With a stylistic approach to the interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s works, it’s possible to see the true talent, as well as cynicism, of his character. The poems are very well written, although I wouldn’t rank them as equal in terms of quality with his novels or plays just because if anything, his works are very highly set bars in terms of writing. However, the cynicism and the dark, somewhat depressing tone and image of his poems are apparent. Hélas reads, “Is that time dead? Lo! With a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance – And must I lose a soul’s inheritance?” Fitting with the definition of Hélas (grief), the writing also conveys this dark mood throughout. And much of the darkness is an aid to just how beautifully crafted the language of his poetry is. For example, “We loitered down the moonlit street,” and “Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed A phantom lover to her breast,” all resonate deeply and sonically. The quality of Wilde’s writing stays immaculate, even when he tries his hand at various forms of literature and art.
I was decently surprised by the form Wilde took on with his poetry; while I expected a more free flowing narrative style, I was surprised by how sternly he kept to a specific rhyme and his specific form. More than an artistic approach to poetry that relies on the reader’s perceptiveness/perception of the senses and a capacity to create portrayals of the imagery the author utilizes, Wilde kept close to a structure that seemed, in a way, old fashioned and authentic. In The Harlot’s House, he keeps true to a specific rhyme scheme throughout, and consistently comes back to this form. My expectations were somewhat upended mainly because I believed his approach to poetry would be a lot more free form and image heavy.