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

V. The Town Down the River

13. Exit

FOR what we owe to other days,

Before we poisoned him with praise,

May we who shrank to find him weak

Remember that he cannot speak.

For envy that we may recall,

And for our faith before the fall,

May we who are alive be slow

To tell what we shall never know.

For penance he would not confess,

And for the fateful emptiness

Of early triumph undermined,

May we now venture to be kind.