Apologia - A poem by of passionate defense of oneself by Oscar Wilde

"Apologia" is a poem written by Oscar Wilde as a response to his trial and subsequent conviction for homosexuality. It serves as a passionate defense and justification of his personal experiences and desires, challenging the societal norms and moral judgments that condemned him.

The poem begins with Wilde acknowledging the criticism and disapproval he faced for his actions and the consequences they brought upon him. However, he firmly asserts his belief in the authenticity and beauty of his love, emphasizing that it was born out of a genuine and natural inclination of his heart.

Wilde continues to express his refusal to apologize for his desires, asserting that he cannot deny his own nature and suppress his true self. He eloquently argues that his love is not a crime but rather an expression of the human spirit's capacity for passion and connection. He challenges the notion of sin and morality, highlighting the hypocrisy and limitations of societal standards.

Ultimately, "Apologia" is a poignant plea for acceptance and understanding, urging readers to question the narrow-mindedness and prejudice that deny individuals the freedom to love and be loved. It reflects Wilde's defiance against societal norms and his unwavering belief in the power of love and self-expression, even in the face of persecution.


Is it thy will that I should wax and wane,
Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

Is it thy will--Love that I love so well--
That my Soul's House should be a tortured spot
Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
And sell ambition at the common mart,
And let dull failure be my vestiture,
And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.

Perchance it may be better so--at least
I have not made my heart a heart of stone,
Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast,
Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.

Many a man hath done so; sought to fence
In straitened bonds the soul that should be free,
Trodden the dusty road of common sense,
While all the forest sang of liberty,

Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight
Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air,
To where some steep untrodden mountain height
Caught the last tresses of the Sun God's hair.

Or how the little flower he trod upon,
The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold,
Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun
Content if once its leaves were aureoled.

But surely it is something to have been
The best beloved for a little while,
To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
His purple wings flit once across thy smile.

Ay! though the gorged asp of passion feed
On my boy's heart, yet have I burst the bars,
Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed
The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!