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Happy Birthday Robert Browning!

Discussion in 'The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger' started by Doug Draa, May 7, 2014.

  1. Doug Draa

    Doug Draa Member

    It's Robert Browning's Birthday today and I think that this would be a great way to get young people interested in literature.
    The SK-RB connection.

    I know that back when "The Dark Tower:The Gunslinger" was originally serialized in "The Magazine of F&SF" oh so many years ago (1978-1981 if I remember correctly) that I was lead to this poem and broadened my horizons.
    Thank you Mr. King!

    “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

    My first thought was, he lied in every word,
    That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
    Askance to watch the workings of his lie
    On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
    Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
    Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.

    What else should he be set for, with his staff?
    What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
    All travellers who might find him posted there,
    And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
    Would break, what crutch ’gin write my epitaph
    For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare.

    If at his counsel I should turn aside
    Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
    Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
    I did turn as he pointed, neither pride
    Now hope rekindling at the end descried,
    So much as gladness that some end might be.

    For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
    What with my search drawn out through years, my hope
    Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
    With that obstreperous joy success would bring,
    I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
    My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

    As when a sick man very near to death
    Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
    The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
    And hears one bit the other go, draw breath
    Freelier outside, (‘since all is o’er,’ he saith
    And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;’)

    When some discuss if near the other graves
    be room enough for this, and when a day
    Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
    With care about the banners, scarves and staves
    And still the man hears all, and only craves
    He may not shame such tender love and stay.

    Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
    Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
    So many times among ’The Band’ to wit,
    The knights who to the Dark Tower’s search addressed
    Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best,
    And all the doubt was now - should I be fit?

    So, quiet as despair I turned from him,
    That hateful cripple, out of his highway
    Into the path he pointed. All the day
    Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
    Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
    Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.

    For mark! No sooner was I fairly found
    Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
    Than, pausing to throw backwards a last view
    O’er the safe road, ’twas gone; grey plain all round;
    Nothing but plain to the horizon’s bound.
    I might go on, naught else remained to do.

    So on I went. I think I never saw
    Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
    For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove!
    But cockle, spurge, according to their law
    Might propagate their kind with none to awe,
    You’d think; a burr had been a treasure trove.
    Neesy, kingzeppelin and GNTLGNT like this.
  2. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    I think you have a great idea, as far as introducing teens to classic literature!
    Neesy, kingzeppelin, GNTLGNT and 2 others like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ....what the hell is this Gunslinger thing you mention?.....
    Neesy and kingzeppelin like this.
  4. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side


    Too bad he's too old now to play "The Gunslinger" - he would have been perfect
    GNTLGNT likes this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...don't I know it!.....
    Neesy likes this.

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