Miniver Cheevy, Child of Scorn

Miniver Cheevy is the useless anti-hero of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem by the same name. But what did Robinson mean by calling him a child of scorn?

The way I see it, it has to do with Miniver himself, not his childhood or the way his parents treated him, as some people seem to think. A child is the product of his parents, so since Miniver scorns everything around him, scorn is his true parent.

So you can agree with me, or you can agree with all those commentaries on how it is about the poet himself because his momma really wanted a girl. I really doubt anyone got that particular explanation from Mr. Robinson himself.

In Shelley’s To The Night, you may recall that Death is Night’s brother, while Sleep is its child. I also recall reading a passage somewhere that suicide is the child or stepchild of depression. You get the idea.

What amuses me about Miniver Cheevy is, just like all people who think life would have been so glorious if they were born in a different time period or place, he assumes he would have been a prominent person when he probably would have been just another peasant.

Here is the poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam’s neighbors.

Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

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