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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)

 

 

Her Voice

The wild bee reels from bough to bough
    With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
    Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
            In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
            I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
    As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,—
    It shall be, I said, for eternity
            ‘Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done.
            Love’s web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
    Sway in the summer air,
Here n the valley never a breeze
    Scatters the thistledown, but there
            Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
            And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
    What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
    On some outward voyaging argosy,—
            Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
            How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
    But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
    Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
            Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbor in some bay,
            And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
    But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
    I have my beauty,—you your Art,
            Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
            Like me and you.

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 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.

by this poet

poem

Like burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
    Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
    Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
And the slight lizard show his jewelled head.
And, where the chaliced poppies flame to red,
    In the still chamber of yon pyramid

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

poem

(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