Miscellaneous Poems of Oscar Wilde

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.

A Lament

    • O well for him who lives at ease
    • With garnered gold in wide domain,
    • Nor heeds the splashing of the rain,
    • The crashing down of forest trees.
    • O well for him who ne’er hath known
    • The travail of the hungry years,
    • A father grey with grief and tears,
    • A mother weeping all alone.
    • But well for him whose feet hath trod
    • The weary road of toil and strife,
    • Yet from the sorrows of his life
    • Builds ladders to be nearer God.

Wasted Days

    • A fair slim boy not made for this world’s pain.
    • With hair of gold thick clustering round his ears,
    • And longing eyes half veiled by foolish tears
    • Like bluest water seen through mists of rain:
    • Pale cheeks whereon no kiss hath left its stain,
    • Red under lip drawn for fear of Love,
    • And white throat whiter than the breast of dove.
    • Alas! alas! if all should be in vain.
    • Behind, wide fields, and reapers all a-row
    • In heat and labour toiling wearily,
    • To no sweet sound of laughter or of lute.
    • The sun is shooting wide its crimson glow,
    • Still the boy dreams: nor knows that night is nigh,
    • And in the night-time no man gathers fruit.

Lotus Leaves

I

    • There is no peace beneath the moon,-
    • Ah! in those meadows is there peace
    • Where, girdled with a silver fleece,
    • As a bright shepherd, strays the moon?
    • Queen of the gardens of the sky,
    • Where stars like lilies, white and fair,
    • Shine through the mists of frosty air,
    • Oh, tarry, for the dawn is nigh!
    • Oh, tarry, for the envious day
    • Stretches long hands to catch thy feet.
    • Alas! but thou art overfleet,
    • Alas! I know thou wilt not stay.

II

    • Eastward the dawn has broken red,
    • The circling mists and shadows flee;
    • Aurora rises from the sea,
    • And leaves the crocus-flowered bed.
    • Eastward the silver arrows fall,
    • Splintering the veil of holy night:
    • And a long wave of yellow light
    • Breaks silently on tower and hall.
    • And speeding wide across the wold
    • Wakes into flight some fluttering bird;
    • And all the chestnut tops are stirred,
    • And all the branches streaked with gold.

III

    • To outer senses there is peace,
    • A dream-like 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 curlew calling to its mate;
    • The answer from the distant hill.
    • And, herald of my love to Him
    • Who, waiting for the dawn, doth lie,
    • The orbed maiden leaves the sky,
    • And the white firs grow more dim.

IV

    • Up sprang the sun to run his race,
    • The breeze blew fair on meadow and lea,
    • But in the west I seemed to see
    • The likeness of a human face.
    • A linnet on the hawthorn spray
    • Sang of the glories of the spring,
    • And made the flow’ring copses ring
    • With gladness for the new-born day.
    • A lark from out the grass I trod
    • Flew wildly, and was lost to view
    • In the great seamless veil of blue
    • That hangs before the face of God.
    • The willow whispered overhead
    • That death is but a newer life
    • And that with idle words of strife
    • We bring dishonour on the dead.
    • I took a branch from off the tree,
    • And hawthorn branches drenched with dew,
    • I bound them with a sprig of yew,
    • And made a garland fair to see.
    • I laid the flowers where He lies
    • (Warm leaves and flowers on the stones):
    • What joy I had to sit alone
    • Till evening broke on tired eyes:
    • Till all the shifting clouds had spun
    • A robe of gold for God to wear
    • And into seas of purple air
    • Sank the bright galley of the sun.

V

    • Shall I be gladdened for the day,
    • And let my inner heart be stirred
    • By murmuring tree or song of bird,
    • And sorrow at the wild winds’ play?
    • Not so, such idle dreams belong
    • To souls of lesser depth than mine;
    • I feel that I am half divine;
    • I that I am great and strong.
    • I know that every forest tree
    • By labour rises from the root
    • I know that none shall gather fruit
    • By sailing on the barren sea.

Impressions

I: Le Jardin

    • The lily’s withered chalice falls
    • Around its rod of dusty gold,
    • And from the beech trees on the wold
    • The last wood-pigeon coos and calls.
    • The gaudy leonine sunflower
    • Hangs black and barren on its stalk,
    • And down the windy garden walk
    • The dead leaves scatter,- hour by hour.
    • Pale privet-petals white as milk
    • Are blown into a snowy mass;
    • The roses lie upon the grass,
    • Like little shreds of crimson silk.

