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

III. Captain Craig, Etc.

9. The Woman and The Wife


“YOU thought we knew,” she said, “but we were wrong.

This we can say, the rest we do not say;

Nor do I let you throw yourself away

Because you love me. Let us both be strong,

And we shall find in sorrow, before long,

Only the price Love ruled that we should pay:

The dark is at the end of every day,

And silence is the end of every song.

“You ask me for one proof that I speak right,

But I can answer only what I know;

You look for just one lie to make black white,

But I can tell you only what is true—

God never made me for the wife of you.

This we can say,—believe me! … Tell me so!”


“GIVE me the truth, whatever it may be.

You thought we knew, now tell me what you miss:

You are the one to tell me what it is—

You are a man, and you have married me.

What is it worth tonight that you can see

More marriage in the dream of one dead kiss

Than in a thousand years of life like this?

Passion has turned the lock, Pride keeps the key.

“Whatever I have said or left unsaid,

Whatever I have done or left undone,—

Tell me. Tell me the truth.… Are you afraid?

Do you think that Love was ever fed with lies

But hunger lived thereafter in his eyes?

Do you ask me to take moonlight for the sun?”