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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. ~Edwin Arlington Robinson

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town With political connections to spread his wealth around Born into society, a banker’s only child He had everything a man could want, power, grace and style But I work in his factory And I curse the life I’m living And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he’s got But I work in his factory And I curse the life I’m living And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read “Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head” But I work in his factory And I curse the life I’m living And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory

Written by Paul Simon


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