This, no song of an ingénue,
     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.

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.

From Enough Rope (Boni & Liveright, 1926) by Dorothy Parker. This poem is in the public domain.