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At Verona

by Oscar Wilde, 1881

How steep the stairs within Kings’ houses are
   For exile-wearied feet as mine to tread,
   And O how salt and bitter is the bread
 Which falls from this Hound’s table,—better far
 That I had died in the red ways of war,
   Or that the gate of Florence bare my head,
   Than to live thus, by all things comraded
 Which seek the essence of my soul to mar.

 “Curse God and die: what better hope than this?
   He hath forgotten thee in all the bliss
   Of his gold city, and eternal day”—
 Nay peace: behind my prison’s blinded bars
   I do possess what none can take away,
   My love, and all the glory of the stars.

Published in Poems

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