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Athertons Gambit

 The Master played the bishop’s pawn, 
For jest, while Atherton looked on; 
The master played this way and that, 
And Atherton, amazed thereat, 
Said “Now I have a thing in view
That will enlighten one or two, 
And make a difference or so 
In what it is they do not know.
” The morning stars together sang And forth a mighty music rang— Not heard by many, save as told Again through magic manifold By such a few as have to play For others, in the Master’s way, The music that the Master made When all the morning stars obeyed.
Atherton played the bishop’s pawn While more than one or two looked on; Atherton played this way and that, And many a friend, amused thereat, Went on about his business Nor cared for Atherton the less; A few stood longer by the game, With Atherton to them the same.
The morning stars are singing still, To crown, to challenge, and to kill; And if perforce there falls a voice On pious ears that have no choice Except to urge an erring hand To wreak its homage on the land, Who of us that is worth his while Will, if he listen, more than smile? Who of us, being what he is, May scoff at others’ ecstasies? However we may shine to-day, More-shining ones are on the way; And so it were not wholly well To be at odds with Azrael,— Nor were it kind of any one To sing the end of Atherton.

Poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson
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