A Mighty Runner

"A Happy Man" is the second song in Frank Lewin's Variations of Greek Themes.

"A Mighty Runner" has the character of a toccata with a whiff of the sports march. Numbers mentioned in the poem are represented musically by instruments moving in parallel fifths, sevenths, fourths, and elevenths. In keeping with the traditional depiction of runners, voice and flute (here a piccolo) are led canonically.

Date: 1977Composer: Frank LewinText: Edwin Arlington RobinsonSong Collection: Variations of Greek Themes

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A Mighty Runner (Nicarchus)
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

The day when Charmus ran with fivet
In Arcady, as I’m alive,t
He came in seventh.—“Five and onet
Make seven, you say? It can’t be done.”—
Well, if you think it needs a note,t
A friend in a fur overcoatt
Ran with him, crying all the while,t
“You’ll beat ’em, Charmus, by a mile!”t
And so he came in seventh.t
Therefore, good Zoilus, you seet
The thing is plain as plain can be;t
And with four more for company,t
He would have been eleventh.



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