Dorothy Parker 1893 (Long Branch) – 1967 (New York City)

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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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:16 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,193
Words 251
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. more…

All Dorothy Parker poems | Dorothy Parker Books

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    "Liebestod" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 Jun 2024. <>.

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