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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Literary Birthday – 22 February – Edna St. Vincent Millay


Edna St. Vincent Millay was born 22 February 1892, and died 19 October 1950

Five Quotes

  1. Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.
  2. You see, I am a poet, and not quite right in the head, darling. It’s only that.
  3. I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.
  4. Beauty is whatever gives joy.
  5. A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.
  6. This book, when I am dead, will be
    A little faint perfume of me.
    People who knew me well will say,
    She really used to think that way.

Poetry 

Time Does Not Bring Relief

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, ‘There is no memory of him here!’
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet, playwright, and feminist. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her activism and her many love affairs. Her poetry is available in the Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. She used the pseudonym Nancy Boyd for her prose work.

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar