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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Chapter Eighty-Eight, in which the Poem of the Month is featured

In the private collection of your Bibliothecary is a cherished limited second edition published by Thomas B. Mosher in 1905 of seven hundred and fifty printed on Van Gelder hand-made paper of The Poems of Oscar Wilde, bound in beige paper over boards, with deckled fore edge. All together it is a thing of beauty, which was its initial attraction. There is also much to discover inside.

Wilde was a brilliant man, in work and in character. When he arrived for a tour of the United States, he replied to the customs official, "I have nothing to declare but my genius." He wrote fairy tales, a small bit of fiction, numerous essays, several sophisticated dramas, but he was a poet first, and produced some of the most elegant verse. In 1878 he won the Oxford Newdigate Prize for best poem in English verse with "Ravenna."

Now we continue to stoke interest in Oscar Wilde, in anticipation of The Slaves of Golconda reviews ofThe Picture of Dorian Gray at the end of the month, with a portion of one of our favorite poems, "The Flower of Love":

And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms
     Brush the burnished bosom of the dove,
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would
     Have read the story of our love;

Would have read the legend of my passion,
     Known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as
     We two are fated now to part.


  1. I am an Oscar Wilde fan (my english bulldog's name is Oscar!) but an unaware of his poems. How can this be? Thank you, as always, for illuminating a new path...