Four Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Song Cycle by John Woods Duke (1899 - 1984)

Word count: 0

1. Richard Cory [sung text checked 1 time]

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 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.

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2. Miniver Cheevy (A satire in the form of variations) [sung text checked 1 time]

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean when 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 mediaeval 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.

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3. Luke Havergal [sung text checked 1 time]

Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal,
There where the vines cling crimson on the wall,
And in the twilight wait for what will come. 
The leaves will whisper there of her, and some,
Like flying words, will strike you as they fall;
But go, and if you listen she will call. 
[Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal --
Luke Havergal.]1 

[ ... ]
Out of a grave I come to tell you this, Out of a grave I come to quench the kiss That flames upon your forehead with a glow That blinds you to the way that you must go. Yes, there is yet one way to where she is, Bitter, but one that faith may never miss. [Out of a grave I come to tell you this -- To tell you this.]1 There is the western gate, Luke Havergal, There are the crimson leaves upon the wall. Go, for the winds are tearing them away, -- Nor think to riddle the dead words they say, [Nor any more to feel them as they fall;]1 But go, and if you trust her she will call. There is the western gate, Luke Havergal -- [Luke Havergal]1.

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1 omitted by Duke.

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4. Calvary [sung text checked 1 time]

Friendless and faint, with martyred steps and slow, 
Faint for the flesh, but for the spirit free, 
Stung by the mob that came to see the show, 
The Master toiled along to Calvary; 
We gibed him, as he went, with houndish glee, 
Till his dimmed eyes for us did overflow; 
We cursed his vengeless hands thrice wretchedly, -- 
And this was nineteen hundred years ago. 

But after nineteen hundred years the shame 
Still clings, and we have not made good the loss 
That outraged faith has entered in his name. 
Ah, when shall come love's courage to be strong! 
Tell me, O Lord -- tell me, O Lord, how long 
Are we to keep Christ writhing on the cross!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]