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Charmides and Other Poems   By: (1854-1900)

Book cover

First Page:

Charmides and Other Poems by Oscar Wilde Scanned and proofed by David Price ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Charmides and Other Poems

Contents:

Charmides Requiescat San Miniato Rome Unvisited Humanitad Louis Napoleon Endymion Le Jardin La Mer Le Panneau Les Ballons Canzonet Le Jardin Des Tuileries Pan: Double Villanelle In The Forest Symphony In Yellow

Sonnets:

Helas! To Milton On The Massacre Of The Christians In Bulgaria Holy Week At Genoa Urbs Sacra Aeterna E Tenebris At Verona On The Sale By Auction Of Keats' Love Letters The New Remorse

CHARMIDES

I.

He was a Grecian lad, who coming home With pulpy figs and wine from Sicily Stood at his galley's prow, and let the foam Blow through his crisp brown curls unconsciously, And holding wave and wind in boy's despite Peered from his dripping seat across the wet and stormy night.

Till with the dawn he saw a burnished spear Like a thin thread of gold against the sky, And hoisted sail, and strained the creaking gear, And bade the pilot head her lustily Against the nor'west gale, and all day long Held on his way, and marked the rowers' time with measured song.

And when the faint Corinthian hills were red Dropped anchor in a little sandy bay, And with fresh boughs of olive crowned his head, And brushed from cheek and throat the hoary spray, And washed his limbs with oil, and from the hold Brought out his linen tunic and his sandals brazen soled,

And a rich robe stained with the fishers' juice Which of some swarthy trader he had bought Upon the sunny quay at Syracuse, And was with Tyrian broideries inwrought, And by the questioning merchants made his way Up through the soft and silver woods, and when the labouring day

Had spun its tangled web of crimson cloud, Clomb the high hill, and with swift silent feet Crept to the fane unnoticed by the crowd Of busy priests, and from some dark retreat Watched the young swains his frolic playmates bring The firstling of their little flock, and the shy shepherd fling

The crackling salt upon the flame, or hang His studded crook against the temple wall To Her who keeps away the ravenous fang Of the base wolf from homestead and from stall; And then the clear voiced maidens 'gan to sing, And to the altar each man brought some goodly offering,

A beechen cup brimming with milky foam, A fair cloth wrought with cunning imagery Of hounds in chase, a waxen honey comb Dripping with oozy gold which scarce the bee Had ceased from building, a black skin of oil Meet for the wrestlers, a great boar the fierce and white tusked spoil

Stolen from Artemis that jealous maid To please Athena, and the dappled hide Of a tall stag who in some mountain glade Had met the shaft; and then the herald cried, And from the pillared precinct one by one Went the glad Greeks well pleased that they their simple vows had done.

And the old priest put out the waning fires Save that one lamp whose restless ruby glowed For ever in the cell, and the shrill lyres Came fainter on the wind, as down the road In joyous dance these country folk did pass, And with stout hands the warder closed the gates of polished brass.

Long time he lay and hardly dared to breathe, And heard the cadenced drip of spilt out wine, And the rose petals falling from the wreath As the night breezes wandered through the shrine, And seemed to be in some entranced swoon Till through the open roof above the full and brimming moon

Flooded with sheeny waves the marble floor, When from his nook up leapt the venturous lad, And flinging wide the cedar carven door Beheld an awful image saffron clad And armed for battle! the gaunt Griffin glared From the huge helm, and the long lance of wreck and ruin flared

Like a red rod of flame, stony and steeled The Gorgon's head its leaden eyeballs rolled, And writhed its snaky horrors through the shield, And gaped aghast with bloodless lips and cold In passion impotent, while with blind gaze The blinking owl between the feet hooted in shrill amaze... Continue reading book >>




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