Famous Sad Poem

A narrative poem, "Richard Cory" was first published in 1897, as part of The Children of the Night. It is one of Robinson's most popular and published poems.
The poem describes a person who is wealthy, well-educated, mannerly, and admired by the people in his town. Despite all this, he takes his own life.

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I read this poem as one of the mandatory literary pieces while in High School. Even at that tender age something about the absurdity of life struck me and it continued to haunt me. I tried to...

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Richard Cory

Edwin Arlington Robinson By more Edwin Arlington Robinson

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 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.



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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Edgar Bruce Johnson by Edgar Bruce Johnson
  • 6 months ago

"Richard Cory" was a mandatory reading assignment in 9th grade English. Against a backdrop of dysfunctional family and physical abuse, it hit me hard. I had not considered in any true sense of the word one taking their life. I then became tormented, perhaps enticed by the idea of suicide. At age 73 now I look back at years of wanting to kill myself, figuring out ways to do it, fear of not being successful, fears of hurting those around me. I awoke every day and asked, "For what is there to live?.....Nothing." Suicide always beckoned me, smiled, "follow me." I came close a few times but for whatever reason did not follow through. In my 40s an absurd idea struck me. Turn the question around and try to answer it. I started asking "For what is there to die?....Nothing." With that, I have been able to back away from nearly constant suicidal ideation, though the underlying depression has remained with me yet even to this day.

  • Tanner Taverns by Tanner Taverns
  • 1 year ago

I just think the writer was trying to describe how life for a rich guy isn't always as it seems. In fact, I think that he may even try to emphasize how just because someone appears rich and happy with life doesn't mean that they are. Anyone can appear happy in life, not just a rich person, but be unsatisfied with life.

  • Ashley Ola by Ashley Ola
  • 2 years ago

I read this poem as one of the mandatory literary pieces while in High School. Even at that tender age something about the absurdity of life struck me and it continued to haunt me. I tried to delve into the mind of Mr. Cory in order to find out the emptiness that prompted him to take the last recourse but could not.

I ponder still... searching for meaning. It was when I became born again (surrendering my life to Christ) that the reality knocked me down. I came to the understanding that a life without Christ will not be purpose driven. Twice I tried to go the way of Mr. Cory, but now that Christ has found me, everything has fallen into place. I no longer desire to take what I did not give. Every other blessing work in relations with the fulfillment if my life purpose. I guess Mr. Cory committed suicide because he didn't 'have Christ.' Suicide must never be an option. Hope is always at the next time... keep walking! Yes, keep walking!

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