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Richard Cory (1897) by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) - An American Poet Who Won Three Pulitzer Prizes


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Immature? Check.

Melodramatic? Check.

Coarse? Check.

But I remember reading Richard Cory as a college freshman, and loving it. By the time you're my age, it is what it is. Like an overplayed piece - the first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," or Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" - you hear the beginning, and roll your eyes, thinking to yourself, "˜no, not again.'

However, despite being overplayed, both the Beethoven and Mozart are legitimate master works that have their place alongside the greatest piano pieces ever written. It isn't *their* fault they've been overplayed, nor is it their fault they've taken simple concepts and made them into something profound.

I hope some of you, who aren't familiar with Richard Cory, will have that same, slack-jawed reaction that I did, long ago, in Mr. Moyle's English 102 class, when I was just a young lad of 18, trying not to let people see that I was fighting back tears.

Richard Cory

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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.

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