Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Helas!


To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere control?-
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday
With idle songs for pipe and virelay
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely that was a time I might have trod
The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance
Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God;
is that time dead? lo! with a little rod
I did but touch the honey of romance-
And must I lose a soul's inheritance?

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001
Edited: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Helas! by Oscar Wilde )

  • Rookie - 74 Points James Rowlinson (10/9/2014 5:24:00 AM)

    The end of this poem is quite moving. I think what he is trying to say is that surely with a love so pure, there can't be anything wrong with it, that god surely should agree. Why should he lose his soul (And must I lose a soul's inheritance) over love. This has relevance in modern times, when homosexuality is still deemed as wrong by many religions. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Henrik Aberg (4/14/2007 4:47:00 PM)

    He wrote this poem in 1881 and he seems to know that the way he lives his life it is going to make it end in tragedy. Would he have survived today, a hundred years later? I think so.

    It is a beautiful poem! (Report) Reply

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