Richard Cory

A favorite poem of mine, by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935):

Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,
    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.

 

“Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson from The Second Book of Modern Verse, Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed.  ©Houghton Mifflin, 1920.

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