This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: and then a madman or a seer May shake them out of their complacency And shame them into deeds. The major file See only what their fathers may have seen, Or may have said they saw when they saw nothing. I do not say it matters what they saw. Now and again to some lone soul or other God speaks, and there is hanging to be done, -- As once there was a burning of our bodies Alive, albeit our souls were sorry fuel. But now the fires are few, and we are poised Accordingly, for the state's benefit, A few still minutes between heaven and earth. The purpose is, when they have seen enough Of what it is that they are not to see, To pluck me as an unripe fruit of treason, And then to fling me back to the same earth Of which they are, as I suppose, the flower -- Not given to know the riper fruit that waits For a more comprehensive harvesting. Yes, may they come, and soon. Again I say, May they come soon! -before too many of them Shall be the bloody cost of our defection. When hell waits on the dawn of a new state, Better it were that hell should not wait long, -- Or so it is I see it who should see As far or farther into time tonight Than they who talk and tremble for me now, Or wish me to those everlasting fires That are for me no fear. Too many fires Have sought me out and seared me to the bone -- Thereby, for all I know, to temper me For what was mine to do. If I did ill What I did well, let men say I was mad; Or let my name for ever be a question That will not sleep in history. What men say I was will cool no cannon, dull no sword, Invalidate no truth. Meanwhile, I was; And the long train is lighted that shall burn, Though floods of wrath may drench it, and hot feet May stamp it for a slight time into smoke That shall blaze up again with growing speed, Until at last a fiery crash will come To cleanse and shake a wounded hemisphere, And heal it of a long malignity That angry time discredits and disowns. Tonight there are men saying many things; And some who see life in the last of me Will answer first the coming call to death; For death is what is coming,
29 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson and then life. I do not say again for the dull sake Of speech what you have heard me say before, But rather for the sake of all I am, And all God made of me. A man to die As I do must have done some other work Than man's alone. I was not after glory, But there was glory with me, like a friend, Throughout those crippling years when friends were few, And fearful to be known by their own names When mine was vilified for their approval. Yet friends they are, and they did what was given Their will to do; they could have done no more. I was the one man mad enough, it seems, To do my work; and now my work is over. And you, my dear, are not to mourn for me, Or for your sons, more than a soul should mourn In Paradise, done with evil and with earth. There is not much of earth in what remains For you; and what there may be left of it For your endurance you shall have at last In peace, without the twinge of any fear For my condition; for I shall be done With plans and actions that have heretofore Made your days long and your nights ominous With darkness and the many distances That were between us. When the silence comes, I shall in faith be nearer...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 10/31/2010 for the course ENGLISH EN203 taught by Professor Micheal during the Spring '03 term at UC Irvine.
- Spring '03
- The Bible