Oscar Wilde – Taedium Vitae

January 31, 2010 at 9:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

One of my favourite Wilde poems, Taedium Vitae

Wilde

To stab my youth with desperate knives, to wear

This paltry age’s gaudy livery,

To let each base hand filch my treasury,

To mesh my soul within a woman’s hair,

And to be mere Fortune’s lackeyed groom, – I swear

I love it not! these things are less to me

Than the thin foam that frets upon the sea,

Less than the thistledown of summer air

Which hath no seed: better to stand aloof

Far from these slanderous fools who mock my life

Knowing me not, better the lowliest roof

Fit for the meanest hind to sojourn in,

Than to go back to that hoarse cave of strife

Where my white soul first kissed the mouth of sin.

*

I just love this poem so much. It’s not often that Wilde gets so explicitly bleak in his writing. He wears it well, and it’s especially poignant considering what happened to him at the hands of the public.

2 Comments

  1. melmoth said,

    I have observed on occasion how some of Oscar’s writing has the character of prophecy. Much of Oscar’s poetry is wonderful and is underrated by many.

    • Decadent Handbook said,

      Definitely. I was reading De Profundis recently, and Wilde actually acknowledged that there was a ‘note of doom’ in a lot of his work. He was referring specifically to ‘The Happy Prince’ in that instance, but I think in some respect he did always have a sense of what was coming. I love him all the more for the fact that he lived his life as he did in spite of this.

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