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Best Famous Oscar Wilde Poems

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Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 Out of the mid-wood's twilight
Into the meadow's dawn,
Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,
Flashes my Faun!

He skips through the copses singing,
And his shadow dances along,
And I know not which I should follow,
Shadow or song!

O Hunter, snare me his shadow!
O Nightingale, catch me his strain!
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain!
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God.
Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance— And must I lose a soul's inheritance?
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 Nay, let us walk from fire unto fire,
From passionate pain to deadlier delight, -
I am too young to live without desire,
Too young art thou to waste this summer night
Asking those idle questions which of old
Man sought of seer and oracle, and no reply was told.
For, sweet, to feel is better than to know, And wisdom is a childless heritage, One pulse of passion - youth's first fiery glow, - Are worth the hoarded proverbs of the sage: Vex not thy soul with dead philosophy, Have we not lips to kiss with, hearts to love and eyes to see! Dost thou not hear the murmuring nightingale, Like water bubbling from a silver jar, So soft she sings the envious moon is pale, That high in heaven she is hung so far She cannot hear that love-enraptured tune, - Mark how she wreathes each horn with mist, yon late and labouring moon.
White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream, The fallen snow of petals where the breeze Scatters the chestnut blossom, or the gleam Of boyish limbs in water, - are not these Enough for thee, dost thou desire more? Alas! the Gods will give nought else from their eternal store.
For our high Gods have sick and wearied grown Of all our endless sins, our vain endeavour For wasted days of youth to make atone By pain or prayer or priest, and never, never, Hearken they now to either good or ill, But send their rain upon the just and the unjust at will.
They sit at ease, our Gods they sit at ease, Strewing with leaves of rose their scented wine, They sleep, they sleep, beneath the rocking trees Where asphodel and yellow lotus twine, Mourning the old glad days before they knew What evil things the heart of man could dream, and dreaming do.
And far beneath the brazen floor they see Like swarming flies the crowd of little men, The bustle of small lives, then wearily Back to their lotus-haunts they turn again Kissing each others' mouths, and mix more deep The poppy-seeded draught which brings soft purple-lidded sleep.
There all day long the golden-vestured sun, Their torch-bearer, stands with his torch ablaze, And, when the gaudy web of noon is spun By its twelve maidens, through the crimson haze Fresh from Endymion's arms comes forth the moon, And the immortal Gods in toils of mortal passions swoon.
There walks Queen Juno through some dewy mead, Her grand white feet flecked with the saffron dust Of wind-stirred lilies, while young Ganymede Leaps in the hot and amber-foaming must, His curls all tossed, as when the eagle bare The frightened boy from Ida through the blue Ionian air.
There in the green heart of some garden close Queen Venus with the shepherd at her side, Her warm soft body like the briar rose Which would be white yet blushes at its pride, Laughs low for love, till jealous Salmacis Peers through the myrtle-leaves and sighs for pain of lonely bliss.
There never does that dreary north-wind blow Which leaves our English forests bleak and bare, Nor ever falls the swift white-feathered snow, Nor ever doth the red-toothed lightning dare To wake them in the silver-fretted night When we lie weeping for some sweet sad sin, some dead delight.
Alas! they know the far Lethaean spring, The violet-hidden waters well they know, Where one whose feet with tired wandering Are faint and broken may take heart and go, And from those dark depths cool and crystalline Drink, and draw balm, and sleep for sleepless souls, and anodyne.
But we oppress our natures, God or Fate Is our enemy, we starve and feed On vain repentance - O we are born too late! What balm for us in bruised poppy seed Who crowd into one finite pulse of time The joy of infinite love and the fierce pain of infinite crime.
O we are wearied of this sense of guilt, Wearied of pleasure's paramour despair, Wearied of every temple we have built, Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer, For man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high: One fiery-coloured moment: one great love; and lo! we die.
Ah! but no ferry-man with labouring pole Nears his black shallop to the flowerless strand, No little coin of bronze can bring the soul Over Death's river to the sunless land, Victim and wine and vow are all in vain, The tomb is sealed; the soldiers watch; the dead rise not again.
We are resolved into the supreme air, We are made one with what we touch and see, With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair, With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart, And mighty waves of single Being roll From nerveless germ to man, for we are part Of every rock and bird and beast and hill, One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.
From lower cells of waking life we pass To full perfection; thus the world grows old: We who are godlike now were once a mass Of quivering purple flecked with bars of gold, Unsentient or of joy or misery, And tossed in terrible tangles of some wild and wind-swept sea.
This hot hard flame with which our bodies burn Will make some meadow blaze with daffodil, Ay! and those argent breasts of thine will turn To water-lilies; the brown fields men till Will be more fruitful for our love to-night, Nothing is lost in nature, all things live in Death's despite.
The boy's first kiss, the hyacinth's first bell, The man's last passion, and the last red spear That from the lily leaps, the asphodel Which will not let its blossoms blow for fear Of too much beauty, and the timid shame Of the young bridegroom at his lover's eyes, - these with the same One sacrament are consecrate, the earth Not we alone hath passions hymeneal, The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth At daybreak know a pleasure not less real Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood, We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good.
So when men bury us beneath the yew Thy crimson-stained mouth a rose will be, And thy soft eyes lush bluebells dimmed with dew, And when the white narcissus wantonly Kisses the wind its playmate some faint joy Will thrill our dust, and we will be again fond maid and boy.
And thus without life's conscious torturing pain In some sweet flower we will feel the sun, And from the linnet's throat will sing again, And as two gorgeous-mailed snakes will run Over our graves, or as two tigers creep Through the hot jungle where the yellow-eyed huge lions sleep And give them battle! How my heart leaps up To think of that grand living after death In beast and bird and flower, when this cup, Being filled too full of spirit, bursts for breath, And with the pale leaves of some autumn day The soul earth's earliest conqueror becomes earth's last great prey.
O think of it! We shall inform ourselves Into all sensuous life, the goat-foot Faun, The Centaur, or the merry bright-eyed Elves That leave their dancing rings to spite the dawn Upon the meadows, shall not be more near Than you and I to nature's mysteries, for we shall hear The thrush's heart beat, and the daisies grow, And the wan snowdrop sighing for the sun On sunless days in winter, we shall know By whom the silver gossamer is spun, Who paints the diapered fritillaries, On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.
Ay! had we never loved at all, who knows If yonder daffodil had lured the bee Into its gilded womb, or any rose Had hung with crimson lamps its little tree! Methinks no leaf would ever bud in spring, But for the lovers' lips that kiss, the poets' lips that sing.
Is the light vanished from our golden sun, Or is this daedal-fashioned earth less fair, That we are nature's heritors, and one With every pulse of life that beats the air? Rather new suns across the sky shall pass, New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.
And we two lovers shall not sit afar, Critics of nature, but the joyous sea Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be Part of the mighty universal whole, And through all aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul! We shall be notes in that great Symphony Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres, And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be One with our heart; the stealthy creeping years Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die, The Universe itself shall be our Immortality.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

