Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde
Author: Oscar Wilde
Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde, published posthumously in 1911, contains 17 poems by Wilde and offers a curated journey through the lyrical genius of one of the 19th century’s most enigmatic and brilliant writers. Oscar Wilde, best known for his sharp wit and flamboyant style, was not just a playwright and novelist, but also a poet who traversed themes of love, loss, beauty, and the human condition.
1. Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde Summary
Below are some poems from Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde:
1.1. Ave Imperatrix
The poem paints a vivid picture of England’s vast imperial reach, highlighting its control over many lands, from the seas of the North to the Himalayan heights and beyond. England is portrayed as a dominant force, with her influence felt from Samarcand to Cabool. However, this dominance comes at a high price, as many Englishmen have fallen in foreign lands. These men are mourned by their loved ones back home, symbolizing the sacrifices of a vast empire. Despite the losses, the poem concludes with a note of hope, suggesting that out of these struggles, a new “young Republic” will rise. This suggests a change, possibly an evolution or transformation, after the era of war and conquest.
1.2. To My Wife (with a copy of my poems)
In a poem where Wilde humbly refrains from grand introductions, he suggests that even if a single line resonates with the reader, love will carry its beauty to them. During difficult times, the poem will serve as a reminder of better days, and the reader will find solace in its message.
1.3. Magdalen Walks
The poem vividly captures the essence of Spring. White clouds move swiftly across the sky, while fields are adorned with the golden flowers of March. Birds, especially the thrush and the lark, are active and joyful, signaling the season’s rejuvenation. The morning air carries the fresh scent of wet grass and freshly turned soil, indicating recent rainfall and the promise of new growth. The woods are abuzz with the sounds of nature, and various flowers, like the rose-bud and crocus, bloom vibrantly. Trees, such as the plane and the pine, seem to communicate stories of love, and the imagery of a kingfisher emphasizes the vitality and movement inherent in this season.
1.4. Theocritus—a Villanelle
The poem addresses the “singer of Persephone,” repeatedly inquiring if they remember Sicily. References to various characters and scenes evoke memories of the island, from the ivy-covered meadows to the shores where Polypheme mourns. Other characters, such as Simætha, Daphnis, and Lacon, are invoked to further anchor the setting in Sicilian lore and tradition. The repetitive refrain emphasizes a deep longing and connection to the past, specifically to Sicily.
For those enchanted by the poetic genius of Oscar Wilde, you can check out the Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde online. Dive into a curated collection of Wilde’s most evocative verses and experience his literary brilliance firsthand.