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Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Ballade at Thirty-five


              1This, no song of an ingénue,
              2    This, no ballad of innocence;
              3This, the rhyme of a lady who
              4    Followed ever her natural bents.
              5    This, a solo of sapience,
              6This, a chantey of sophistry,
              7    This, the sum of experiments, --
              8I loved them until they loved me.

              9Decked in garments of sable hue,
            10    Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents,
            11Wearing shower bouquets of rue,
            12    Walk I ever in penitence.
            13    Oft I roam, as my heart repents,
            14Through God's acre of memory,
            15    Marking stones, in my reverence,
            16"I loved them until they loved me."

            17Pictures pass me in long review,--
            18    Marching columns of dead events.
            19I was tender, and, often, true;
            20    Ever a prey to coincidence.
            21    Always knew I the consequence;
            22Always saw what the end would be.
            23    We're as Nature has made us -- hence
            24I loved them until they loved me.

        L'ENVOI

            25Princes, never I'd give offense,
            26    Won't you think of me tenderly?
            27Here's my strength and my weakness, gents, --
            28    I loved them until they loved me.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Enough Rope: Poems by Dorothy Parker (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926): 74. PS 3531 A5855E5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 26 June 1924
Publication date note: Life (June 26, 1924): 12
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/6

Rhyme: ababbcbc


Other poems by Dorothy Parker