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Children of the Night   By: (1869-1935)

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by Edwin Arlington Robinson

[Maine Poet 1869 1935.]

1905 printing of the 1897 edition

[Note on text: Italicized stanzas have been indented 5 spaces. Italicized words or phrases have been capitalized. Lines longer than 77 characters have been broken according to metre, and the continuation is indented two spaces. Also, some obvious errors have been corrected.]

To the Memory of my Father and Mother


The Children of the Night Three Quatrains The World An Old Story Ballade of a Ship Ballade by the Fire Ballade of Broken Flutes Ballade of Dead Friends Her Eyes Two Men Villanelle of Change John Evereldown Luke Havergal The House on the Hill Richard Cory Two Octaves Calvary Dear Friends The Story of the Ashes and the Flame For Some Poems by Matthew Arnold Amaryllis Kosmos Zola The Pity of the Leaves Aaron Stark The Garden Cliff Klingenhagen Charles Carville's Eyes The Dead Village Boston Two Sonnets The Clerks Fleming Helphenstine For a Book by Thomas Hardy Thomas Hood The Miracle Horace to Leuconoe Reuben Bright The Altar The Tavern Sonnet George Crabbe Credo On the Night of a Friend's Wedding Sonnet Verlaine Sonnet Supremacy The Night Before Walt Whitman The Chorus of Old Men in "Aegeus" The Wilderness Octaves Two Quatrains Romance The Torrent L'Envoi

The Children of the Night

For those that never know the light, The darkness is a sullen thing; And they, the Children of the Night, Seem lost in Fortune's winnowing.

But some are strong and some are weak, And there's the story. House and home Are shut from countless hearts that seek World refuge that will never come.

And if there be no other life, And if there be no other chance To weigh their sorrow and their strife Than in the scales of circumstance,

'T were better, ere the sun go down Upon the first day we embark, In life's imbittered sea to drown, Than sail forever in the dark.

But if there be a soul on earth So blinded with its own misuse Of man's revealed, incessant worth, Or worn with anguish, that it views

No light but for a mortal eye, No rest but of a mortal sleep, No God but in a prophet's lie, No faith for "honest doubt" to keep;

If there be nothing, good or bad, But chaos for a soul to trust, God counts it for a soul gone mad, And if God be God, He is just.

And if God be God, He is Love; And though the Dawn be still so dim, It shows us we have played enough With creeds that make a fiend of Him.

There is one creed, and only one, That glorifies God's excellence; So cherish, that His will be done, The common creed of common sense.

It is the crimson, not the gray, That charms the twilight of all time; It is the promise of the day That makes the starry sky sublime;

It is the faith within the fear That holds us to the life we curse; So let us in ourselves revere The Self which is the Universe!

Let us, the Children of the Night, Put off the cloak that hides the scar! Let us be Children of the Light, And tell the ages what we are!

Three Quatrains


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... Continue reading book >>

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