CELT document E850003-053


Oscar Wilde

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  1. 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 womb of some black pyramid.
  2. 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 odours through our spring-tide air.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 up-rose p.732
    Amid those sea-green meadows of the sky
    On which the scarlet bars of sunset lie.
  7. 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?
  8. 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 grey,
    The dread desire of death it never knew,
    Or how all folk that they were born must rue.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Document details

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File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): Athanasia

Author: Oscar Wilde

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Margaret Lantry

Funded by: University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1385 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 1997

Date: 2009

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E850003-053

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Notes statement

There is not as yet an authoritative edition of Wilde's works.

Source description

Select editions

  1. The writings of Oscar Wilde (London; New York: A. R. Keller & Co. 1907) 15 vols.
  2. Robert Ross (ed), The First Collected Edition of the Works of Oscar Wilde (London: Methuen & Co. 1908). 15 vols. Reprinted Dawsons: Pall Mall 1969.
  3. Complete works of Oscar Wilde (Glasgow: HarperCollins, 1994).

Select bibliography

  1. 'Notes for a bibliography of Oscar Wilde', Books and book-plates (A quarterly for collectors) 5, no. 3 (April 1905), 170-183.
  2. Karl E. Beckson, The Oscar Wilde encyclopedia (New York: AMS Press 1998). AMS Studies in the nineteenth century 18.
  3. Richard Ellmann (ed), The Artist as Critic: Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde (Chicago 1982).
  4. Richard Ellmann; John Espey, Oscar Wilde: two approaches: papers read at a Clark Library seminar, April 17, 1976 (Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California 1977).
  5. Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde at Oxford: a lecture delivered at the Library of Congress on March 1, 1983 (Washington, DC: Library of Congress 1984).
  6. Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde: a biography (London: Hamilton 1987).
  7. Juliet Gardiner, Oscar Wilde: a life in letters, writings and wit (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1995).
  8. Frank Harris, Oscar Wilde, including My memories of Oscar Wilde, by George Bernard Shaw and an introductory note by Lyle Blair (London: Robinson, 1992).
  9. Rupert Hart-Davis (ed), Selected letters of Oscar Wilde (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1979).
  10. Rupert Hart-Davis (ed), More letters of Oscar Wilde (London: Murray 1985).
  11. Vyvyan Beresford Holland, Oscar Wilde: a pictorial biography (London: Thames & Hudson 1960).
  12. H. Montgomery Hyde, Oscar Wilde: a biography (London: Methuen 1977).
  13. Andrew McDonnell, Oscar Wilde at Oxford: an annotated catalogue of Wilde manuscripts and related items at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, including many hitherto unpublished letters, photographs and illustrations (A. McDonnell 1996). Limited edition of 170 copies.
  14. Stuart Mason, Bibliography of Oscar Wilde (London: E. G. Richards 1907). Also pubd. New York 1908, London 1914 in 2 vols. Repr. of 1914 edition: New York: Haskell House 1972.
  15. E. H. Mikhail, Oscar Wilde: an annotated bibliography of criticism (London: Macmillan 1978). Also pubd. Totowa NJ: Rowman & Littlefield 1978.
  16. Thomas A. Mikolyzk, Oscar Wilde: an annotated bibliography (Westport CT: Greenwood Press 1993). Bibliographies and indexes in world literature, 38.
  17. Norman Page, An Oscar Wilde chronology (London: Macmillan 1991).
  18. Hesketh Pearson, A Life of Oscar Wilde (London 1946).
  19. Richard Pine, The thief of reason: Oscar Wilde and modern Ireland (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1996).
  20. Horst Schroeder, Additions and corrections to Richard Ellmann's Oscar Wilde (Braunschweig: H. Schroeder 1989).

The edition used in the digital edition

Wilde, Oscar (1987). ‘Athanasia’. In: The Works of Oscar Wilde‍. London: Galley Press, pp. 731–732.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  author 	 = {Oscar Wilde},
  title 	 = {Athanasia},
  booktitle 	 = {The Works of Oscar Wilde},
  address 	 = {London},
  publisher 	 = {Galley Press},
  date 	 = {1987},
  pages 	 = {731–732}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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All the editorial text with the corrections of the editor has been retained.

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Correction: Text has been checked, proof-read and parsed using SGMLS.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

Hyphenation: The editorial practice of the hard-copy editor has been retained.

Segmentation: div0=the whole text.

Interpretation: Names of persons (given names), and places are not tagged. Terms for cultural and social roles are not tagged.

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The n attribute of each text in this corpus carries a unique identifying number for the whole text.

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Profile description

Creation: By Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).

Date: 1881

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: literary; poetry; 19c

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2010-09-09: Conversion script run; new wordcount made; new SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2009-07-28: File updated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  4. 2005-08-04T14:27:29+0100: Converted to XML (conversion Peter Flynn)
  5. 1997-10-23: Text parsed using SGMLS. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  6. 1997-10-21: Text proofed; structural mark-up inserted. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  7. 1997-10-14: Header created. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  8. 1997: Text captured. (ed. Donnchadh Ó Corráin)

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