Liebestod – Dorothy Parker

When I was bold, when I was bold-

And that’s a hundred years!-

Oh, never I thought my breast could hold

The terrible weight of tears.
I said: “Now some be dolorous;

I hear them wail and sigh,

And if it be Love that play them thus,

Then never a love will I.”
I said: “I see them rack and rue,

I see them wring and ache,

And little I’ll crack my heart in two

With little the heart can break.”
When I was gay, when I was gay-

It’s ninety years and nine!-

Oh, never I thought that Death could lay

His terrible hand in mine.
I said: “He plies his trade among

The musty and infirm;

A body so hard and bright and young

Could never be meat for worm.”
“I see him dull their eyes,” I said,

“And still their rattling breath.

And how under God could I be dead

That never was meant for Death?”
But Love came by, to quench my sleep,

And here’s my sundered heart;

And bitter’s my woe, and black, and deep,

And little I guessed a part.
Yet this there is to cool my breast,

And this to ease my spell;

Now if I were Love’s, like all the rest,

Then can I be Death’s, as well.
And he shall have me, sworn and bound,

And I’ll be done with Love.

And better I’ll be below the ground

Than ever I’ll be above. 

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