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Edna St. Vincent Millay

(22 February 1892 – 19 October 1950 / Rockland / Maine / United States)

Lines Written In Recapitulation


I could not bring this splendid world nor any trading beast
In charge of it, to defer, no, not to give ear, not in the least
Appearance, to my handsome prophecies,
which here I ponder and put by.

I am left simpler, less encumbered, by the consciousness
that I shall by no pebble in my dirty sling
avail To slay one purple giant four feet high and distribute arms
among his tall attendants, who spit at his name
when spitting on the ground:
They will be found one day Prone where they fell, or dead sitting
—and pock-marked wall
Supporting the beautiful back straight as an oak
before it is old.

I have learned to fail. And I have had my say.
Yet shall I sing until my voice crack
(this being my leisure, this my holiday)
That man was a special thing, and no commodity,
a thing improper to be sold.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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