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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

II. The Children of the Night

3. Three Quatrains


AS long as Fame’s imperious music rings

Will poets mock it with crowned words august;

And haggard men will clamber to be kings

As long as Glory weighs itself in dust.


Drink to the splendor of the unfulfilled,

Nor shudder for the revels that are done:

The wines that flushed Lucullus are all spilled,

The strings that Nero fingered are all gone.


We cannot crown ourselves with everything,

Nor can we coax the Fates for us to quarrel:

No matter what we are, or what we sing,

Time finds a withered leaf in every laurel.