Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Edwin Arlington Robinson: The House on the Hill

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Public Domain

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A villanelle is comprised of 19 lines made up of five tercets and a concluding quatrain. The first and third lines of the first stanza are repeated alternately in the succeeding stanzas as a refrain, and form a final couplet in the quatrain. Although the form first appears as a late sixteenth-century French poem ‘Villanelle (J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle)’ by Jean Passerat, it was in the twentieth century that it became a great English verse form — due, in part, to the influence of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s work.
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This entry was posted on July 27, 2018 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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