Introduction Biography Selected Works History of Gardiner Location Map Bibliography

The Gardiner Coliseum
Where EAR delivered his high school oration
Maine Avenue

In 1884, the Gardiner Coliseum Company built the state’s largest convention hall on Maine Avenue, immediately north of Cobbossee Stream. Designed by Gardiner architect Edwin E. Lewis, this 81-by-155-foot Queen Anne-style frame structure housed an auditorium which featured a stage, galleries, and a roller skating rink. This hall could seat 2,500 people, or 1,000 if the skating surface was in use. Nearby the livery station, built in 1879, provided horse and carriage rentals until the advent of the automobile. Harvey’s Hardware now occupies the old livery station building. The Coliseum was at the site of the present Hannaford parking lot. It was surrounded by the mill pond where thousands of logs were conveyed to nearby lumber mills. The piles of logs in the mill pond could be seen from the north window of the room where the Quadruped Club met.

The Gardiner Coliseum

This selected poem, “Seige Perilous,” does not have direct association with Gardiner High School or the graduation ceremony. Although the text of the poem that Robinson did deliver at the graduation ceremony is lost, “Seige Perilous” is yet another statement (besides “Dear Friends”) of the difficulty that Robinson knew he would encounter before establishing himself as a recognized poet. In reference to “Seige Perilous,” Emma Robinson wrote: “EAR contemplating his career, and still pondering on its outcome.”


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Siege Perilous
Long warned of many terrors more severe
To scorch him than hell’s engines could awaken,
He scanned again, too far to be so near,
The fearful seat no man had ever taken.
 
So many other men with older eyes
Than his to see with older sight behind them
Had known so long their one way to be wise,—
Was any other thing to do than mind them?
 
So many a blasting parallel had scared
Confusion on his faith,—could he but wonder
If he were mad and right, or if he feared
God’s fury told in shafted flame and thunder?
 
There fell one day upon his eyes a light
Ethereal, and he heard no more men speaking;
He saw their shaken heads, but no long sight
Was his but for the end that he went seeking.
 
The end he sought was not the end; the crown
He won shall unto many still be given.
Moreover, there was reason here to frown:
No fury thundered, no flame fell from heaven.


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

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This website is maintained by the Gardiner Public Library (Anne E. Davis, Director)
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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