It is the juxtaposition of this old, highly rigid, formulated, classical style with this very modern, personal subject matter that continues to intrigue readers of Robinson's works to this day. This next poem, considered by some to be Robinson's finest work, is a perfect example of this conflict of form and content, and how it melds to form Robinson's singular poetic style.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from head to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But he still 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.
The poem's structure is, as I have hinted before, simple and classic. The rhyme scheme is set up in a basic abab cdcd efef ghgh pattern, with the lines divided up into four stanzas, quatrains to be exact. The feet and meter of the lines are also classic. The entire poem is written in iambic pentameter, one of the oldest meters used in English verse. This pattern of five feet of unstressed syllable - stressed syllable per line is easiest seen in the following way, with the bold, capitalized areas corresponding to the stressed syllables, and the feet divided by a "/": u / u /...