Romance” and “Art” are personified in the fourth stanza. What does Cheevy think has happened to romance and art in his own time?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Miniver Cheevy" by Edwin Arlington Robinson is a narrative poem consisting of eight rhymed quatrains. The eponymous protagonist is described by a third person narrator who has access to Miniver's internal thoughts but gradually reveals a degree of skepticism with regard to Miniver's ideals. In many ways the poem is a reductio ad absurdum of Miniver's view of art, and defense of the sort of modern writing exemplified by Robinson himself.

Miniver is described as longing for an idealized past world of romance and chivalry, of the sort found in Homer and medieval romances. He rather unrealistically sees only the glamour in the epic of legendary battles and wandering minstrels of the past, and sees both modern literature and modern life as declining to a sort of domesticated banality. He creates an idyllic vision of vagrant artists wandering around the countryside rather than settled in bourgeois domesticity, without actually thinking that, for example, sleeping outdoors in winter, lacking a regular income, and enduring squalor and starvation are not romantic, but horrible experiences. 

gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Cheevy, who glorifies the days of old, feels that in his own time both art and romance are in serious decline. Art is now marginalised, left to wander around forlornly, with no place or purpose in society. Romance has similarly become poor, reduced to living 'on the town', on welfare handouts. Cheevy feels that modern life is utterly dull, completely unlike the old days of classical and medieval glamour, of epic battles and mighty deeds. Cheevy therefore is a staunch critic of modern society, but he himself is also seen to be quite ineffectual in always extolling the past and not bothering to do anything in the present, except drink.