Introduction Biography Selected Works History of Gardiner Location Map Bibliography

Shepherd Family Residence,
154 Maine Avenue, Farmingdale

Emma Löehen (Shepherd) Robinson (1865–1940), wife of Herman Edward Robinson.

This was the residence of David Clark Shepherd, agent in central Maine of the Knickerbocker Ice Company. His daughter Emma Löehen Shepherd (1865–1940) courted all three of the Robinson brothers and finally decided to marry Herman Edward Robinson (1865–1901) because he was the best looking (“fluttered pulses”) and the one with the best financial prospects (“richer than a king”). His superficial graces were illusory. Emma left an annotated list of Robinson’s poems that she associated with named individuals. She identified her husband as the basis of the poem, “Richard Cory.”

Herman Edward Robinson (1865-1909), second of three sons of Edward and Mary Robinson. He married Emma Löehen Shepherd and was father of three daughters.

When the Robinson house on Lincoln Avenue was sold to settle debts, Emma had only one recourse of support, and that was to return to her parents’ home in Farmingdale. It is a tragic tale. Emma’s sisters falsely accused Herman of stealing bonds and securities from this house, and Herman was henceforth never allowed to return to visit his wife and children. He eventually died from pneumonia in a charitable hospital in Boston. On one of the poet’s rare return visits to Maine in February 1909, he brought back Herman’s remains and helped stabilize family finances. Hagedorn was incorrect in his 1938 biography in associating “Richard Cory” with the legend of Sedgewick Plummer. Because this poem serves as an indicator of the reason that Emma had to return to depend upon the financial support of her parents, it is presented here. It is also fitting that this list of Robinson sites concludes with this his most famous poem. In reference to “Richard Cory,” Emma Robinson wrote, “H.E.R. [Herman Edward Robinson]. Impersonation of his brilliant prospects and their abrupt end.”

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Richard Cory
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
The 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.


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EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON
A Virtual Tour of Robinson's Gardiner, Maine

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