A Villanelle

 O singer of Persephone!
In the dim meadows desolate
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Still through the ivy flits the bee
Where Amaryllis lies in state;
O Singer of Persephone!

Simaetha calls on Hecate
And hears the wild dogs at the gate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Still by the light and laughing sea
Poor Polypheme bemoans his fate;
O Singer of Persephone!

And still in boyish rivalry
Young Daphnis challenges his mate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Slim Lacon keeps a goat for thee,
For thee the jocund shepherds wait;
O Singer of Persephone!
Dost thou remember Sicily?
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

Easter Day

 The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam, And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red, Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head: In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.
My heart stole back across wide wastes of years To One who wandered by a lonely sea, And sought in vain for any place of rest: 'Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest.
I, only I, must wander wearily, And bruise my feet, and drink wine salt with tears.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

My Voice

 Within this restless, hurried, modern world
We took our hearts' full pleasure - You and I,
And now the white sails of our ship are furled,
And spent the lading of our argosy.
Wherefore my cheeks before their time are wan, For very weeping is my gladness fled, Sorrow has paled my young mouth's vermilion, And Ruin draws the curtains of my bed.
But all this crowded life has been to thee No more than lyre, or lute, or subtle spell Of viols, or the music of the sea That sleeps, a mimic echo, in the shell.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

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 and sway in the summer air, Here in 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 harbour 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.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

A Vision

 Two crowned Kings, and One that stood alone
With no green weight of laurels round his head,
But with sad eyes as one uncomforted,
And wearied with man's never-ceasing moan
For sins no bleating victim can atone,
And sweet long lips with tears and kisses fed.
Girt was he in a garment black and red, And at his feet I marked a broken stone Which sent up lilies, dove-like, to his knees.
Now at their sight, my heart being lit with flame, I cried to Beatrice, 'Who are these?' And she made answer, knowing well each name, 'AEschylos first, the second Sophokles, And last (wide stream of tears!) Euripides.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

