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

II. The Children of the Night

36. Sonnet

THE MASTER and the slave go hand in hand,

Though touch be lost. The poet is a slave,

And there be kings do sorrowfully crave

The joyance that a scullion may command.

But, ah, the sonnet-slave must understand

The mission of his bondage, or the grave

May clasp his bones, or ever he shall save

The perfect word that is the poet’s wand.

The sonnet is a crown, whereof the rhymes

Are for Thought’s purest gold the jewel-stones;

But shapes and echoes that are never done

Will haunt the workshop, as regret sometimes

Will bring with human yearning to sad thrones

The crash of battles that are never won.