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The Suicide Analysis

Author: Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay Type: Poetry Views: 267

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"Curse thee, Life, I will live with thee no more!

Thou hast mocked me, starved me, beat my body sore!

And all for a pledge that was not pledged by me,

I have kissed thy crust and eaten sparingly

That I might eat again, and met thy sneers

With deprecations, and thy blows with tears,-

Aye, from thy glutted lash, glad, crawled away,

As if spent passion were a holiday!

And now I go. Nor threat, nor easy vow

Of tardy kindness can avail thee now

With me, whence fear and faith alike are flown;

Lonely I came, and I depart alone,

And know not where nor unto whom I go;

But that thou canst not follow me I know."Thus I to Life, and ceased; but through my brain

My thought ran still, until I spake again:"Ah, but I go not as I came,-no trace

Is mine to bear away of that old grace

I brought! I have been heated in thy fires,

Bent by thy hands, fashioned to thy desires,

Thy mark is on me! I am not the same

Nor ever more shall be, as when I came.

Ashes am I of all that once I seemed.

In me all's sunk that leapt, and all that dreamed

Is wakeful for alarm,-oh, shame to thee,

For the ill change that thou hast wrought in me,

Who laugh no more nor lift my throat to sing

Ah, Life, I would have been a pleasant thing

To have about the house when I was grown

If thou hadst left my little joys alone!

I asked of thee no favor save this one:

That thou wouldst leave me playing in the sun!

And this thou didst deny, calling my name

Insistently, until I rose and came.

I saw the sun no more.-It were not well

So long on these unpleasant thoughts to dwell,

Need I arise to-morrow and renew

Again my hated tasks, but I am through

With all things save my thoughts and this one night,

So that in truth I seem already quite

Free,and remote from thee,-I feel no haste

And no reluctance to depart; I taste

Merely, with thoughtful mien, an unknown draught,

That in a little while I shall have quaffed."Thus I to Life, and ceased, and slightly smiled,

Looking at nothing; and my thin dreams filed

Before me one by one till once again

I set new words unto an old refrain:"Treasures thou hast that never have been mine!

Warm lights in many a secret chamber shine

Of thy gaunt house, and gusts of song have blown

Like blossoms out to me that sat alone!

And I have waited well for thee to show

If any share were mine,-and now I go

Nothing I leave, and if I naught attain

I shall but come into mine own again!"Thus I to Life, and ceased, and spake no more,

But turning, straightway, sought a certain door

In the rear wall. Heavy it was, and low

And dark,-a way by which none e'er would go

That other exit had, and never knock

Was heard thereat,-bearing a curious lock

Some chance had shown me fashioned faultily,

Whereof Life held content the useless key,

And great coarse hinges, thick and rough with rust,

Whose sudden voice across a silence must,

I knew, be harsh and horrible to hear,-

A strange door, ugly like a dwarf.-So near

I came I felt upon my feet the chill

Of acid wind creeping across the sill.

So stood longtime, till over me at last

Came weariness, and all things other passed

To make it room; the still night drifted deep

Like snow about me, and I longed for sleep.But, suddenly, marking the morning hour,

Bayed the deep-throated bell within the tower!

Startled, I raised my head,-and with a shout

Laid hold upon the latch,-and was without.* * * *Ah, long-forgotten, well-remembered road,Leading me back unto my old abode,My father's house! There in the night I came,And found them feasting, and all things the sameAs they had been before. A splendour hungUpon the walls, and such sweet songs were sungAs, echoing out of very long ago,Had called me from the house of Life, I know.

So fair their raiment shone I looked in shame

On the unlovely garb in which I came;

Then straightway at my hesitancy mocked:

"It is my father's house!" I said and knocked;

And the door opened. To the shining crowd

Tattered and dark I entered, like a cloud,

Seeing no face but his; to him I crept,

And "Father!" I cried, and clasped his knees, and wept.* * * *Ah, days of joy that followed! All alone

I wandered through the house. My own, my own,

My own to touch, my own to taste and smell,

All I had lacked so long and loved so well!

None shook me out of sleep, nor hushed my song,

Nor called me in from the sunlight all day long.I know not when the wonder came to me

Of what my father's business might be,

And whither fared and on what errands bent

The tall and gracious messengers he sent.

Yet one day with no song from dawn till night

Wondering, I sat, and watched them out of sight.

And the next day I called; and on the third

Asked them if I might go,-but no one heard.

Then, sick with longing, I arose at last

And went unto my father,-in that vast

Chamber wherein he for so many years

Has sat, surrounded by his charts and spheres.

"Father," I said, "Father, I cannot play

The harp that thou didst give me, and all day

I sit in idleness, while to and fro

About me thy serene, grave servants go;

And I am weary of my lonely ease.

Better a perilous journey overseas

Away from thee, than this, the life I lead,

To sit all day in the sunshine like a weed

That grows to naught,-I love thee more than they

Who serve thee most; yet serve thee in no way.

Father, I beg of thee a little task

To dignify my days,-'tis all I ask

Forever, but forever, this denied,

I perish.""Child," my father's voice replied,

"All things thy fancy hath desired of me

Thou hast received. I have prepared for thee

Within my house a spacious chamber, where

Are delicate things to handle and to wear,

And all these things are thine. Dost thou love song?

My minstrels shall attend thee all day long.

Or sigh for flowers? My fairest gardens stand

Open as fields to thee on every hand.

And all thy days this word shall hold the same:

No pleasure shalt thou lack that thou shalt name.

But as for tasks-" he smiled, and shook his head;

"Thou hadst thy task, and laidst it by," he said.


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