Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) is not now principally known for his poetry (indeed, it might be said that he is still less famous for his writings than he is for … having been Oscar Wilde), and his one enduringly famous poem is ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’. However, early in his career he wrote more poetry than anything else, and ‘Easter Day’ is one of his finest verses – a nice sonnet about Rome on Easter Day.
The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.
My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
‘Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,
And bruise my feet, and drink wine salt with tears.’
If you enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s ‘Easter Day’, you might also enjoy our pick of Wilde’s best poems.