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by Oscar Wilde, 1881

Is it thy will that I should wax and wane,
   Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
 And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
   Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

 Is it thy will—Love that I love so well—
   That my Soul’s House should be a tortured spot
 Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
   The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

 Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
   And sell ambition at the common mart,
 And let dull failure be my vestiture,
   And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.

 Perchance it may be better so—at least
   I have not made my heart a heart of stone,
 Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast,
   Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.

 Many a man hath done so; sought to fence
   In straitened bonds the soul that should be free,
 Trodden the dusty road of common sense,
   While all the forest sang of liberty,

 Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight
   Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air,
 To where the steep untrodden mountain height
   Caught the last tresses of the Sun God’s hair.

 Or how the little flower he trod upon,
   The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold,
 Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun
   Content if once its leaves were aureoled.

 But surely it is something to have been
   The best belovèd for a little while,
 To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
   His purple wings flit once across thy smile.

 Ay! though the gorgèd asp of passion feed
   On my boy’s heart, yet have I burst the bars,
 Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed
   The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!

Published in Poems

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