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

VII. The Three Taverns

21. Inferential

ALTHOUGH I saw before me there the face

Of one whom I had honored among men

The least, and on regarding him again

Would not have had him in another place,

He fitted with an unfamiliar grace

The coffin where I could not see him then

As I had seen him and appraised him when

I deemed him unessential to the race.

For there was more of him than what I saw.

And there was on me more than the old awe

That is the common genius of the dead.

I might as well have heard him: “Never mind;

If some of us were not so far behind,

The rest of us were not so far ahead.”