This, no song of an ingenue,
This, no ballad of innocence;
This, the rhyme of a lady who
Followed ever her natural bents.
This, a solo of sapience,
This, a chantey of sophistry,
This, the sum of experiments,
I loved them until they loved me.

Decked in garments of sable hue,
Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents,
Wearing shower bouquets of rue,
Walk I ever in penitence.
Oft I roam, as my heart repents,
Through God’s acre of memory,
Marking stones, in my reverence,
“I loved them until they loved me.”

Pictures pass me in long review,
Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender and, often, true;
Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence;
Always saw what the end would be.
We’re as Nature has made us, hence
I loved them until they loved me.

L’ENVOI

Princes, never I’d give offense,
Won’t you think of me tenderly?
Here’s my strength and my weakness, gents,
I loved them until they loved me.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Dorothy Parker's poem Ballade at Thirty-Five

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