Silentium Amoris

 As often-times the too resplendent sun
Hurries the pallid and reluctant moon
Back to her sombre cave, ere she hath won
A single ballad from the nightingale,
So doth thy Beauty make my lips to fail,
And all my sweetest singing out of tune.
And as at dawn across the level mead On wings impetuous some wind will come, And with its too harsh kisses break the reed Which was its only instrument of song, So my too stormy passions work me wrong, And for excess of Love my Love is dumb.
But surely unto Thee mine eyes did show Why I am silent, and my lute unstrung; Else it were better we should part, and go, Thou to some lips of sweeter melody, And I to nurse the barren memory Of unkissed kisses, and songs never sung.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.
All her bright golden hair Tarnished with rust, She that was young and fair Fallen to dust.
Lily-like, white as snow, She hardly knew She was a woman, so Sweetly she grew.
Coffin-board, heavy stone, Lie on her breast, I vex my heart alone, She is at rest.
Peace, Peace, she cannot hear Lyre or sonnet, All my life's buried here, Heap earth upon it.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 Is it thy will that I should wax and wane,
Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

Is it thy will - Love that I love so well -
That my Soul's House should be a tortured spot
Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
And sell ambition at the common mart,
And let dull failure be my vestiture,
And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.
Perchance it may be better so - at least I have not made my heart a heart of stone, Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast, Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.
Many a man hath done so; sought to fence In straitened bonds the soul that should be free, Trodden the dusty road of common sense, While all the forest sang of liberty, Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air, To where some steep untrodden mountain height Caught the last tresses of the Sun God's hair.
Or how the little flower he trod upon, The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold, Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun Content if once its leaves were aureoled.
But surely it is something to have been The best beloved for a little while, To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen His purple wings flit once across thy smile.
Ay! though the gorged asp of passion feed On my boy's heart, yet have I burst the bars, Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

In The Gold Room - A Harmony

 Her ivory hands on the ivory keys
Strayed in a fitful fantasy,
Like the silver gleam when the poplar trees
Rustle their pale-leaves listlessly,
Or the drifting foam of a restless sea
When the waves show their teeth in the flying breeze.
Her gold hair fell on the wall of gold Like the delicate gossamer tangles spun On the burnished disk of the marigold, Or the sunflower turning to meet the sun When the gloom of the dark blue night is done, And the spear of the lily is aureoled.
And her sweet red lips on these lips of mine Burned like the ruby fire set In the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine, Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate, Or the heart of the lotus drenched and wet With the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

The True Knowledge

 Thou knowest all; I seek in vain
What lands to till or sow with seed -
The land is black with briar and weed,
Nor cares for falling tears or rain.
Thou knowest all; I sit and wait With blinded eyes and hands that fail, Till the last lifting of the veil And the first opening of the gate.
Thou knowest all; I cannot see.
I trust I shall not live in vain, I know that we shall meet again In some divine eternity.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem


 An omnibus across the bridge
Crawls like a yellow butterfly
And, here and there, a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.
Big barges full of yellow hay Are moored against the shadowy wharf, And, like a yellow silken scarf, The thick fog hangs along the quay.
The yellow leaves begin to fade And flutter from the Temple elms, And at my feet the pale green Thames Lies like a rod of rippled jade.
Written by Oscar Wilde | Create an image from this poem

Ballade De Marguerite (Normande)

 I am weary of lying within the chase
When the knights are meeting in market-place.
Nay, go not thou to the red-roofed town Lest the hoofs of the war-horse tread thee down.
But I would not go where the Squires ride, I would only walk by my Lady's side.
Alack! and alack! thou art overbold, A Forester's son may not eat off gold.
Will she love me the less that my Father is seen Each Martinmas day in a doublet green? Perchance she is sewing at tapestrie, Spindle and loom are not meet for thee.
Ah, if she is working the arras bright I might ravel the threads by the fire-light.
Perchance she is hunting of the deer, How could you follow o'er hill and mere? Ah, if she is riding with the court, I might run beside her and wind the morte.
Perchance she is kneeling in St.
Denys, (On her soul may our Lady have gramercy!) Ah, if she is praying in lone chapelle, I might swing the censer and ring the bell.
Come in, my son, for you look sae pale, The father shall fill thee a stoup of ale.
But who are these knights in bright array? Is it a pageant the rich folks play? 'T is the King of England from over sea, Who has come unto visit our fair countrie.
But why does the curfew toll sae low? And why do the mourners walk a-row? O 't is Hugh of Amiens my sister's son Who is lying stark, for his day is done.
Nay, nay, for I see white lilies clear, It is no strong man who lies on the bier.
O 't is old Dame Jeannette that kept the hall, I knew she would die at the autumn fall.
Dame Jeannette had not that gold-brown hair, Old Jeannette was not a maiden fair.
O 't is none of our kith and none of our kin, (Her soul may our Lady assoil from sin!) But I hear the boy's voice chaunting sweet, 'Elle est morte, la Marguerite.
' Come in, my son, and lie on the bed, And let the dead folk bury their dead.
O mother, you know I loved her true: O mother, hath one grave room for two?