Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems

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

29. Serenade


THE western wind is blowing fair 
  Across the dark Ægean sea, 
And at the secret marble stair 
  My Tyrian galley waits for thee. 
Come down! the purple sail is spread,         5
  The watchman sleeps within the town, 
O leave thy lily-flowered bed, 
  O Lady mine come down, come down! 
She will not come, I know her well, 
  Of lover’s vows she hath no care,  10
And little good a man can tell 
  Of one so cruel and so fair. 
True love is but a woman’s toy, 
  They never know the lover’s pain, 
And I who loved as loves a boy  15
  Must love in vain, must love in vain. 
O noble pilot tell me true 
  Is that the sheen of golden hair? 
Or is it but the tangled dew 
  That binds the passion-flowers there?  20
Good sailor come and tell me now 
  Is that my Lady’s lily hand? 
Or is it but the gleaming prow, 
  Or is it but the silver sand? 
No! no! ’tis not the tangled dew,  25
  ’Tis not the silver-fretted sand, 
It is my own dear Lady true 
  With golden hair and lily hand! 
O noble pilot steer for Troy, 
  Good sailor ply the labouring oar,  30
This is the Queen of life and joy 
  Whom we must bear from Grecian shore! 
The waning sky grows faint and blue, 
  It wants an hour still of day, 
Aboard! aboard! my gallant crew,  35
  O Lady mine away! away! 
O noble pilot steer for Troy, 
  Good sailor ply the labouring oar, 
O loved as only loves a boy! 
  O loved for ever evermore!  40



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