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

II. The Children of the Night

37. Verlaine

WHY do you dig like long-clawed scavengers

To touch the covered corpse of him that fled

The uplands for the fens, and rioted

Like a sick satyr with doom’s worshippers?

Come! let the grass grow there; and leave his verse

To tell the story of the life he led.

Let the man go: let the dead flesh be dead,

And let the worms be its biographers.

Song sloughs away the sin to find redress

In art’s complete remembrance: nothing clings

For long but laurel to the stricken brow

That felt the Muse’s finger; nothing less

Than hell’s fulfilment of the end of things

Can blot the star that shines on Paris now.