Introduction Biography Selected Works History of Gardiner Location Map Bibliography

Gardiner Public Library,
152 Water Street

Laura E. Richards, Henry Richards, and the Reverend Leverett Bradley established Maine’s second public library in 1881. This English-Jacobean style building was designed by architect Henry Richards. In 1929 shoe magnate Robert Parks Hazzard financed the south wing, designed by John P. Thomas of Portland. This wing first housed the Children’s Room and later became the Reading Room. A gift from the estate of J. Walter Robinson enabled the library to add its reference wing in 1961. The Peg Shaw Victorian Garden was dedicated in 1990. This library received a gift from the Carnegie Foundation for meeting the foundation’s highest standards. The Gardiner Library houses a significant collection of Robinson’s publications (many inscribed by the poet). Also in the Yellow House Papers that the Gardiner Library Association maintains at the Maine Historical Society, many important Robinson documents are found.

This poem, “George Crabbe,” has no direct association with the Gardiner Public Library. It is about another poet, a “poet’s poet,” little read by the public. However Crabbe is highly esteemed by literary scholars, and Robinson encountered him during his assiduous reading through the length and breadth of English literature. Hence the choice rests upon the assumption that treasures await readers who visit their public libraries and browse through the shelves holding great literature.

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George Crabbe
Give him the darkest inch your shelf allows,
Hide him in lonely garrets, if you will,—
But his hard, human pulse is throbbing still
With the sure strength that fearless truth endows.
In spite of all fine science disavows,
Of his plain excellence and stubborn skill
There yet remains what fashion cannot kill,
Though years have thinned the laurel from his brows.
Whether or not we read him, we can feel
From time to time the vigor of his name
Against us like a finger for the shame
And emptiness of what our souls reveal
In books that are as altars where we kneel
To consecrate the flicker, not the flame.

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A Virtual Tour of Robinson's Gardiner, Maine

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This website is maintained by the Gardiner Public Library
152 Water Street, Gardiner, Maine 04345, and the Gardiner Library Association.

This website is sponsored by the Kennebec-Chaudière Heritage Commission and Maine Humanities Council, the J. W. Robinson Welfare Trust Fund, the Gardiner Library Association, and the Gardiner Board of Trade.

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