Death of the Hired Man
Blank-verse dramatic narrative by Robert Frost, published in North of Boston (1914).
Warren and Mary, a farmer and his wife, discuss the return of Silas, an aged farmhand who has worked for them often in the past, always wandering off when other employment offered itself, and coming “home” at times of difficulty. Warren wants to dismiss him, but Mary describes the poignant contrast between his former proud competence and his present broken health, loneliness, and pitiful eagerness to serve. She tells of his infirm mind, which she thinks a sign of approaching death, and her husband is moved to reconsider. When he enters the house to talk with Silas, he discovers the old man dead.