II: La Mer

    • A white mist drifts across the shrouds,
    • A wild moon in this wintry sky
    • Gleams like an angry lion’s eye
    • Out of a mane of tawny clouds.
    • The muffled steersman at the wheel
    • Is but a shadow in the gloom;-
    • And in the throbbing engine room
    • Leap the long rods of polished steel.
    • The shattered storm has left its trace
    • Upon this huge and heaving dome,
    • For the thin threads of yellow foam
    • Float on the waves like ravelled lace.

Under The Balcony

    • O beautiful star with the crimson mouth!
    • O moon with the brows of gold!
    • Rise up, rise up, from the odorous south!
    • And light for my love her way,
    • Lest her feet should stray
    • On the windy hill and the wold!
    • O beautiful star with the crimson mouth!
    • O moon with the brows of gold!
    • O ship that shakes on the desolate sea!
    • O ship with the wet, white sail!
    • Put in, put in, to the port to me!
    • For my love and I would go
    • To the land where the daffodils blow
    • In the heart of a violet dale!
    • O ship that shakes on the desolate sea!
    • O ship with the wet, white sail!
    • O rapturous bird with the low, sweet note!
    • O bird that sits on the spray!
    • Sing on, sing on, from your soft brown throat!
    • And my love in her little bed
    • Will listen, and lift her head
    • From the pillow, and come my way!
    • O rapturous bird with the low, sweet note!
    • O bird that sits on the spray!
    • O blossom that hangs in the tremulous air!
    • O blossom with lips of snow!
    • Come down, Come down, for my love to wear!
    • You will die in her head in a crown,
    • You will die in a fold of her gown,
    • To her little light heart you will go!
    • O blossom that hangs in the tremulous air!
    • O blossom with lips of snow!

A Fragment

    • Beautiful star with the crimson lips
    • And flagrant daffodil hair,
    • Come back, come back, in the shaking ships
    • O’er the much-overrated sea,
    • To the hearts that are sick for thee
    • With a woe worse than mal de mer-
    • O beautiful stars with the crimson lips
    • And the flagrant daffodil hair.
    • O ship that shakes on the desolate sea,
    • Neath the flag of the wan White Star,
    • Thou bringest a brighter star with thee
    • From the land of the Philistine,
    • Where Niagara’s reckoned fine
    • And Tupper is popular-
    • O ship that shakes on the desolate sea,
    • Neath the flag of the wan White Star.

Le Jardin Des Tuileries

    • This winter air is keen and cold,
    • And keen and cold this winter sun,
    • But round my chair the children run
    • Like little things of dancing gold.
    • Sometimes about the painted kiosk
    • The mimic soldiers strut and stride,
    • Sometimes the blue-eyed brigands hide
    • In the bleak tangles of the bosk.
    • And sometimes, while the old nurse cons
    • Her book, they steal across the square
    • And launch their paper navies where
    • Huge Triton writhes in greenish bronze.
    • And now in mimic flight they flee,
    • And now they rush, a boisterous band-
    • And, tiny hand on tiny hand,
    • Climb up the black and leafless tree.
    • Ah! cruel tree! if I were you,
    • And children climbed me, for their sake
    • Though it be winter I would break
    • Into spring blossoms white and blue!

Sonnet On the Sale by Auction of Keats’ Love Letters

    • These are the letters which Endymion wrote
    • To one he loved in secret and apart,
    • And now the brawlers of the auction-mart
    • Bargain and bid for each tear-blotted note,
    • Aye! for each separate pulse of passion quote
    • The merchant’s price! I think they love not art
    • Who break the crystal of a poet’s heart,
    • That small and sickly eyes may glare or gloat.
    • Is it not said, that many years ago,
    • In a far Eastern town some soldiers ran
    • With torches through the midnight, and began
    • To wrangle for mean raiment, and to throw
    • Dice for the garments of a wretched Man,
    • Not knowing the God’s wonder, or His woe?

The New Remorse

  • The sin was mine; I did not understand.
  • So now is music prisoned in her cave,
  • Save where some ebbing desultory wave
  • Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
  • And in the withered hollow of this land
  • Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
  • That hardly can the leaden willow crave
  • One silver blossom from keen Winter’s hand.
  • But who is this that cometh by the shore?
  • (Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
  • Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
  • It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
  • The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
  • And I shall weep and worship, as before.

An Inscription

  • Go, little book,
  • To him who, on a lute with horns of pearl,
  • Sang of the white feet of the Golden Girl:
  • And bid him look
  • Into thy pages: it may hap that he
  • May find that golden maidens dance through thee.