Three Quatrains

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

II. The Children of the Night
3. Three Quatrains

I

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.

II

Drink to the splendor of the unfulfilled, 5
Nor shudder for the revels that are done:
The wines that flushed Lucullus are all spilled,
The strings that Nero fingered are all gone.

III

We cannot crown ourselves with everything,
Nor can we coax the Fates for us to quarrel: 10
No matter what we are, or what we sing,
Time finds a withered leaf in every laurel.

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