Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • We were very tired, we were very merry —
  • We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
  • It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable —
  • But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
  • We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
  • And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
  • We were very tired, we were very merry —
  • We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
  • And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
  • From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
  • And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
  • And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
  • We were very tired, we were very merry,
  • We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
  • We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
  • And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
  • And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
  • And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) was born in Rockland, Maine, attended Vassar College, and upon graduation moved to Greenwich Village. In 1917, she published Renascence and Other Poems and in 1920 she published A Few Figs from Thistles, in which her poem “Recuerdo” appeared. The poem had originally appeared in the May, 1919, issue of Poetry magazine. In 1923, when Millay was 31 years old, she published The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A master of rhymed, metrical forms and a superb sonneteer, Millay wrote a poetry that was at once witty, perceptive, passionate, and exquisitely wrought. Beautiful and bisexual, she had many lovers both before and during her marriage to Eugen Jan Boissevain. Millay’s brilliant achievements in strict form place her in the first ranks of 20th-century American poets and today, when many of the high modernists are studied only in university classrooms, Millay’s poetry remains widely read and admired by a literate general audience.

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