by Edwin Arlington Robinson
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.
Note: A recitation can be heard here.
- Mark Olival-Bartley
- Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.