Home  »  Collected Poems by Robinson, Edwin Arlington  »  26. Bon Voyage

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

V. The Town Down the River

26. Bon Voyage

CHILD of a line accurst

And old as Troy,

Bringer of best and worst

In wild alloy—

Light, like a linnet first,

He sang for joy.

Thrall to the gilded ease

Of every day,

Mocker of all degrees

And always gay,

Child of the Cyclades

And of Broadway—

Laughing and half divine

The boy began,

Drunk with a woodland wine


But there was rue to twine

The pipes of Pan.

Therefore he skipped and flew

The more along,

Vivid and always new

And always wrong,

Knowing his only clew

A siren song.

Careless of each and all

He gave and spent:

Feast or a funeral

He laughed and went,

Laughing to be so small

In the event.

Told of his own deceit

By many a tongue,

Flayed for his long defeat

By being young,

Lured by the fateful sweet

Of songs unsung—

Knowing it in his heart,

But knowing not

The secret of an art

That few forgot,

He played the twinkling part

That was his lot.

And when the twinkle died,

As twinkles do,

He pushed himself aside

And out of view:

Out with the wind and tide,

Before we knew.