Sunday, June 2, 2013

Richard Cory

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 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.

 Edward Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

"After a failed attempt to serve President Lowell of Harvard as a confidential secretary, Robinson permanently settled in New York. There he lived in dire poverty and became alcoholic. He took odd jobs and depended upon the financial support of friends to give him time to write. In 1904, his fortune started to turn. Kermit Roosevelt, then a student at Groton School, gave his father, Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States, a copy of The Children of the Night. Henry Howe Richards (1876–1968), elder son of Laura E. Richards, had introduced Kermit to Robinson’s publications. President Roosevelt so admired the poems that he persuaded a publisher to reprint The Children of the Night, wrote a review of it, and found a sinecure for Robinson at the U. S. Customs Office. (In fact, as Edmund Morris points out in his second volume of the Roosevelt biography, this was the only sinecure that the reform-minded president ever granted.) When Robinson published The Town Down the River in 1910, he dedicated it to the president." [Source]

Tragically, TR's son Kermit, the original admirer of E.A. Robinson and Richard Cory, also died of self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Life imitates art.

File:Kermit Roosevelt 1926.jpg

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