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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Dorothy Parker's poem Liebestod

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