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H. Dean Robinson Drug Store,
207 Water Street

This view looks west on the middle section of Water Street in 1896. The sign "F.M. Noyes" appears over the pharmacy that the poet's brother, Dean Robinson, bought in 1897.

This drugstore was leased from F. M. Noyes in 1897 by Robinson’s brother Dean who ran it until his death in 1899. In 1901, the Robinsons sold their lease to Benjamin W. Jackson. One winter the poet himself occasionally clerked at the family drug store.

H(orace) Dean Robinson, M.D., (1857-1899), eldest of three sons of Edward and Mary Robinson, and adored brother of the poet.

Robinson’s eldest brother, H. Dean Robinson, a brilliant and sensitive scholar, had been forced to pursue a medical career by their father. After graduating from the Maine Medical School at Bowdoin, Dean practiced medicine in Camden, Maine. Soon he developed excruciating neuralgia when he called on patients in bitter winter weather on outlying islands off the Camden coast. Self-medication developed into drug addiction, and soon Dean’s career’s ended. He returned to Gardiner in a hopeless state; and, after working at odd jobs, he incredibly acquired a pharmacy on Water Street. As his addiction worsened, he remained confined at the Robinson house for increasingly lengthy intervals, finally guarded by a male nurse. He contrived to obtain a lethal dose of morphine from the pharmacy and used it to commit suicide. The “engine” in the following poem is the hypodermic needle used to administer the fatal dose. See David S. Nivison, “Does It Matter How Annandale Went Out?” in Colby Library Quarterly, 5 (December 1960):170–85.


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How Annandale Went Out
“They called it Annandale—and I was there
To flourish, to find words, and to attend:
Liar, physician, hypocrite, and friend,
I watched him; and the sight was not so fair
As one or two that I have seen elsewhere:
An apparatus not for me to mend—
A wreck, with hell between him and the end,
Remained of Annandale; and I was there.
 
“I knew the ruin as I knew the man;
So put the two together, if you can,
Remembering the worse you know of me.
Now view yourself as I was, on the spot—
With a slight kind of engine. Do you see?
Like this … You wouldn’t hang me? I thought not.”


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

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