'Renascence' by Edna St. Vincent Millay

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the lineOf the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I'll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And-sure enough!-I see the top!The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I 'most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.I screamed, and-lo!-Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick'ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not,-nay! But needs must suck
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out.-Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weightOf every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire,-
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each,-then mourned for all!A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more,-there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who's six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each cloud's gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and-crash!
Before the wild wind's whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain's cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see,-
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,-
I know not how such things can be!-
I breathed my soul back into me.Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e'er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,-
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat-the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay: A Deep Dive into the Depths of Human Existence

As a lover of poetry, I have read countless works by various poets, but Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Renascence" stands out from the rest. This poem is a masterpiece that reflects the poet's deep understanding of the human soul and the existential questions that plague us all. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve into the poem's themes, structure, and literary devices to uncover its meaning and significance.


Before we begin our analysis, let's take a moment to understand the background of the poem and its author. Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in 1892 in Maine, USA. She was an American poet and playwright who received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, making her the first woman to win this prestigious award. Millay was known for her unconventional lifestyle and her feminist views, which were reflected in her poetry.

"Renascence" is one of Millay's early works, written when she was only nineteen years old. The poem was first published in 1912 in a small literary magazine called "The Lyric Year." It gained popularity quickly and helped Millay establish herself as a gifted poet.


"Renascence" is a poem that deals with several themes, including death, rebirth, and transcendence. The poem is divided into three parts, each exploring these themes in detail.


The first part of the poem begins with the speaker lying on her back, looking up at the sky. She describes the beauty of the world around her, but her thoughts soon turn to death. She wonders what it would be like to die and imagines herself buried under the ground. The speaker's thoughts on death reflect the fear and uncertainty that we all feel when confronted with our mortality.


As the poem progresses, the speaker's thoughts on death give way to a desire for rebirth. She imagines herself rising from the earth, shedding her old self, and becoming something new. This desire for rebirth reflects the human need for renewal and growth.


The final part of the poem focuses on transcendence. The speaker describes a moment of epiphany where she feels connected to the universe and experiences a sense of oneness with all things. This moment of transcendence represents the ultimate goal of human existence – to move beyond our physical limitations and connect with something greater than ourselves.


The structure of "Renascence" is important to its meaning. The poem is divided into three parts, each consisting of eleven stanzas. Each stanza contains six lines and follows a consistent rhyme scheme (ABABCC). This regular structure gives the poem a sense of order and balance, which contrasts with the chaotic emotions that the speaker expresses.

The use of repetition is another important structural device in the poem. The final line of each stanza is repeated in the following stanza, creating a sense of continuity and reinforcing the poem's themes.

Literary Devices

Millay's use of literary devices is masterful in "Renascence." Here are a few examples of the literary devices used in the poem:


The poem is rich in imagery, with vivid descriptions of nature and the speaker's emotions. For example, in the first stanza, the speaker describes the sky as "a dome of many-colored glass" and the trees as "a choir of multitudinous tongues." These images create a sense of awe and wonder, drawing the reader into the speaker's world.


Millay also uses personification to give human qualities to non-human things. For example, in the second stanza, the speaker personifies death as a "dark wind" that "blows out the light." This personification creates a sense of foreboding and emphasizes the power that death holds over us.


Metaphor is another device that Millay uses to great effect in the poem. For example, in the fourth stanza, the speaker compares herself to a seed that is buried in the ground. This metaphor creates a sense of potential and suggests that the speaker has the ability to grow and change.


"Renascence" is a complex poem that can be interpreted in many different ways. Here are a few of the possible interpretations:

A Journey of Self-Discovery

One interpretation of the poem is that it is a journey of self-discovery. The speaker starts with a fear of death and a sense of isolation from the world around her. However, as the poem progresses, she begins to feel a connection to the universe and a sense of oneness with all things. This journey represents the speaker's growth and transformation.

A Reflection of Millay's Worldview

Another interpretation of the poem is that it reflects Millay's worldview. Millay was a feminist and a champion of individuality, and these themes are reflected in the poem. The speaker's desire for rebirth and transcendence can be seen as a rejection of societal norms and a call for individual freedom.

A Meditation on Existence

Finally, the poem can be interpreted as a meditation on existence. The speaker's thoughts on death, rebirth, and transcendence reflect the essential questions that we all face as human beings. The poem suggests that the ultimate goal of our existence is to transcend our physical limitations and connect with something greater than ourselves.


