If you’ve been watching Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts on PBS, you now know, if you didn’t already, and I didn’t, that Edward Arlington Robinson was Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite poet. Since TR loved to memorize and recite poetry, he must have had Robinson’s poems ready to to roar at the drop of a straw hat. I would love it if a recording of him reciting “Miniver Cheevy” turned up. Even better, this one:
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
Of course, in heaven we’ll get to hear him sing the Simon and Garfunkel version.