Rosa Mystica

Author: Oscar Wilde  | Date: 1881


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

Scrawled over on some boyish holiday

With idle songs for pipe and virelay

Which do but mar the secret of the whole.

Surely that was a time I might have trod

The sunlit heights, and from life’s dissonance

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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Chicago: Oscar Wilde, "Helas," Rosa Mystica Original Sources, accessed February 25, 2024,

MLA: Wilde, Oscar. "Helas." Rosa Mystica, Original Sources. 25 Feb. 2024.

Harvard: Wilde, O, 'Helas' in Rosa Mystica. Original Sources, retrieved 25 February 2024, from