I can't figure out the phrase «conquest narrows the peaceful fields» from the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. What does it means?


1 Answer 1


Narrows is likely being used in the sense of shrinks--it's an anti-war poem, so the observation is being made in that context (arrows shrink the peaceful fields in wartime). She was making a rhyme with arrows, so there is the chance she wanted a secondary meaning of arrows/narrow the soldier's life--whenever there is a rhyme in place within a poem, you should check to see the relation of the words and how they are being employed within the framework of the poem.

Make bright the arrows

Gather the shields:

Conquest narrows

The peaceful fields.

Stock well the quiver

With arrows bright:

The bowman feared

Need never fight.

Make bright the arrows,

O peaceful and wise!

Gather the shields

Against surprise.

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