Treasure Island

Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900 / Dublin / Ireland)

Athanasia


To that gaunt House of Art which lacks for naught
Of all the great things men have saved from Time,
The withered body of a girl was brought
Dead ere the world's glad youth had touched its prime,
And seen by lonely Arabs lying hid
In the dim wound of some black pyramid.

But when they had unloosed the linen band
Which swathed the Egyptian's body,- lo! was found
Closed in the wasted hollow of her hand
A little seed, which sown in English ground
Did wondrous snow of starry blossoms bear,
And spread rich odors through our springtide air.

With such strange arts this flower did allure
That all forgotten was the asphodel,
And the brown bee, the lily's paramour,
Forsook the cup where he was wont to dwell,
For not a thing of earth it seemed to be,
But stolen from some heavenly Arcady.

In vain the sad narcissus, wan and white
At its own beauty, hung across the stream,
The purple dragon-fly had no delight
With its gold-dust to make his wings a-gleam,
Ah! no delight the jasmine-bloom to kiss,
Or brush the rain-pearls from the eucharis.

For love of it the passionate nightingale
Forgot the hills of Thrace, the cruel king,
And the pale dove no longer cared to sail
Through the wet woods at time of blossoming,
But round this flower of Egypt sought to float,
With silvered wing and amethystine throat.

While the hot sun blazed in his tower of blue
A cooling wind crept from the land of snows,
And the warm south with tender tears of dew
Drenched its white leaves when Hesperos uprose
Amid those sea-green meadows of the sky
On which the scarlet bars of sunset lie.

But when o'er wastes of lily-haunted field
The tired birds had stayed their amorous tune,
And broad and glittering like an argent shield
High in the sapphire heavens hung the moon,
Did no strange dream or evil memory make
Each tremulous petal of its blossoms shake?

Ah no! to this bright flower a thousand years
Seemed but the lingering of a summer's day,
It never knew the tide of cankering fears
Which turn a boy's gold hair to withered gray,
The dread desire of death it never knew,
Or how all folk that they were born must rue.

For we to death with pipe and dancing go,
Nor would we pass the ivory gate again,
As some sad river wearied of its flow
Through the dull plains, the haunts of common men,
Leaps lover-like into the terrible sea!
And counts it gain to die so gloriously.

We mar our lordly strength in barren strife
With the world's legions led by clamorous care,
It never feels decay but gathers life
From the pure sunlight and the supreme air,
We live beneath Time's wasting sovereignty,
It is the child of all eternity.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, June 18, 2012

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?


Related Poems


Read poems about / on: flower, sad, sunset, purple, sea, evil, memory, lonely, strength, death, girl, river, snow, kiss, summer, house, hair, moon, rain, child

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Athanasia by Oscar Wilde )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. The curving world's edge (Passion Sonnet), Gert Strydom
  2. Could My Calm Coax You, Susan Lacovara
  3. At times we are only set on passing (Ame.., Gert Strydom
  4. The Implementation Is Seldom Unchanged, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  5. Clean India Campaign, Dr John Celes
  6. Holy Journey, Col Muhamad Khalid Khan
  7. MISSION, Col Muhamad Khalid Khan
  8. Life's Numbers, Randy McClave
  9. Imagining Love, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  10. Hunted, Mae AC.

Poem of the Day

poet Edmund Spenser

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  5. My Love Is Like To Ice, Edmund Spenser
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]