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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)

 

 

Impressions

I. Les Silhouettes.

            The sea is flecked with bars of grey
            The dull dead wind is out of tune,
            And like a withered leaf the moon
Is blown across the stormy bay.

            Etched clear upon the pallid sand
            The black boat lies: a sailor boy
            Clambers aboard in careless joy
With laughing face and gleaming hand.

            And overheard the curlews cry,
            Where through the dusky upland grass
            The young brown-throated reapers pass,
Like silhouettes against the sky.

II. La Fuite De La Lune.

            To outer senses there is peace,
            A dreamy peace on either hand,
            Deep silence in the shadowy land,
Deep silence where the shadows cease.

            Save for a cry that echoes shrill
            From some lone bird disconsolate;
            A corncrake calling to its mate;
The answer from the misty hill.

            An suddenly the moon withdraws
            Her sickle from the lightening skies,
            And to her sombre cavern flies,
Wrapped in a veil of yellow gauze.

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

The Thames nocturne of blue and gold
    Changed to a Harmony in grey:
    A barge with ochre-coloured hay
Dropt from the wharf: and chill and cold

The yellow fog came creeping down
    The bridges, till the houses’ walls
    Seemed changed to shadows, and S. Paul’s
Loomed like a

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

The sea was sapphire coloured, and the sky
    Burned like a heated opal through air,
    We hoisted sail; the wind was blowing fair
For the blue lands that to the eastward lie.
From the steep prow I marked with quickening eye
    Zakynthos, every olive grove and creek,
    Ithaca’s