Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).  Poems.  1881.

19. Sonnet on hearing the Dies Iræ 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:         5
  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,  10
  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. 



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