Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Edwin Arlington Robinson

American Poet who won three Pulitzer Prizes, known for his poem "Richard Cory"

"The world is not a "prison house" but a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell god with the wrong blocks."

"Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take, the larger kind we feel for what we give."

"Are we no greater than the noise we make along one blind atomic pilgrimage whereon by crass chance billeted we go because our brains and bones and cartilage will have it so?"

"We cannot know how much we learn from those who never will return, until a flash of unforeseen remembrance falls on what has been."

"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. "

"A thousand golden sheaves were lying there, shining and still, but not for long to stay— as if a thousand girls with golden hair might rise from where they slept and go away."

"A word has its use, Or, like a man, it will soon have a grave."

"Alone, he saw the slanting waves roll in, each to its impotent annihilation in a long wash of foam, until the sound become for him a warning and a torture, like a malign reproof reiterating in vain its cold and only sound of doom."

"And there was no Camelot now -- now that no Queen was there, all white and gold, under an oaktree with another sunlight sifting itself in silence on her glory through the dark leaves above her where she sat, smiling at what she feared, and fearing least what most there was to fear."

"And thus we all are nighing the truth we fear to know: death will end our crying for friends that come and go."

"Are you to pay for all you have with all you are?"

"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 wind will moan, the leaves will whisper some,—Whisper of her, and strike you as they fall; but go, and if you trust her she will call. Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal— Luke Havergal. No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies To rift the fiery night that ’s in your eyes; but there, where western glooms are gathering, the dark will end the dark, if anything: God slays Himself with every leaf that flies, and hell is more than half of paradise."

"He knows much of what men paint themselves would blister in the light of what they are."

"He was himself and he had lost the speed he started with, and he was left behind."

"Dark hills at evening in the west, where sunset hovers like a sound of golden horns that sang to rest old bones of warriors underground, far now from all the bannered ways where flash the legions of the sun, you fade--as if the last of days were fading, and all wars were done."

"I shall have more to say when I am dead."

"Love must have wings to fly away from love, and to fly back again."

"Life is the game that must be played."

"Oh for a poet - for a beacon bright"

"No matter what we are, and what we sing, Time finds a withered leaf in every laurel."

"The gods are growing old; the stars are singing Golden hair to gray green leaf to yellow leaf,—or chlorophyll to xanthophyl, to be more scientific."

"She fears him, and will always ask what fated her to choose him; she meets in his engaging mask all reasons to refuse him; but what she meets and what she fears are less than are the downward years drawn slowly to the foamless weirs of age, were she to lose him."

"The world is a spiritual kindergarten where bewildered infants are trying to spell GOD with the wrong blocks."

"She knows as well as anyone that pity, having played, soon tires."

"The power is yours, but not the sight; you see not upon what you tread; you have the ages for your guide, but not the wisdom to be led."

"There is a good deal to live for, but a man has to go through hell really to find it out."

"There is nothing more to say, they have all gone away from the house on the hill."

"To some will come a time when change itself is beauty, if not heaven."

"We are young and we are friends of time."

"Your Dollar is your only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. You build it altars tall enough to make you see, but your are blind; you cannot leave it long enough to look before you or behind."

"You have made the cement of your churches out of tears and ashes, and the fabric will not stand."

"We're all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks."