Vita Nuova

The argent splendour of white limbs ascend...




by Oscar Wilde



Vita Nuova



I STOOD by the unvintageable sea

Till the wet waves drenched face and hair with spray,

The long red fires of the dying day

Burned in the west; the wind piped drearily;

And to the land the clamorous gulls did flee:

'Alas!' I cried, 'my life is full of pain,

And who can garner fruit or golden grain,

From these waste fields which travail ceaselessly!'

My nets gaped wide with many a break and flaw

Nathless I threw them as my final cast

Into the sea, and waited for the end.

When lo! a sudden glory! and I saw

The argent splendour of white limbs ascend,

And in that joy forgot my tortured past.





Impressions I. Les Silhouettes 





THE sea is flecked with bars of grey

The dull dead wind is out of tune,

And like a withered leaf the moon

Is blown across the stormy bay.


Etched clear upon the pallid sand

The black boat lies: a sailor boy

Clambers aboard in careless joy

With laughing face and gleaming hand.


And overhead the curlews cry,

Where through the dusky upland grass

The young brown-throated reapers pass,

Like silhouettes against the sky.





Libertatis Sacra Fames 



ALBEIT nurtured in democracy,

And liking best that state republican

Where every man is Kinglike and no man

Is crowned above his fellows, yet I see,

Spite of this modern fret for Liberty,

Better the rule of One, whom all obey,

Than to let clamorous demagogues betray

Our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.

Wherefore I love them not whose hands profane

Plant the red flag upon the piled-up street

For no right cause, beneath whose ignorant reign

Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honour, all things fade,

Save Treason and the dagger of her trade,

And Murder with his silent bloody feet.

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