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Dorothy Parker
1893 -1967

"The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity."


Faute de Mieux

Travel, trouble, music, art,
   A kiss, a frock, a rhyme -
I never said they feed my heart,
   But still they pass my time.

The Leal

The friends I made have slipped and strayed.
And who's the one that cares
A trifling lot and best forgot -
And that's my tale, and theirs.
Then if my 'friendships break and bend
There's little need to cry
The while I know that every foe
Is faithful till I die.'


Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.

Unfortunate Coincidence

By the time you swear you're his,
   Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
   Infinite, undying -
Lady, make a note of this:
   One of you is lying.


Some men break your heart in two,
  Some men fawn and flatter,
Some men never look at you;
  And that cleans up the matter.

A Very Short Song

Once when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that was very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk.
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.


I never thought that heav'n would lose its blue
And sullen storm-clouds mask the gentle sky;
I never thought the rose's velvet hue
Would pale and sicken, though we said good-by.
I never dreamed the lark would hush its note
As day succeeded ever-drearier day,
Nor knew the song that swelled the robin's throat
Would fade to silence, when you went away.

I never knew the sun's irradiant beams
Upon the brooding earth no more would shine,
Nor thought that only in my mocking dreams
Would happiness that once I knew be mine.
I never thought the slim moon, mournfully,
Would shroud her pallid self in murky night.
Dear heart, I never thought these things would be-
I never thought they would, and I was right.

The False Friends

They laid their hands upon my head,
They stroked my cheek and brow;
And time could heal a hurt, they said,
And time could dim a vow.
And they were pitiful and mild
Who whispered to me then;
"The heart that breaks in April, child;
Will mend in May again."
Oh, many a mended heart they knew;
So old they were, and wise.
And little did they have to do
To come to me with lies!
Who flings me silly talk of May
Shall meet a bitter soul;
For June was nearly spent away
Before my heart was whole.


Oh seek, my love, your newer way;
I'll not be left in sorrow.
So long as I have yesterday
Go take your damned tomorrow!


And if my heart be scarred and burned,
The safer, I, for all I learned;
The calmer, I, to see it true
That ways of love are never new-
The love that sets you daft and dazed
Is every love that ever blazed;
The happier, I, to fathom this:
A kiss is every other kiss.
The reckless vow, the lovely name,
When Helen walked, were spoke the same;
The weighted breast, the grinding woe,
When Phaon fled, were ever so.
Oh, it is sure as it is sad
That any lad is every lad,
And what's a girl, to dare implore
Her dear be hers forevermore?
Though he be tried and he be bold,
And swearing death should he be cold,
He'll run the path the others went....
But you, my sweet, are different.


This I say, and this I know:
  Love has seen the last of me.
Love's a trodden lane to woe,
  Love's a path to misery.

This I know, and knew before,
  This I tell you, of my years:
Hide your heart, and lock your door.
  Hell's afloat in lovers' tears.

Give your heart, and toss and moan;
  What a pretty fool you look!
I am sage, who sit alone;
  Here's my wool, and here's my book.

Look! A lad's a-waiting there,
  Tall he is and bold, and gay.
What the devil do I care
  What I know, and what I say?


Into love and out again,
  Thus I went, and thus I go.
Spare your voice, and hold your pen-
  Well and bitterly I know
All the songs were ever sung,
  All the words were ever said;
Could it be, when I was young,
  Some one dropped me on my head?

The Choice

He'd have given me rolling lands,
  Houses of marble, and billowing farms,
Pearls, to trickle between my hands,
  Smoldering rubies, to circle my arms.
You- you'd only a lilting song,
  Only a melody, happy and high,
You were sudden and swift and strong-
  Never a thought for another had I.

He'd have given me laces rare,
  Dresses that glimmered with frosty sheen,
Shining ribbons to wrap my hair,
  Horses to draw me, as fine as a queen.
You- you'd only to whistle low,
  Gayly I followed wherever you led.
I took you, and I let him go-
  Somebody ought to examine my head!


Every love's the love before
   In a duller dress.
That's the measure of my lore -
   Here's my bitterness:
Would I knew a little more,
   Or very much less!

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