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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde, by Oscar Wilde
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Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde
It is thought that a selection from Oscar Wilde's early verses may be of interest to a large public at present familiar only with the always popular BALLAD OF READING GAOL, also included in this volume. The poems were first collected by their author when he was twenty-sex years old, and though never, until recently, well received by the critics, have survived the test of NINE editions. Readers will be able to make for themselves the obvious and striking contrasts between these first and last phases of Oscar Wilde's literary activity. The intervening period was devoted almost entirely to dramas, prose, fiction, essays, and criticism.
April 5, 1911
The Ballad Of Reading Gaol Ave Imperatrix
To My Wife - With A Copy Of My Poems Magdalen Walks
Theocritus - A Villanelle Greece
Fabien Dei Franchi
Sonnet On Hearing The Dies Irae Sung In The Sistine Chapel Ave Maria Gratia Plena Libertatis Sacra Fames Roses And Rue
From 'The Garden Of Eros' The Harlot's House
From 'The Burden Of Itys' Flower of Love
At the end of the complete text will be found a shorter version based on the original draft of the poem. This is included for the benefit of reciters and their audiences who have found the entire poem too long for declamation. I have tried to obviate a difficulty, without officiously exercising the ungrateful prerogatives of a literary executor, by falling back on a text which represents the author's first scheme for a poem - never intended of course for recitation.
Poem: The Ballad Of Reading Gaol
In memoriam of C. T. W. Sometimes trooper of The Royal Horse Guards Obiit H.M. Prison
July 7th, 1896
He did not wear his scarlet coat, For blood and wine are red, And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with the dead, The poor dead woman whom he loved, And murdered in her bed.
He walked amongst the Trial Men In a suit of shabby grey; A cricket cap was on his head, And his step seemed light and gay; But I never saw a man who looked So wistfully at the day.
I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky, And at every drifting cloud that went With sails of silver by.
I walked, with other souls in pain, Within another ring, And was wondering if the man had done A great or little thing, When a voice behind me whispered low, 'THAT FELLOW'S GOT TO SWING.'