by Oscar Wilde

a poem

published in Poems, by Oscar Wilde
by Methuen & Company Ltd., 1878

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Public Domain

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Listen to Oscar Wilde’s “Apologia”


Oscar Wilde

July 1, 2022

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Read the text of “Apologia”

Wilde Apologia HPI

thus, we begin...

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 the 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!

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