Verse > Edwin A. Robinson > Collected Poems > II. The Children of the Night > 6. Ballade of Broken Flutes
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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935).  Collected Poems. 1921.
  
II. The Children of the Night
6. Ballade of Broken Flutes
  
(To A. T. Schumann)


IN dreams I crossed a barren land,
  A land of ruin, far away;
Around me hung on every hand
  A deathful stillness of decay;
  And silent, as in bleak dismay        5
That song should thus forsaken be,
  On that forgotten ground there lay
The broken flutes of Arcady.
 
The forest that was all so grand
  When pipes and tabors had their sway       10
Stood leafless now, a ghostly band
  Of skeletons in cold array.
  A lonely surge of ancient spray
Told of an unforgetful sea,
  But iron blows had hushed for aye       15
The broken flutes of Arcady.
 
No more by summer breezes fanned,
  The place was desolate and gray;
But still my dream was to command
  New life into that shrunken clay.       20
  I tried it. And you scan to-day,
With uncommiserating glee,
  The songs of one who strove to play
The broken flutes of Arcady.
 
ENVOY

So, Rock, I join the common fray,
       25
  To fight where Mammon may decree;
And leave, to crumble as they may,
  The broken flutes of Arcady.

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