from THE LESSON FOR TODAY
~ by Robert Frost
We all are doomed to broken-off careers,
And so’s the nation, so’s the total race.
The earth itself is liable to the fate
Of meaninglessly being broken off.
(And hence so many literary tears,
At which my inclination is to scoff.)
I may have wept that any should have died
Or been their riches, fame, or love denied.
On me as much as any is the jest,
I take my incompleteness with the rest.
God bless himself can no one else be blessed.
I hold your doctrine of Memento Mori.
And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have a short one for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
If you go to the Old Bennington Churchyard on Route 2 in Vermont you can see Robert Frost’s gravestone. “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” is thereon engraved under his name and dates. The excerpt printed here is the concluding lines of his long poem about now-obscure Medieval Latin writers, “The Lesson For Today.”