Memory meets the event, told from afar by the sea.
Smoke that floated and rolled in the twilight away from the chimney Floats and rolls no more.
Wheeling and falling, instead, Down with a twittering flash go the smooth and inscrutable swallows, Down to the place made theirs by the cold work of the sea.
Roses have had their day, and the dusk is on yarrow and wormwood— Dusk that is over the grass, drenched with memorial dew; Trellises lie like bones in a ruin that once was a garden, Swallows have lingered and ceased, shadows and echoes are all.
II Where is he lying to-night, as I turn away down to the valley, Down where the lamps of men tell me the streets are alive? Where shall I ask, and of whom, in the town or on land or on water, News of a time and a place buried alike and with him? Few now remain who may care, nor may they be wiser for caring, Where or what manner the doom, whether by day or by night; Whether in Indian deeps or on flood-laden fields of Atlantis, Or by the roaring Horn, shrouded in silence he lies.
Few now remain who return by the weed-weary path to his cottage, Drawn by the scene as it was—met by the chill and the change; Few are alive who report, and few are alive who remember, More of him now than a name carved somewhere on the sea.
“Where is he lying?” I ask, and the lights in the valley are nearer; Down to the streets I go, down to the murmur of men.
Down to the roar of the sea in a ship may be well for another— Down where he lies to-night, silent, and under the storms.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

The False Gods

 “We are false and evanescent, and aware of our deceit, 
From the straw that is our vitals to the clay that is our feet.
You may serve us if you must, and you shall have your wage of ashes,— Though arrears due thereafter may be hard for you to meet.
“You may swear that we are solid, you may say that we are strong, But we know that we are neither and we say that you are wrong; You may find an easy worship in acclaiming our indulgence, But your large admiration of us now is not for long.
“If your doom is to adore us with a doubt that’s never still, And you pray to see our faces—pray in earnest, and you will.
You may gaze at us and live, and live assured of our confusion: For the False Gods are mortal, and are made for you to kill.
“And you may as well observe, while apprehensively at ease With an Art that’s inorganic and is anything you please, That anon your newest ruin may lie crumbling unregarded, Like an old shrine forgotten in a forest of new trees.
“Howsoever like no other be the mode you may employ, There’s an order in the ages for the ages to enjoy; Though the temples you are shaping and the passions you are singing Are a long way from Athens and a longer way from Troy.
“When we promise more than ever of what never shall arrive, And you seem a little more than ordinarily alive, Make a note that you are sure you understand our obligations— For there’s grief always auditing where two and two are five.
“There was this for us to say and there was this for you to know, Though it humbles and it hurts us when we have to tell you so.
If you doubt the only truth in all our perjured composition, May the True Gods attend you and forget us when we go.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Lost Anchors

 Like a dry fish flung inland far from shore, 
There lived a sailor, warped and ocean-browned, 
Who told of an old vessel, harbor-drowned, 
And out of mind a century before, 
Where divers, on descending to explore 
A legend that had lived its way around 
The world of ships, in the dark hulk had found 
Anchors, which had been seized and seen no more.
Improving a dry leiure to invest Their misadventure with a manifest Analogy that he may read who runs, The sailor made it old as ocean grass-- Telling of much that once had come to pass With him, whose mother should have had no sons.