Oscar Wilde. (1854-1900.) Requiscat. (Circa.1881.)
"We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking
at the stars."
TREAD lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.
All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.
Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.
Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone
She is at rest.
Peace, Peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

Oscar Wilde was the son of the late Sir William Wilde, an eminent Irish surgeon. His mother was a graceful writer, both in prose and verse. He had a brilliant career at Oxford, where he took a first-class both in classical moderations and in Lit. Hum., and also won the Newdigate Prize for English verse for a poem on Ravenna. Even before he left the University in 1878 Wilde had become known as one of the most affected of the professors of the aesthetic craze, and for several years it was as the typical aesthete that he kept himself before the notice of the public. At the same time he was a man of far greater originality and power of mind than many of the apostles of aestheticism. As his Oxford career showed, he had undoubted talents in many directions, talents which might have been brought to fruition had it not been for his craving after notoriety. He was known as a poet of graceful diction; later on as a playwright of skill and subtle humour. A novel of his, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," attracted much attention, and his sayings passed from mouth to mouth as those of one of the professed wits of the age. When he became a dramatist his plays had all the characteristics of his conversations. His first piece, Lady Windermere's Fan, was produced in 1892. "A Woman of No Importance" followed in 1893. "An Ideal Husband" and The "Importance of Being Earnest" were both running at the time of his disappearance from English life. All these pieces had the same qualities a paradoxical humour and a perverted outlook on life being the most prominent. They were packed with witty,sayings, and the author's cleverness gave him at once a position in the dramatic world. The revelations of the criminal trial in 1895. naturally made them impossible for some years. Recently, however, one of them was revived, though not at a West End theater. After his release in 1897, Wilde published "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," a poem of considerable but unequal power.OSCAR WILDE died in Paris, from meningitis. The end to a career which promised so much came in an obscure Hotel in the Latin quarter. Here the once brilliant man. of letters was living, exiled from his country and from the society of his countrymen. The verdict that a jury passed upon his conduct at the Old Bailey in May, 1895, destroyed for ever his reputation and condemned him to ignoble obscurity for the end of his days. When he had served his sentence of two year's imprisonment, he was broken in health as well as bankrupt in fame and fortune.He was born one hundred years before his time.
Oscar Wilde 2.