Saturday, May 21, 2011

Classic Poetry - "Tavern" by Edna St. Vincent Millay


I’LL keep a little tavern

Below the high hill’s crest,

Wherein all grey-eyed people

May set them down and rest.

There shall be plates a-plenty,

And mugs to melt the chill

Of all the grey-eyed people

Who happen up the hill.

There sound will sleep the traveller,

And dream his journey’s end,

But I will rouse at midnight

The falling fire to tend.

Aye, ’tis a curious fancy—

But all the good I know

Was taught me out of two grey eyes

A long time ago.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1917

Poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine, USA on February 22, 1892. She was raised, along with two sisters, by her strong, independent mother.

At the age of 20, Millay entered her poem "Renascence" into a contest and won fourth place and publication in The Lyric Year, as well as critical acclaim and a Vassar scholarship. In college, she continued to write poetry and became involved in the theater. She also developed intimate relationships with several women, ultimately considering herself bisexual.

After graduation, Millay, called Vincent by her friends, spent nearly a decade living in New York’s Greenwich Village. During this time she published a volume of poetry, three plays and a grand opera.

Millay married Eugen Boissevain when she was 31. Soon after, he gave up his own work to manage Millay's career, organizing the readings and public appearances for which she became famous. According to Millay, the couple remained "sexually open" throughout their twenty-six-year marriage, which ended with his death in 1949.

Edna St. Vincent Millay died in 1950.


  1. Love this and all that "stuff" about grey eyed folks. I think it's true, I learned much from two grey eyes!

  2. Kim, a good poem choice. I had never read this one by Millay before. The details of her life that you shared were interesting. Never realized she also wrote a grand opera!

  3. I really enjoyed this poem and I like this article series as it shows many so many of the classics I have never read. Wonderful choice for this weeks Classic Poem Kim.

  4. Edna St Vincent Millay is in my top three sonnet writers of all time, and Receurdo is etched into my mind as one of the most beautiful things ever written.


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