Author: Oscar Wilde  | Date: 1878


A year ago I breathed the Italian air,-

And yet, methinks this northern Spring is fair,-

These fields made golden with the flower of March,

The throstle singing on the fathered larch,

The cawing rooks, the wood-doves fluttering by,

The little clouds that race across the sky;

And fair the violet’s gentle drooping head,

The primrose, pale for love uncomforted,

The rose that burgeons on the climbing briar,

The crocus-bed, (that seems a moon of fire

Round-girdled with a purple marriage-ring);

And all the flowers of oar English Spring,

Fond snow-drops, and the bright-starred daffodil.

Up starts the lark beside the murmuring mill,

And breaks the gossamer-threads of early dew;

And down the river, like a flame of blue,

Keene as an arrow flies the water-king,

While the brown linnets in the greenwood sing.

A year ago!- it seems a little time

Since last I saw that lordly southern clime,

Where flower and fruit to purple radiance blow,

And like bright lamps the fabled apples grow.

Full Spring it was- and by rich flowing vines,

Dark olive-groves and noble forest-pines,

I rode at will; the moist glad air was sweet,

The white road rang beneath my horse’s feet,

And musing on Ravenna’s ancient name,

I watched the day till, marked with wounds of flame,

The turquoise sky to burnished gold was turned.

O how my heart with boyish passion burned,

When far away across the sedge and mere

I saw that Holy City rising clear,

Crowned with her crown of towers!- On and on

I galloped, racing with the setting sun,

And ere the crimson after-glow was passed,

I stood within Ravenna’s walls at last!


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Chicago: Oscar Wilde, "I," Ravenna Original Sources, accessed December 9, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2NXB922YM1HKTUL.

MLA: Wilde, Oscar. "I." Ravenna, Original Sources. 9 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2NXB922YM1HKTUL.

Harvard: Wilde, O, 'I' in Ravenna. Original Sources, retrieved 9 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=2NXB922YM1HKTUL.