Saturday, June 10, 2006

Miniver Cheevy

This weekend has been a busy one for me, so rather than making a long entry, I thought I would post one of my favourite poems by one of my faovurite poets. Edward Arlington Robinson was a late 19th century/early 20th century poet, born in Maine. His style was very traditional and owes a lot to both William Shakespeare and Ben Johnson. While his style was traditional, however, his subject matter was very untraditional. Many of his poems took the form of short, often tragic character sketches of the sort of people he might encounter in his native New England. "Miniver Cheevy" is one of those character sketches, a poem about a man who feels he was born in the wrong time. I am sure many have had this feeling at one time or another, but very few have probably taken it to the extremes that Miniver does in the poem.

"Miniver Cheevy"
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediaeval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

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