And You As Well Must Die, Beloved Dust

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

And you as well must die, beloved dust,
And all your beauty stand you in no stead;
This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head,
This body of flame and steel, before the gust
Of Death, or under his autumnal frost,
Shall be as any leaf, be no less dead
Than the first leaf that fell,—this wonder fled.
Altered, estranged, disintegrated, lost.
Nor shall my love avail you in your hour.
In spite of all my love, you will arise
Upon that day and wander down the air
Obscurely as the unattended flower,
It mattering not how beautiful you were,
Or how beloved above all else that dies.

 

Ashes Of Life

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike; 
    Eat I must, and sleep I will, — and would that night were here! 
  But ah! — to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike! 
    Would that it were day again! — with twilight near!  
  Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do; 
    This or that or what you will is all the same to me;  
  But all the things that I begin I leave before I'm through, —  
    There's little use in anything as far as I can see.  
  Love has gone and left me, — and the neighbors knock and borrow, 
    And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, —  
  And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow 
    There's this little street and this little house.

I think I should have loved you presently

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I think I should have loved you presently, 
And given in earnest words I flung in jest; 
And lifted honest eyes for you to see, 
And caught your hand against my cheek and breast; 
And all my pretty follies flung aside 
That won you to me, and beneath your gaze, 
Naked of reticence and shorn of pride, 
Spread like a chart my little wicked ways. 
I, that had been to you, had you remained, 
But one more waking from a recurrent dream, 
Cherish no less the certain stakes I gained, 
And walk your memory’s halls, austere, supreme, 
A ghost in marble of a girl you knew 
Who would have loved you in a day or two.

Dirge Without Music

 by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve. 
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.