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My fathers and their fathers and their fathers had

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Unformatted text preview: their fathers and their fathers Had found it good, and said there was no other, And I was of the line. When Stephen fell, Among the stones that 10 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson crushed his life away, There was no place alive that I could see For such a man. Why should a man be given To live beyond the Law? So I said then, As men say now to me. How then do I Persist in living? Is that what you ask? If so, let my appearance be for you No living answer; for Time writes of death On men before they die, and what you see Is not the man. The man that you see not -- The man within the man -- is most alive; Though hatred would have ended, long ago, The bane of his activities. I have lived, Because the faith within me that is life Endures to live, and shall, till soon or late, Death, like a friend unseen, shall say to me My toil is over and my work begun. How often, and how many a time again, Have I said I should be with you in Rome! He who is always coming never comes, Or comes too late, you may have told yourselves; And I may tell you now that after me, Whether I stay for little or for long, The wolves are coming. Have an eye for them, And a more careful ear for their confusion Than you need have much longer for the sound Of what I tell you -- should I live to say More than I say to Caesar. What I know Is down for you to read in what is written; And if I cloud a little with my own Mortality the gleam that is immortal, I do it only because I am I -- Being on earth and of it, in so far As time flays yet the remnant. This you know; And if I sting men, as I do sometimes, With a sharp word that hurts, it is because Man's habit is to feel before he sees; And I am of a race that feels. Moreover, The world is here for what is not yet here For more than are a few; and even in Rome, Where men are so enamored of the Cross That fame has echoed, and increasingly, The music of your love and of your faith To foreign ears that are as far away As Antioch and Haran, yet I wonder How much of love you know, and if your faith Be the shut fruit of words. If so, remember Words are but shells unfilled. Jews have at least A Law to make them sorry they were born If they go long without it; and these Gentiles, For the first time in shrieking history, Have love and law together, if so they will, For their defense and their immunity In these last days. Rome, if I know the name, Will have anon a crown of thorns and fire Made ready for the wreathing of new masters, Of whom we are appointed, you and I, -- And you are still to be when I am gone, Should I go presently. Let the word fall, 11 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson Meanwhile, upon the dragon-ridden field Of circumstance, either to live or die; Concerning which there is a parable, Made easy for the comfort and attention Of those who preach, fearing they preach in vain. You are to plant, and then to plant again Where you have gathered, gathering as you go; For you are in the fields that are eternal, And you have not the burden of the Lord Upon your mortal shoulders. What you have Is a...
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