Treasure Island

Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

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Flower of Love


Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common
clay
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the
larger day.

From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song,
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong.

Had my lips been smitten into music by the kisses that but made them bleed,
You had walked with Bice and the angels on that verdant and enamelled meed.

I had trod the road which Dante treading saw the suns of seven circles shine,
Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as they opened to the Florentine.

And the mighty nations would have crowned me, who am crownless now and without
name,
And some orient dawn had found me kneeling on the threshold of the House of
Fame.

I had sat within that marble circle where the oldest bard is as the young,
And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the lyre's strings are ever strung.

Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out the poppy-seeded wine,
With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead, clasped the hand of noble love in
mine.

And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms brush the burnished bosom of the
dove,
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would have read the story of our love;

Would have read the legend of my passion, known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as we two are fated now to part.

For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by the cankerworm of truth,
And no hand can gather up the fallen withered petals of the rose of youth.

Yet I am not sorry that I loved you -ah! what else had I a boy to do? -
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the silent-footed years pursue.

Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and when once the storm of youth is
past,
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death the silent pilot comes at last.

And within the grave there is no pleasure, for the blindworm battens on the
root,
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of Passion bears no fruit.

Ah! what else had I to do but love you? God's own mother was less dear to me,
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an argent lily from the sea.

I have made my choice, have lived my poems, and, though youth is gone in
wasted days,
I have found the lover's crown of myrtle better than the poet's crown of bays.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: passion, sorry, freedom, flower, music, house, rose, tree, truth, song, mother, sea, death, light, kiss, angel

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Comments about this poem (Flower of Love by Oscar Wilde )

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  • Ramesh T A (7/18/2010 3:27:00 AM)

    So many things he says to write this poem! This clearly shows he was not in love at all in life! (Report) Reply

  • Anthony Foster (7/18/2009 2:28:00 PM)

    Very guarded perhaps due to the morality of the time, despite which describes a passion and love which is person to person whatever the gender. A brilliant poet and playwrite. (Report) Reply

  • Sangnam Nam (7/18/2009 10:20:00 AM)

    In the midst of the worldly
    beings,
    you are still able to
    see through
    what's the most valuable
    to you (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (7/18/2009 5:02:00 AM)

    Oscar probably felt passion but he could not write it. This poem is too full of be-jewelled lines, and tired sub-Shakespearean metaphors. Wilde's forte was in brilliant paradoxical wit. 'The Importance...' has everything that everything else of his lacks - the truth. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Alldred-lugton (7/19/2005 3:26:00 AM)

    This poem demonstrates yet again Wilde's abilty to ponder over, understand, and put into words the complex nature of one human beings feeling toward another

    It is sad that he was unable to use his insights to have a happier life himself but, as we all know, brilliance does not sit comfortably alongside productive relationships
    A man born too soon There should be more like him

    Susan AlldredLugton (Report) Reply

  • RoJa Mitchell (7/18/2005 7:46:00 PM)

    i wish Oscar Wilde was alive and could know how much we like his poems....
    well i like his other works better, but is good too (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »

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