"Renascence" is a timeless poem that speaks to the human soul. Its themes of death, rebirth, and transcendence are universal and resonate with readers across generations. Millay's use of structure and literary devices adds depth and complexity to the poem, making it a masterpiece of modernist poetry. This poem is a testament to Millay's talent as a poet and her understanding of the human condition.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Poetry Renascence: A Masterpiece by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay, a renowned American poet, wrote a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. The Poetry Renascence is a collection of poems that explores the themes of love, nature, and the human condition. This work is a testament to Millay's mastery of language and her ability to evoke powerful emotions in her readers.

The Poetry Renascence was published in 1917, during a time when the world was undergoing significant changes. The First World War was raging, and people were grappling with the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. It was a time of great uncertainty and upheaval, and Millay's work provided a much-needed escape from the chaos of the world.

The collection is divided into three parts, each with its own unique themes and style. The first part, titled Renascence and Other Poems, contains some of Millay's most famous works, including the titular poem, Renascence. This poem is a tour de force of Millay's poetic abilities, as she explores the themes of death, rebirth, and the human condition.

Renascence is a long poem that tells the story of a woman who climbs a mountain and has a spiritual awakening. The poem is divided into three parts, each representing a different stage of the woman's journey. In the first part, the woman climbs the mountain and experiences a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of the world around her. In the second part, she has a vision of the afterlife and realizes the futility of human existence. In the final part, she is reborn and experiences a sense of renewal and hope.

The poem is a powerful meditation on the human condition and the search for meaning in a world that can often seem cruel and indifferent. Millay's use of language is masterful, as she weaves together vivid imagery and powerful metaphors to create a sense of awe and wonder in the reader.

The second part of the collection, A Few Figs from Thistles, is a departure from the more serious tone of the first part. This section contains a series of short, witty poems that explore the themes of love, sex, and the role of women in society. These poems are a reflection of Millay's own rebellious spirit and her refusal to conform to the traditional gender roles of her time.

One of the most famous poems in this section is First Fig, which begins with the line "My candle burns at both ends." This line has become a popular metaphor for living life to the fullest and not holding back. The poem is a celebration of the joys of life and a rejection of the idea that women should be meek and submissive.

The final section of the collection, Second April, is a return to the more serious tone of the first part. This section contains some of Millay's most powerful and moving poems, including The Buck in the Snow and Spring. These poems explore the themes of death, loss, and the cyclical nature of life.

The Buck in the Snow is a haunting poem that tells the story of a deer that dies in the snow. The poem is a meditation on the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. Millay's use of language is particularly powerful in this poem, as she creates a sense of sadness and loss that is palpable.

Spring, on the other hand, is a celebration of the renewal of life after the long, cold winter. The poem is a reflection on the cyclical nature of life and the idea that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope for renewal and growth.

Overall, The Poetry Renascence is a masterpiece of American poetry. Millay's ability to explore complex themes with clarity and precision is a testament to her mastery of language. Her use of vivid imagery and powerful metaphors creates a sense of wonder and awe in the reader, while her rebellious spirit and refusal to conform to traditional gender roles make her a trailblazer for women in literature. The Poetry Renascence is a timeless work that continues to inspire and move readers to this day.

Editor Recommended Sites

State Machine: State machine events management across clouds. AWS step functions GCP workflow
Data Lineage: Cloud governance lineage and metadata catalog tooling for business and enterprise
Ocaml Tips: Ocaml Programming Tips and tricks
Devops Automation: Software and tools for Devops automation across GCP and AWS
Blockchain Job Board - Block Chain Custody and Security Jobs & Crypto Smart Contract Jobs: The latest Blockchain job postings

Recommended Similar Analysis

Fire and Ice by Robert Lee Frost analysis
Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes analysis
The Widow's Lament In Springtime by William Carlos Williams analysis
Bereft by Robert Frost analysis
Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny by Lisel Mueller analysis
From The 'Antigone' by William Butler Yeats analysis
Life in a Bottle by Robert Browning analysis
Comin Thro' The Rye by Robert Burns analysis
To A Contemporary Bunkshooter by Carl Sandburg analysis
Reaper and the Flowers, The by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow analysis