When no man died for freedom anywhere,
But England’s lion leaping from its lair
Laid hands on the oppressor! it was so
While England could a great Republic show.
Witness the men of Piedmont, chiefest care
Of Cromwell, when with impotent despair
The Pontiff in his painted portico
Trembled before our stern ambassadors.
How comes it than that from such high estate
We have thus fallen, save that Luxury
With barren merchandise piles up the gate
Where noble thoughts and deeds should enter by:
Else might we still be Milton’s heritors.
Oscar Wilde, a versatile, brilliant, compassionate artist who had a command over his words, was a man in love with metaphors and vivid imagery.
In all his works, you will find these as a common thread that binds them all together.
Quantum Mutata Review
Oscar Wilde had a tongue and it wasn’t one that he preferred holding back. This, again, is proof of the fact that the poet who could develop beautiful love poems, could, in fact, render his pen mightier than the English sword.
In this poem, Wilde takes on Europe. He first presents a reference to the times when the Europeans did not have to fight for freedom because it was not a commodity which had to be fought for. It was available to one and all.
However, in recent times( referring to times this poem was written in) freedom is rare. People have to fight for it to attain it because some of the ones holding high positions in the country tend to misuse it for their own personal benefits.
Wilde lashes out his anger through his poem. Such bravery could be expected of few, and Wilde was one of them.