Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Sonnets

Sonnet On Approaching Italy

I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned
	Italia, my Italia, at thy name:
	And when from out the mountain's heart I came
And saw the land for which my life had yearned,
I laughed as one who some great prize had earned:
	And musing on the story of thy fame
	I watched the day, till marked with wounds of flame
The turquoise sky to burnished gold was turned,
The pine-trees waved as waves a woman's hair,
	And in the orchards every twining spray
	Was breaking into flakes of blossoming foam:
But when I knew that far away at Rome
	In evil bonds a second Peter lay,
	I wept to see the land so very fair.

TURIN

Sonnet On Hearing The Dies Ira Sung In The Sistine Chapel

Nay, Lord, not thus! white lilies in the spring,
	Sad olive-groves, or silver-breasted dove,
	Teach me more clearly of Thy life and love
Than terrors of red flame and thundering.
The empurpled vines dear memories of Thee bring:
	A bird at evening flying to its nest,
	Tells me of One who had no place of rest:
I think it is of Thee the sparrows sing.
Come rather on some autumn afternoon,
	When red and brown are burnished on the leaves,
	And the fields echo to the gleaner's song,
Come when the splendid fulness of the moon
	Looks down upon the rows of golden sheaves,
	And reap Thy harvest: we have waited long.

Sonnet To Liberty

Not that I love thy children, whose dull eyes
See nothing save their own unlovely woe,
Whose minds know nothing, nothing care to know,—
But that the roar of thy Democracies,
Thy reigns of Terror, thy great Anarchies,
Mirror my wildest passions like the sea,—
And give my rage a brother——! Liberty!
For this sake only do thy dissonant cries
Delight my discreet soul, else might all kings
By bloody knout or treacherous cannonades
Rob nations of their rights inviolate
And I remain unmoved—and yet, and yet,
These Christs that die upon the barricades,
God knows it I am with them, in some things

Sonnet Written In Holy Week At Genoa

I wandered in Scoglietto's green retreat,
	The oranges on each o'erhanging spray
	Burned as bright lamps of gold to shame the day;
Some startled bird with fluttering wings and fleet
Made snow of all the blossoms, at my feet
	Like silver moons the pale narcissi lay:
	And the curved waves that streaked the sapphire bay
Laughed i' the sun, and life seemed very sweet.
Outside the young boy-priest passed singing clear,
	"Jesus the Son of Mary has been slain,
	O come and fill his sepulchre with flowers."
Ah, God! Ah, God! those dear Hellenic hours
	Had drowned all memory of Thy bitter pain,
	The Cross, the Crown, the Soldiers, and the Spear.

On The Massacre Of The Christians In Bulgaria

Christ, dost thou live indeed? or are thy bones
Still straightened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
And was thy Rising only dreamed by Her
Whose love of thee for all her sin atones?
For here the air is horrid with men's groans,
The priests who call upon thy name are slain,
Dost thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
From those whose children lie upon the stones?
Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
Curtains the land, and through the starless night
Over thy Cross the Crescent moon I see!
If thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
Come down, O Son of Man! and show thy might,
Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!

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