Edward Arlington Robinson has appeared here before with the wonderful Mr Flood's Party. In his habits and outlook, Robinson was a solitary whose life was shadowed by an early love for a girl who married his older, more worldly brother and who refused to marry him after his brother's death. He had to leave Harvard prematurely when his father's demise impoverished the family and took a series of unsuitable jobs until the US President, Theodore Roosevelt, happened to read an early book of his and, in a rare act of practical patronage, arranged a job for him in the New York Customs which allowed him to write. It seems strange now that there ever were such presidents or such jobs. Simon and Garfunkel adapted this poem for a song which many people will know.
Published 24/01/2010 | 05:00
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.