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About this Poem 

“The Robin” was originally published in Young Harvard, and Other Poems (Frederick A. Stokes, 1907).

The Robin

Except within poetic pale
   I have not found a nightingale,
Nor hearkened in a dusky vale
   To song and silence blending;
No stock-dove have I ever heard,
Nor listened to a cuckoo-bird,
   Nor seen a lark ascending.
But I have felt a pulse-beat start
   Because a robin, spending
The utmost of his simple art
Some of his pleasure to impart
   While twilight came descending,
Has found an answer in my heart,
   A sudden comprehending. 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Witter Bynner

Witter Bynner

Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1881. He graduated from Harvard University in 1902. After college, he worked as a newspaper reporter and, later, as the assistant editor of McClure’s magazine.

Bynner published his first poetry collection, An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co.), in 1907. He was also the author of New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913), and several other poetry collections.

by this poet

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At the touch of you,	
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,	
The arrows of delight shot through my body.	
 
You were spring,	
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me. 
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If only you were here, Walt Whitman,
To tell the largeness of this man!
For only you could forget in space his enemies—
You who saw Lincoln stand up before the faces of a city
Alone like this man,
Alone even when friended,
Alone with destiny;
You who saw him facing Manhattan,

poem
Outside hove Shasta, snowy height on height,
A glory; but a negligible sight,
For you had often seen a mountain-peak