Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems
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Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).  Poems.  1881.

9. Theoretikos


THIS mighty empire hath but feet of clay: 
  Of all its ancient chivalry and might 
  Our little island is forsaken quite: 
Some enemy hath stolen its crown of bay, 
And from its hills that voice hath passed away         5
  Which spake of Freedom: O come out of it, 
  Come out of it, my Soul, thou art not fit 
For this vile traffic-house, where day by day 
  Wisdom and reverence are sold at mart, 
  And the rude people rage with ignorant cries  10
Against an heritage of centuries. 
  It mars my calm: wherefore in dreams of Art 
  And loftiest culture I would stand apart, 
Neither for God, nor for his enemies. 


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