This is a picture I’d not seen before; I like it very much. On his birthday of course Oscar would have been all about the trimmings, the green carnation, the champagne, the cut of the suit. But I like it because it’s outside the circus; it’s just a person. I think this plain, elemental image is nice to remember him by for a minute. Oscar, the person.
By the way, I’ve celebrated the occasion by ordering (finally) a copy of Franny Moyle’s biography of Constance Wilde. I find I can’t write anything more on the subject until I read it.
And here, because Oscar & Henry is no longer available (except to about three people; if you want one let me know), is a little selection of the squibs.
Squibs from Later
A nightingale sang in Bloomsbury Square,
but all the joy that it found there
was a few cotton dresses round a deal table.
Its golden cousin sang in a nest of sable.
A vexing question, it is very important
to consider the perils of the sexual life.
It’s no harm, is it, to be fonder of a friend
than of the manly husband or womanly wife?
The drawing rooms of London were his River Ouse –
not in the sense that he drowned there,
but that there he threw himself in.
The gaslight was dim and green as algae,
the furnishings as still as silted water.
the cushion tassels twisted like vines,
Or gossip, or the gilt curls of Bosie.
He only wanted to sing with the mermen.
Gaslight grew moody, electric made us crass,
horns and wheels made hay of hooves on cobbles.
On macadam. Oh, sir! Well, the maid was always useless:
then she bleached her hair, got a job on the wireless,
went into the pictures, and now she’s young master’s Muse;
and Madam’s main problem is the size of the old house.