Flower of Love

Author: Oscar Wilde  | Date: 1881

FLOWER OF LOVE

Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was,

Had I not been made of common clay

I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet,

Seen the fuller air, the larger day.

From the wildness of my wasted passion I had

Struck a better, clearer song,

Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled

With some Hydra-headed wrong.

Had my lips been smitten into music by the

Kisses that but made them bleed,

You had walked with Bice and the angels on

That verdant and enamelled mead.

I had trod the road which Dante treading saw

The suns of seven circles shine,

Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as

They opened to the Florentine.

And the mighty nations would have crowned me,

Who am crownless now and without name,

And some orient dawn had found me kneeling

On the threshold of the House of Fame

I had sat within that marble circle where the

Oldest bard is as the young,

And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the

Lyre’s strings are ever strung.

Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out

The poppy-seeded wine,

With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead,

Clasped the hand of noble love in mine.

And at springtime, when the apple-blossoms

Brush the burnished bosom of the dove,

Two young lovers lying in an orchard would

Have read the story of our love.

Would have read the legend of my passion,

Known the bitter secret of my heart,

Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as

We two are fated now to part.

For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by

The canker-worm of truth,

And no hand can gather up the fallen withered

Petals of the rose of youth.

Yet I am not sorry that I loved you- ah! what

Else had I a boy to do,-

For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the

Silent-footed years pursue.

Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and

When once the storm of youth is past,

Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death a

Silent pilot comes at last.

And within the grave there is no pleasure, for

The blind-worm battens on the root,

And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of

Passion bears no fruit.

Ah! what else had I to do but love you, God’s

Own mother was less dear to me,

And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an

Argent lily from the sea.

I have made my choice, have lived my poems,

And, though youth is gone in wasted days,

I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle

Better than the poet’s crown of bays.

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Chicago: Oscar Wilde, Flower of Love Original Sources, accessed December 9, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1HI1XDTI1R6JSCS.

MLA: Wilde, Oscar. Flower of Love, Original Sources. 9 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1HI1XDTI1R6JSCS.

Harvard: Wilde, O, Flower of Love. Original Sources, retrieved 9 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1HI1XDTI1R6JSCS.