Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Helas! - Poem by Oscar Wilde

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?


Comments about Helas! by Oscar Wilde

  • (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

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (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

Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: romance, passion, god, life, time, song, wind, lost



Poem Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]