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(22 December 1869 – 6 April 1935 / Maine / United States)

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Richard Cory

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.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Monday, May 21, 2012


Read poems about / on: summer, people, home, light, night, school, work

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Comments about this poem (Aunt Imogen by Edwin Arlington Robinson )

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  • Nika Mcguin (2/18/2014 6:58:00 PM)

    I remember reading this in highschool, Its nice to find it again on this site. I love a poem that leaves impact on your memory like this.

    7 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (2/18/2014 12:58:00 PM)

    Whatever Richard Cory was, whatever Richard Cory did, he earned immortality through this poem written in perfect meter. Which is what one would expect from Edwin Arlington, a Prince among poets.

  • David J Mcdonagh (2/18/2014 5:05:00 AM)

    Paul Simon wrote a song based on this poem, which was recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, and covered by Them (Van Morrison's band) .

  • Anna Warren (2/6/2014 4:40:00 PM)

    It's more than just the saying money can't buy happiness or the obvious difference in class. Cory was separate from everyone, not of his own will (he spoke to them, wanted this interaction) , but they idolized him or his position and that kept him at a distance. He wasnt secretly depressed for no reason, it was the loneliness he felt everyday despite his attempts to socialize with the people.

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/18/2013 9:22:00 AM)

    Almost every one has a mask these days
    One of a perpetual smile or a long face
    But we may be wrong as it be a case
    Of them hiding their good or their mistakes

    I welcome every one reading this to my page too for your valuable comments please

  • Samuel Salami (6/22/2013 9:51:00 AM)

    Read this sad poem while preparing for my Senior School Certificate Examination in 1996, to this dady, the theme of ''Appearance and Reality'' has remained glued to my brain.

  • Meow Moew (3/19/2013 5:15:00 PM)

    My english teacher was brilliant with presenting this poem to us. She read the first half, and then told us to write down what we thought of richard cory (without even telling us there was more to the poem) . Most of us said that he seemed perfect. I thought the poem was kind of boring. Then she read the second half, and the way she went about it gave that last line so much more impact. This is easily one of my favorite poems (if not my most favorite) .

  • Mudnainah Farah (2/18/2013 10:57:00 PM)

    I remember reading this poem in my Language Arts class. It has a profound meaning behind it; wealth can not acquire happiness, contentment or tranquility.

  • Kagiso Mogale (2/18/2013 4:40:00 AM)

    the poor guy didnt have anyone to talk to...If there's anything to learn from this poem is that no man is an island we all need friends and family. Don't let your career or money stand between you and your loved ones.
    Everybody needs somebody.... good things in life are priceless

  • Clinton Rushing (12/3/2012 10:22:00 PM)

    Reminds me of Dennis Leery and the Kurt Cobain bit.... My bank account is full and my nutsack is empty, whaaa I think I'll go blow my brains out. Do we really all have nothing better to do that feel sorry for ourselves? And was this a new idea less than a hundred years ago? I see no greatness, no deeper meaning but feel sorry for those of us who dedicate our times to such nonsense.

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