A Few Figs from Thistles eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 10 pages of information about A Few Figs from Thistles.

A Few Figs from Thistles

Poems and Sonnets


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Thanks are due to the editors of Ainslie’s, The Dial, Pearson’s Poetry, Reedy’s Mirror, and Vanity Fair, for their kind permission to republish various of these poems.

This edition of “A Few Figs from Thistles” contains several poems not included in earlier editions.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
  It will not last the night ;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—­
  It gives a lovely light!

Second Fig

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: 
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!


We were very tired, we were very merry—­
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. 
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—­
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—­
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. 
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.


And if I loved you Wednesday,
  Well, what is that to you? 
I do not love you Thursday—­
  So much is true.

And why you come complaining
  Is more than I can see. 
I loved you Wednesday,—­yes—­but what
  Is that to me?

To the Not Impossible Him

How shall I know, unless I go
  To Cairo and Cathay,
Whether or not this blessed spot
  Is blest in every way?

Now it may be, the flower for me
  Is this beneath my nose;
How shall I tell, unless I smell
  The Carthaginian rose?

The fabric of my faithful love
  No power shall dim or ravel
Whilst I stay here,—­but oh, my dear,
  If I should ever travel!

Macdougal Street

As I went walking up and down to take the evening air,
  (Sweet to meet upon the street, why must I be so shy?)
I saw him lay his hand upon her torn black hair;
  ("Little dirty Latin child, let the lady by!”)

Project Gutenberg
A Few Figs from Thistles from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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