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Fragment Sixty-Eight Analysis



Author: poem of H.D. Type: poem Views: 5

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     . . . even in the house of Hades.



     —Sappho



     1



I envy you your chance of death,

how I envy you this.

I am more covetous of him

even than of your glance,

I wish more from his presence

though he torture me in a grasp,

terrible, intense.



Though he clasp me in an embrace

that is set against my will

and rack me with his measure,

effortless yet full of strength,

and slay me

in that most horrible contest,

still, how I envy you your chance.



Through he pierce me—imperious—

iron—fever—dust—

though beauty is slain

when I perish,

I envy you death.

What is beauty to me?

has she not slain me enough,

have I not cried in agony of love,

birth, hate,

in pride crushed?



What is left after this?

what can death loose in me

after your embrace?

your touch,



your limbs are more terrible

to do me hurt.

What can death mar in me

that you have not?



     2



What can death send me

that you have not?

you gathered violets,

you spoke:

"your hair is not less black,

nor less fragrant.

nor in your eyes is less light,

your hair is not less sweet

with purple in the lift of lock;"

why were those slight words

and the violets you gathered

of such worth?



How I envy you death;

what could death bring,

more black, more set with sparks

to slay, to affright,

than the memory of those first violets,

the chance lift of your voice,

the chance blinding frenzy

as you bent?



     3



So the goddess has slain me

for your chance smile

and my scarf unfolding

as you stooped to it;

so she trapped me

with upward sweep of your arm

as you lifted the veil,

and the swift smile and selfless.



Could I have known?

nay, spare pity,

though I break,

crushed under the goddess' hate,

though I fall beaten at last,

so high have I thrust my glance

up into her presence.



Do not pity me, spare that,

but how I envy you

your chance of death.






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