A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Penitent" by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
From Millay, Edna St. Vincent. A Few Figs From Thistles   New York: Harper & Brothers, 1922. p. 25-26.

[Page 25] 


I HAD a little Sorrow,
  Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
  And shut us all within;
And, "Little Sorrow, weep," said I,
"And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
  And think how bad I've been!"

Alas for pious planning–
  It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
  The lamp might have been lit!
My little Sorrow would not weep,
My little Sin would go to sleep–
To save my soul I could not keep
  My graceless mind on it!

So up I got in anger,
  And took a book I had,

[Page 26] 

And put a ribbon on my hair
  To please a passing lad.

And, "One thing there's no getting by–
I've been a wicked girl," said I;
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
  I might as well be glad!"


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom