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

V. The Town Down the River

18. The Sunken Crown

NOTHING will hold him longer—let him go;

Let him go down where others have gone down;

Little he cares whether we smile or frown,

Or if we know, or if we think we know.

The call is on him for his overthrow,

Say we; so let him rise, or let him drown.

Poor fool! He plunges for the sunken crown,

And we—we wait for what the plunge may show.

Well, we are safe enough. Why linger, then?

The watery chance was his, not ours. Poor fool!

Poor truant, poor Narcissus out of school;

Poor jest of Ascalon; poor king of men.—

The crown, if he be wearing it, may cool

His arrogance, and he may sleep again.