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Short poem

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)


              1There is a drear and lonely tract of hell
              2From all the common gloom removed afar:
              3A flat, sad land it is, where shadows are,
              4Whose lorn estate my verse may never tell.
              5I walked among them and I knew them well:
              6Men I had slandered on life's little star
              7For churls and sluggards; and I knew the scar
              8Upon their brows of woe ineffable.

              9But as I went majestic on my way,
            10Into the dark they vanished, one by one,
            11Till, with a shaft of God's eternal day,
            12The dream of all my glory was undone,--
            13And, with a fool's importunate dismay,
            14I heard the dead men singing in the sun.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems, with an introduction by John Drinkwater (London: Cecil Palmer, 1922): 97. PS 3535 O25A17 1922 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 16 June 1892
Publication date note: The Harvard Advocate (June 16, 1892): 122.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/3

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdcd

Other poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson