Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems

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

1. Helas

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         5
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday 
With idle songs for pipe and virelay 
Which do but mar the secret of the whole. 
Surely there was a time I might have trod 
The sunlit heights, and from life’s dissonance  10
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? 



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