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Depot Square
Maine Central Railroad Station

Depot Square where the “four o’clock train” departed with the love of the poet’s life, his brother’s new wife on February 12, 1890. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Depot Square was the nerve center of transportation. Between 1851 and 1911 passengers debarked here where several hotels and restaurants were within a few minutes walking distance. Opposite the depot from 1884 to 1904, the coliseum drew crowds from around the state. Nearby the steamboat landing provided the link to the water route to Boston. Between 1889 and 1932 trolley cars from Augusta also arrived here.
Emma (Shepherd) Robinson (1865-1940), wife of Herman Edward Robinson.

Until 1911, the original train station was opposite the terminus of the Gardiner-Randolph bridge. In Robinson’s time schooners, steamboats, and tugs lined the wharves along the Kennebec. When Robinson’s brother Herman married Emma Shepherd in 1890, the couple departed from this train station to start their new household in St. Louis, Missouri. Robinson had also been deeply in love with Emma, and the following poem betrays the young poet’s anguish: abandonment and unrequited love. In reference to “Cortège,” Emma Robinson wrote, “E.L.R. & H.E.R. [Emma and Herman Robinson] leaving Gardiner for St. Louis — 1500 miles away — on the four o’clock train and E.A.R.’s lamentation of impending doom.”


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Cortège
Four o’clock this afternoon,
Fifteen hundred miles away:
So it goes, the crazy tune,
So it pounds and hums all day.
 
Four o’clock this afternoon,
Earth will hide them far away:
Best they go to go so soon,
Best for them the grave to-day.
 
Had she gone but half so soon,
Half the world had passed away.
Four o’clock this afternoon,
Best for them they go to-day.
 
Four o’clock this afternoon
Love will hide them deep, they say;
Love that made the grave so soon,
Fifteen hundred miles away.
 
Four o’clock this afternoon—
Ah, but they go slow to-day:
Slow to suit my crazy tune,
Past the need of all we say.
 
Best it came to come so soon,
But for them they go to-day:
Four o’clock this afternoon,
Fifteen hundred miles away.


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

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