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Unformatted text preview: The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson Edwin Arlington Robinson 1 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson The Valley of the Shadow There were faces to remember in the Valley of the Shadow, There were faces unregarded, there were faces to forget; There were fires of grief and fear that are a few forgotten ashes, There were sparks of recognition that are not forgotten yet. For at first, with an amazed and overwhelming indignation At a measureless malfeasance that obscurely willed it thus, They were lost and unacquainted -- till they found themselves in others, Who had groped as they were groping where dim ways were perilous. There were lives that were as dark as are the fears and intuitions Of a child who knows himself and is alone with what he knows; There were pensioners of dreams and there were debtors of illusions, All to fail before the triumph of a weed that only grows. There were thirsting heirs of golden sieves that held not wine or water, And had no names in traffic or more value there than toys: There were blighted sons of wonder in the Valley of the Shadow, Where they suffered and still wondered why their wonder made no noise. There were slaves who dragged the shackles of a precedent unbroken, Demonstrating the fulfilment of unalterable schemes, Which had been, before the cradle, Time's inexorable tenants Of what were now the dusty ruins of their father's dreams. There were these, and there were many who had stumbled up to manhood, Where they saw too late the road they should have taken long ago: There were thwarted clerks and fiddlers in the Valley of the Shadow, The commemorative wreckage of what others did not know. And there were daughters older than the mothers who had borne them, Being older in their wisdom, which is older than the earth; And they were going forward only farther into darkness, Unrelieved as were the blasting obligations of their birth; And among them, giving always what was not for their possession, There were maidens, very quiet, with no quiet in their eyes: There were daughters of the silence in the Valley of the Shadow, Each an isolated item in the family sacrifice. There were creepers among catacombs where dull regrets were torches, 2 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson Giving light enough to show them what was there upon the shelves -Where there was more for them to see than pleasure would remember Of something that had been alive and once had been themselves. There were some who stirred the ruins with a solid imprecation, While as many fled repentance for the promise of despair: There were drinkers of wrong waters in the Valley of the Shadow, And all the sparkling ways were dust that once had led them there. There were some who knew the steps of Age incredibly beside them, And his fingers upon shoulders that had never felt the wheel; And their last of empty trophies was a gilded cup of nothing, Which a contemplating vagabond would not have come to steal. Long a...
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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.

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