WHEN I BEHOLD THE GREATEST
by: Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)
- HEN I behold
the greatest and most wise
Fall out of heaven, wings not by pride struck numb
Like Satan's, but to gain some humbler crumb
Of pittance from penurious granaries;
And when I see under each new disguise
The same cowardice of custom, the same dumb
Devil that drove our Wordsworth to become
Apologist of kings and priests and lies;
And how a man may find in all he loathes
Contentment after all, and so endear it
By cowardly craft it grows his inmost own;--
Then I renew my faith with firmer oaths,
And bind with more tremendous vows a spirit
That, often fallen, never has lain prone.
POEMS BY ROBINSON JEFFERS
"When I Behold the Greatest"
is reprinted from Californians. Robinson Jeffers. New
York: Macmillan, 1916.