Edwin Arlington Robinson

Here you will find the Poem Cassandra of poet Edwin Arlington Robinson


I heard one who said: "Verily, 
What word have I for children here? 
Your Dollar is your only Word, 
The wrath of it your only fear. 

"You build it altars tall enough 
To make you see but you are blind; 
You cannot leave it long enough 
To look before you or behind. 

"When Reason beckons you to pause, 
You laugh and say that you know best; 
But what it is you know, you keep 
As dark as ingots in a chest. 

"You laugh and answer, 'We are young; 
Oh, leave us now, and let us grow:' 
Not asking how much more of this 
Will Time endure or Fate bestow. 

"Because a few complacent years 
Have made your peril of your pride, 
Think you that you are to go on 
Forever pampered and untried? 

"What lost eclipse of history, 
What bivouac of the marching stars, 
Has given the sign for you to see 
Milleniums and last great wars? 

"What unrecorded overthrow 
Of all the world has ever known, 
Or ever been, has made itself 
So plain to you, and you alone? 

"Your Dollar, Dove, and Eagle make 
A Trinity that even you 
Rate higher than you rate yourselves; 
It pays, it flatters, and it's new. 

"And though your very flesh and blood 
Be what the Eagle eats and drinks, 
You'll praise him for the best of birds, 
Not knowing what the eagle thinks. 

"The power is yours, but not the sight; 
You see not upon what you tread; 
You have the ages for your guide, 
But not the wisdom to be led. 

"Think you to tread forever down 
The merciless old verities? 
And are you never to have eyes 
To see the world for what it is? 

"Are you to pay for what you have 
With all you are?"--No other word 
We caught, but with a laughing crowd 
Moved on. None heeded, and few heard.