*Pity me not because the light of day* by Edna St

‘Pity me not because the light of
day’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay
LO: To explore how Edna Vincent uses
language and structure to show the
effect of time and age on love in a
What’s it about?
• This poem is about the loss of love and the
breakdown of a relationship.
• The images in the poem signifies the end of
something, but also something that’s part of a
• In this poem the poet realises that the one she
loves did not love her long enough, in her
heart she refuses to accept it.
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Daylight brings happiness
but this does not last.
1st quatrain
Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by;
Poet doesn’t want
sympathy from the
Flowers die from fields as the year goes by. The
Natural way of the world is for nothing to last
2nd quatrain
These images
all fade away
from their
original place
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me.
He doesn’t love her anymore. She expects
no pity as she feels all men fall out of love.
She believes this is natural (like the moon &
Wane = fade/ disappear/ vanish
Ebbing = go out/ flow away
Alliteration =
quiet, unnoticed,
Alliteration reinforces length
of time.
3rd quatrain
Creates sound of wind
Love is fickle and
moves ‘like flowers in
the wind’
This have I known always: Love is not more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales:
Alliteration reinforces idea of deliberate
and damaging effect nature has on things
Alliteration strengthens
Shifting nature of love.
Tone changes slightly/ love compared to something
more aggressive/ violent
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.
Rhyming couplet reveals that she feels she should be pitied, not for
Pain of unrequited love, but for being naïve about love, towards
Something that she knew would happen.
Millay feels that the love men have for women finished
as quickly as it starts.
* Natural imagery used
Compare to other poems that have
• natural imagery
• That deal with changing relationships over time
How does structure show how
relationships change over time?
The Sonnet form allows the poem to be broken up into
1st quatrain: all things end naturally (daylight, natural
2nd quatrain: all things move away from their natural place
(the moon, the tide, man’s desire for women)
3rd quatrain: tone changes slightly, love compared to
something more aggressive and damaging.
Rhyming couplet: Pity her because she is naïve towards
something that she knew would happen (that his love for
her would not last.)
Essay question:
Explain how the poet uses language and
imagery to present her ideas about love in a

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