Summary and Analysis

Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in 1892, was raised to be an independent thinker and lover of the literary arts. A prevalent poet and writer, she is most known for the poetry collection The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver (1922), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923, the poem “Renascence” (1912), and the play The King’s Henchman (1927), which was considered one of America’s first great operas. Millay’s poem “Spring,” published in 1921, portrays her quick wit and her penchant for deviating from the norm. Instead of romanticizing the season of spring, Millay portrays it as an “idiot, babbling” and shows readers a new perspective on the clichéd aspects of the season.

Line by Line Summary and Analysis

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Spring” rejects the typical, romantic depictions of the often-idealized season. Not only does Millay use cutting imagery and diction, she also wrote the poem in free verse, meaning that her poem has no fixed rhyme scheme or meter. Although the majority of Millay’s work uses traditional verse, this poem’s formal looseness underscores the argument that spring is silly, meaningless, or overrated.

Line one begins with the speaker asking a pertinent question: “To what purpose, April, do you return again?” This line introduces readers to the main argument of the poem—that spring lacks purpose—and to the speaker’s feelings of contempt for and confusion over spring. The speaker breaks further from the poetic norms of meter and rhyme with the next line.

Line two claims, “Beauty is not enough.” This relatively short line is in trimeter, consisting of three metrical feet. The trimeter deviates the poem’s first line, which uses a hexameter, a meter form typically seen in Latin or...

(The entire section is 1,064 words.)