CELT document E850003-102

To L. L.

Oscar Wilde

Whole text


    TO L. L.

  1. Could we dig up this long-buried treasure,
    Were it worth the pleasure,
    We never could learn love's song,
    We are parted too long.
  2. Could the passionate past that is fled
    Call back its dead,
    Could we live it all over again,
    Were it worth the pain!
  3. I remember we used to meet
    By an ivied seat,
    And you warbled each pretty word
    With the air of a bird;
  4. And your voice had a quaver in it,
    Just like a linnet,
    And shook, as the blackbird's throat
    With its last big note;
  5.  p.800
  6. And your eyes, they were green and grey
    Like an April day,
    But lit into amethyst
    When I stooped and kissed;
  7. And your mouth, it would never smile
    For a long, long while,
    Then it rippled all over with laughter
    Five minutes after.
  8. You were always afraid of a shower,
    Just like a flower:
    I remember you started and ran
    When the rain began.
  9. I remember I never could catch you,
    For no one could match you,
    You had wonderful, luminous, fleet
    Little wings to your feet.
  10. I remember your hair—did I tie it?
    For it always ran riot—
    Like a tangled sunbeam of gold:
    These things are old.
  11. I remember so well the room,
    And the lilac bloom
    That beat at the dripping pane
    In the warm June rain;
  12. And the colour of your gown,
    It was amber-brown,
    And two yellow satin bows
    From your shoulders rose.
  13. And the handkerchief of French lace
    Which you held to your face—
    Had a small tear left a stain?
    Or was it the rain?
  14. On your hand as it waved adieu
    There were veins of blue;
    In your voice as it said good-bye
    Was a petulant cry,
  15. “You have only wasted your life.”
    (Ah, that was the knife!) p.801
    When I rushed through the garden gate
    It was all too late.
  16. Could we live it over again,
    Were it worth the pain,
    Could the passionate past that is fled
    Call back its dead!
  17. Well, if my heart must break,
    Dear love, for your sake,
    It will break in music, I know.
    Poets' hearts break so.
  18. But strange that I was not told
    That the brain can hold
    In a tiny ivory cell,
    God's heaven and hell.

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): To L. L.

Author: Oscar Wilde

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Margaret Lantry

Funded by: University College, Cork

Edition statement

2. Second draft.

Extent: 1327 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: 2010

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

CELT document ID: E850003-102

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). ‘To L. L.’ In: The Works of Oscar Wilde‍. London: Galley Press, pp. 799–801.

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

  author 	 = {Oscar Wilde},
  title 	 = {To L. L.},
  booktitle 	 = {The Works of Oscar Wilde},
  address 	 = {London},
  publisher 	 = {Galley Press},
  date 	 = {1987},
  pages 	 = {799–801}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

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

Editorial declarations

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

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text.

Quotation: Direct speech is marked q.

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.

Reference declaration

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

The title of the text is held as the first head element within each text.

div0 is reserved for the text (whether in one volume or many).

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. 2010-12-01: File updated; conversion script run; new wordcount made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2009-10-27: Keywords added. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  4. 2005-08-04T14:29:22+0100: Converted to XML (conversion Peter Flynn)
  5. 1997-10-24: Text parsed using SGMLS. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  6. 1997-10-24: Text proofed; structural mark-up inserted. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  7. 1997-10-24: Header created. (ed. Margaret Lantry)
  8. 1997-10-23: Text captured by scanning. (ed. Margaret Lantry)

Index to all documents

CELT Project Contacts



For details of the markup, see the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

numbered division

 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

underlining: text supplied, added, or expanded editorially

italics: foreign words; corrections (hover to view); document titles

bold: lemmata (hover for readings)

wavy underlining: scribal additions in another hand; hand shifts flagged with (hover to view)

TEI markup for which a representation has not yet been decided is shown in red: comments and suggestions are welcome.

Source document


Search CELT


    2 Carrigside, College Road, Cork