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About this poet

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, on October 16, 1854. His father, William Wilde, was a surgeon, and his mother, Jane Francesca Wilde, published poetry under the name Speranza. Wilde attended Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874 and Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1874 to 1878. At Oxford, he received the Newdigate Prize for his long poem Ravenna (T. Shrimpton and Son, 1878). He also became involved in the aesthetic movement, advocating for the value of beauty in art.

After graduating from Oxford, Wilde moved to London to pursue a literary career. He published his first full-length book of poetry, Poems (Roberts Brothers), in 1881. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and together they had two children. In 1888 he published his first work of prose, The Happy Prince, and Other Tales (D. Nutt, 1888).

Wilde is perhaps best known for his plays, including An Ideal Husband (L. Smithers, 1899) and The Importance of Being Earnest (E. Matthews and John Lane, 1899), both first performed in 1895. He is also the author of several fairy tales, critical essays, and other works of prose, as well as the iconic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (Ward, Lock and Co., 1891).

George Bernard Shaw writes, “In a certain sense Mr. Wilde is to me our only thorough playwright. He plays with everything: with wit, with philosophy, with drama, with actors and audience, with the whole theatre.”

During the 1890s, Wilde faced three criminal and civil trials involving his relationship with the poet Lord Alfred Douglas. In 1895 he was found guilty of “gross indecency,” and he was imprisoned in Reading Gaol from 1895 to 1897. The Ballad of Reading Gaol (L. Smithers), a long poem describing the horrors Wilde faced in prison, was published in 1898 under the pseudonym C. 3. 3., his former cell number.

Wilde died of acute meningitis in Paris, France, on November 30, 1900.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (L. Smithers, 1898)
The Sphinx (E. Matthews and John Lane, 1894)
Poems (Roberts Brothers, 1881)
Ravenna (T. Shrimpton and Son, 1878)

Prose
De Profundis (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905)
The Rise of Historical Criticism (Sherwood Press, 1905)
Epigrams & Aphorisms (J. W. Luce, 1905)
The Soul of Man Under Socialism (Chiswick Pess, 1895)
Intentions (Mead and Co., 1894)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Ward, Lock and Co., 1891)
The Happy Prince, and Other Tales (D. Nutt, 1888)

Drama
The Plays of Oscar Wilde (J. W. Luce & Co., 1905)
An Ideal Husband (L. Smithers, 1899)
The Importance of Being Earnest (L. Smithers, 1899)
A Woman of No Importance (E. Matthews and John Lane, 1894)
Salomé, drame an un acte (Librairie de l’art independent, 1893)

 

 

Endymion

(for music)

The apple trees are hung with gold,
    And birds are loud in Arcady,
The sheep lie bleating in the fold,
The wild goat runs across the wold,
But yesterday his love he told,
    I know he will come back to me.
O rising moon! O Lady moon!
    Be you my lover’s sentinel,
    You cannot choose but know him well,
For he is shod with purple shoon,
You cannot choose but know my love,
    For he a shepherd’s crook doth bear,
And he is soft as any dove,
    And brown and curly is his hair.

The turtle now has ceased to call
    Upon her crimson-footed groom,
They grey wolf prowls about the stall,
The lily’s singing seneschal
Sleeps in the lily-bell, and all
    The violet hills are lost in gloom.
O risen moon! O holy moon!
    Stand on the tope of Helice,
And if my own true love you see,
Ah! if you see the purple shoon,
The hazel crook, the lad’s brown hair,
    The goat-skin wrapped about his arm,
Tell him that I am waiting where
    The rushlight glimmers in the Farm.

The falling dew is cold and chill,
    And no bird sings in Arcady,
The little fauns have left the hill,
Even the tired daffodil
Has closed its gilded doors, and still
    My lover comes not back to me.
False moon! False moon! O waning moon!
    Where is my own true lover gone,
    Where are the lips vermilion,
The shepherd’s crook, the purple shoon?
Why spread that silver pavilion,
    Why wear that veil of drifting mist?
Ah! thou hast young Endymion,
    Thou hast the lips that should be kissed!

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, on October 16, 1854. He attended Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1874 to 1878, where he received the Newdigate Prize for his long poem Ravenna (T. Shrimpton and Son, 1878). He died in Paris on November 30, 1900.

by this poet

poem

Rid of the world’s injustice, and his pain,
    He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue:
    Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain.
    No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew,
    But gentle

poem

My limbs are wasted with a flame,
    My feet are sore with travelling,
For calling on my Lady’s name
    My lips have now forgot to sing.

O Linnet in the wild-rose brake
    Strain for my Love thy melody,
O Lark sing louder for love’s sake,
    My gentle Lady passeth by.

poem

Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away
    From these white cliffs, and high embattled towers;
    This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours
Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey,
And the age changed unto a mimic play
    Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours:
    For all