Do you know who Richard Cory was?

Tonight, whilst veh, veh drunk, I was introduced to some poor unfortunate whose surname, according to his conference badge, was Cory, and dredging up my Simon and Garfunkel memory, I asked him if he knew Richard Cory.

He had a vague recollection but the fine gentleman I was with, who claimed to own a “Best of” Simon and Garfunkel CD, had no idea idea who Richard Cory was either.

This led to me quizzing the next 20 or so people who came to the bar I was standing near – “Do you know who Richard Cory was?  He owned one half of this whole town?”

No-one knew, but several people had convincing goes at trying to persuade us that they knew everyone who owned one half of any old town.

Finally, one sharp young man whose badge proclaimed him to be Julian Tisi, looked at me askance and hummed a tune and said, “Isn’t it a song?”

Full marks to young Tisi.

It is a song, by Simon and Garfunkel, which I misremembered as being on Wednesday Morning, 3am, when in fact it’s actually the 7th song on Sounds of Silence, and one of two songs about suicide on the one record.

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker’s only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he’s got.
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:
“Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head.”

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

4 comments on “Do you know who Richard Cory was?

  1. robert says:

    and it was around well before S&G, 19thC, though they (I guess) added something to the Edwin Arlington Robinson original..

  2. Nick says:

    It was all my fault – I introduced you to this man and it seemed to spark you off…

    Of course, if he ever rises up to become well-known in the party, we at least know how his Glee Club song will go.

  3. DLS says:

    the question is-do you know who Edwin Arlington Robinson was!?

  4. niles says:

    Well, I didn’t until I started googling S&G lyrics!

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