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

V. The Town Down the River

20. Shadrach O’Leary

O’LEARY was a poet—for a while:

He sang of many ladies frail and fair,

The rolling glory of their golden hair,

And emperors extinguished with a smile.

They foiled his years with many an ancient wile,

And if they limped, O’Leary didn’t care:

He turned them loose and had them everywhere,

Undoing saints and senates with their guile.

But this was not the end. A year ago

I met him—and to meet was to admire:

Forgotten were the ladies and the lyre,

And the small, ink-fed Eros of his dream.

By questioning I found a man to know—

A failure spared, a Shadrach of the Gleam.