Louis Esterhuizen. Oscar Wilde se ongepubliseerde gedig behaal ‘n rekordprys tydens veiling


Waarskynlik was Oscar Wilde (foto) in sy lewe die mees verguisde individu in Koningin Victoria se ganse Groot Brittanje. Maar nou, bykans 140 jaar na hy ‘n gedig – wat hy met die hand geskryf het, uiteraard, en nooit gepubliseer het nie – het hy beslis die laaste lag aangesien dié gedig, Heart’s Yearning, vir ‘n groter bedrag geld verkoop is as wat die standbeeld van ‘ou Mies Victôria met ha’ klein spanspek’ daar ‘vorie Paalmint-hys’ waarskynlik werd is.

Volgens die berig by Irish Independent, is dié handgeskrewe gedig van 40 reëls vir die rekordbedrag van €79,430 (ZAR 939,417) deur die makelaar Bonhams in Londen opgeveil. Dit is ongeveer die ekwivalent van R23,500 per versreël, of R2,406 per woord. “The poem, ‘Heart’s Yearnings’, one of the earliest written by Wilde, was written in 1873 and has become one of the most valuable poems ever written by an Irishman, according to Bonhams in London, who said it was sold to someone living in the UK. The poem begins: ‘Surely to me the world is all too drear/ To shape my sorrow to a tuneful strain/ It is enough for wearied ears to hear/ The Passion – Music of a fevered brain…’”

Nog ‘n gedig van Wilde, ‘Les Ballons‘, wat vroeg in die 1880s geskryf was, is tydens dieselfde geleentheid vir €19,200 (ZAR 227,335) verkoop.


Heart’s Yearning

Die inskrywing in Bonhams se katalogus lees soos volg:


AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF HIS EARLY POEM ‘HEART’S YEARNINGS’, signed in full at the end (‘Oscar O’F. Wills Wilde Magdalen College Oxford’), 40 lines in eight five-line stanzas, with some autograph revisions including changing the fourth line of the second stanza from ‘Only with tired eyes to wait’ to ‘I sit and wait’ preserving reconsidered readings, 2 pages, ruled folio, Magdalen College, Oxford [undated, but 1873-1874]

THIS IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST EXTANT POETICAL MANUSCRIPTS BY OSCAR WILDE; no earlier one of any length is recorded by Bobby Fong and Karl Beckson (2000). Before the publication of their edition of the poems, ‘Heart’s Yearnings’ had remained unpublished (text taken from this manuscript).





Hieronder volg die voorlaaste strofe uit Oscar Wilde se lang gedig, “Ravenna”, met daarna die bekende gedig “The Harlot’s House” volledig.


Adieu! Adieu! yon silent evening star,

The night’s ambassador, doth gleam afar,

And bid the shepherd bring his flocks to fold.

Perchance before our inland seas of gold

Are garnered by, the reapers into sheaves,

Perchance before I see the Autumn leaves,

I may behold thy city; and lay down

Low at thy feet the poet’s laurel crown.


© Oscar Wilde (Uit: Ravenna)




We caught the tread of dancing feet,

We loitered down the moonlit street,

And stopped beneath the harlot’s house.


Inside, above the din and fray,

We heard the loud musicians play

The “Treues Liebes Herz” of Strauss.


Like strange mechanical grotesques,

Making fantastic arabesques,

The shadows raced across the blind.


We watched the ghostly dancers spin

To sound of horn and violin,

Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.


Like wire-pulled automatons,

Slim silhouetted skeletons

Went sidling through the slow quadrille.


The took each other by the hand,

And danced a stately saraband;

Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.


Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed

A phantom lover to her breast,

Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.


Sometimes a horrible marionette

Came out, and smoked its cigarette

Upon the steps like a live thing.


Then, turning to my love, I said,

“The dead are dancing with the dead,

The dust is whirling with the dust.”


But she–she heard the violin,

And left my side, and entered in:

Love passed into the house of lust.


Then suddenly the tune went false,

The dancers wearied of the waltz,

The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.


And down the long and silent street,

The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,

Crept like a frightened girl.


© Oscar Wilde (In 1885 gepubliseer in The Dramatic Review)



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