Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On this day in literature . . .

~ 1819 ~ James Russell Lowell, one of the "New England School Poets" during American Romanticism, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

~ 1892 ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay is born in Rockland, Maine.

Millay is a modern American poet, yet one who wrote primarily in a traditional style (something many other poets had abandoned). Perhaps she found in art form the order lacking in her own life. Below is one of my favorite sonnets by Millay.

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.



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