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Short poem

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

Miniver Cheevy

              1Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
              2    Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
              3He wept that he was ever born,
              4    And he had reasons.

              5Miniver loved the days of old
              6    When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
              7The vision of a warrior bold
              8    Would set him dancing.

              9Miniver sighed for what was not,
            10    And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
            11He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
            12    And Priam's neighbors.

            13Miniver mourned the ripe renown
            14    That made so many a name so fragrant;
            15He mourned Romance, now on the town,
            16    And Art, a vagrant.

            17Miniver loved the Medici,
            18    Albeit he had never seen one;
            19He would have sinned incessantly
            20    Could he have been one.

            21Miniver cursed the commonplace
            22    And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
            23He missed the mediæval grace
            24    Of iron clothing.

            25Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
            26    But sore annoyed was he without it;
            27Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
            28    And thought about it.

            29Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
            30    Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
            31Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
            32    And kept on drinking.


11] Thebes: Greek city on the Nile.
Camelot: the mythical city of King Arthur's court.

12] Priam: king of Troy, father of Aeneus (founder of Rome) and killed in the seven years' war with the Greek at Troy.

17] Medici: rulers of Renaissance Florence known for both a love of scholarship and art, and a penchant for a pitiless use of power.

22] a khaki suit: a military uniform, coloured yellow-brown.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems, with an introduction by John Drinkwater (London: Cecil Palmer, 1922): 347-48. PS 3535 O25A17 1922 Robarts Library.
First publication date: March 1907
Publication date note: Scribner's Magazine (March 1907): 357.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/3

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson