Speed the Parting—

By Elinor Wylie 1885–1928 Elinor Wylie
I shall not sprinkle with dust
A creature so clearly lunar;
You must die—but of course you must—
And better later than sooner.
But if it should be in a year
That year itself must perish;
How dingy a thing is fear,
And sorrow, how dull to cherish!
And if it should be in a day
That day would be dark by evening,
But the morning might still be gay
And the moon have golden leavening.
And beauty’s a moonlight grist
That comes to the mills of dying;
The silver grain may be missed
But there’s no great good in crying.
Though luminous things are mould
They survive in a glance that crossed them,
And it’s not very kind to scold
The empty air that has lost them.
The limpid blossom of youth
Turns into a poison berry;
Having perceived this truth
I shall not weep but be merry.
Therefore die when you please;
It’s not very wise to worry;
I shall not shiver and freeze;
I shall not even be sorry.
Beautiful things are wild;
They are gone, and you go after;
Therefore I mean, my child,
To charm your going with laughter.
Love and pity are strong,
But wisdom is happily greater;
You will die, I suppose, before long,
Oh, worser sooner than later!

Elinor Wylie, “Speed the Parting—” from Selected Works of Elinor Wylie, edited by Evelyn Helmick Hively. Used with the permission of The Kent State University Press, http://upress.kent.edu/books/Hively2.htm.

Source: Selected Works of Elinor Wylie (Kent State University Press, 2005)

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Poet Elinor Wylie 1885–1928

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Occasions Farewells & Good Luck

 Elinor  Wylie

Biography

Extravagantly praised in her lifetime, the poet and novelist Elinor Wylie suffered a posthumous reversal in her reputation but has experienced something of a revival of interest among feminist critics since the 1980s.

Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey to a socially prominent family, and grew up in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. As the daughter of a lawyer who later became solicitor general of the United . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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