Category Archives: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, the son of an eye-surgeon and a literary hostess and writer (known under the pseudonym “Speranza”). After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Wilde went to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he achieved a double first and won the Newdigate prize for a poem Ravenna.
While at Oxford he became notorious for his flamboyant wit, talent, charm and aestheticism, and this reputation soon won him a place in London society. Bunthorne, the Fleshly Poet in Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera Patience was widely thought to be a caricature of Wilde (though in fact it was intended as a skit of Rosetti) and Wilde seems to have consciously styled himself on this figure.
In 1882 Wilde gave a one year lecture tour of America, visiting Paris in 1883 before returning to New York for the opening of his first play Vera. In 1884 he married and had two sons, for whom he probably wrote his first book of fairy tales, The Happy Prince. The next decade was his most prolific and the time when he wrote the plays for which he is best remembered. His writing and particularly his plays are epigramatic and witty and Wilde was not afraid to shock.
This period was also haunted by accusations about his personal life, chiefly prompted by the Marquess of Queensberry’s fierce opposition to the intense friendship between Wilde and her son, Lord Alfred. These accusations culminated in 1895 in Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexual offences.
While in prison, Wilde was declared bankrupt, and after his release he lived on the generosity of friends. From prison he wrote a long and bitter letter to Lord Alfred, part of which was afterwards published as De Profundis, but after his release he wrote nothing but the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Poem – 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 … Continue reading

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Poem – To Milton

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 … Continue reading

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Poem – Santa Decca

THE Gods are dead: no longer do we bring To grey-eyed Pallas crowns of olive-leaves! Demeter’s child no more hath tithe of sheaves, And in the noon the careless shepherds sing, For Pan is dead, and all the wantoning By … Continue reading

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Poem – In The Forest

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, … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Poem – The House Of Judgement

And there was silence in the House of Judgment, and the Man came naked before God. And God opened the Book of the Life of the Man. And God said to the Man, ‘Thy life hath been evil, and thou … Continue reading

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