Poems in Prose. Oscar Wilde
ONE evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image
of THE PLEASURE THAT ABIDETH FOR A MOMENT. And he went forth into
the world to look for bronze. For he could think only in bronze.
But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere
in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the
bronze of the image of THE SORROW THAT ENDURETH FOR EVER.
Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned,
and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life.
On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this
image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the
love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that
endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other
bronze save the bronze of this image.
And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great
furnace, and gave it to the fire.
And out of the bronze of the image of THE SORROW THAT ENDURETH FOR
EVER he fashioned an image of THE PLEASURE THAT ABIDETH FOR A
THE DOER OF GOOD
It was night-time and He was alone.
And He saw afar-off the walls of a round city and went towards the
And when He came near He heard within the city the tread of the
feet of joy, and the laughter of the mouth of gladness and the loud
noise of many lutes. And He knocked at the gate and certain of the
gate-keepers opened to Him.
And He beheld a house that was of marble and had fair pillars of
marble before it. The pillars were hung with garlands, and within
and without there were torches of cedar. And He entered the house.
And when He had passed through the hall of chalcedony and the hall
of jasper, and reached the long hall of feasting, He
saw lying on a
couch of sea-purple one whose hair was crowned with red roses and
whose lips were red with wine.
And He went behind him and touched him on the shoulder and said to
him, ‘Why do you live like this?’
And the young man turned round and recognised Him, and made answer
and said, ‘But I was a leper once, and you healed me. How else
should I live?’
And He passed out of the house and went again into the street.
And after a little while He saw one whose face and raiment were
painted and whose feet were shod with pearls. And behind her came,
slowly as a hunter, a young man who wore a cloak of two colours.
Now the face of the woman was as the fair face of an idol, and the
eyes of the young man were bright with lust.
And He followed swiftly and touched the hand of the young man and
said to him, ‘Why do you look at this woman and in such wise?’
And the young man turned round and recognised Him and said, ‘But I
was blind once, and you gave me sight. At what else should I
And He ran forward and touched the painted raiment of the woman and
said to her, ‘Is there no other way in which to walk save the way
And the woman turned round and recognised Him, and laughed and
said, ‘But you forgave me my sins, and the way is a pleasant way.’
And He passed out of the city.
And when He had passed out of the city He saw seated by the
roadside a young man who was weeping.
And He went towards him and touched the long locks of his hair and
said to him, ‘Why are you weeping?’
And the young man looked up and recognised Him and made answer,
‘But I was dead once, and you raised me from the dead. What else