by Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

The western wind is blowing fair
Language: English 
The western wind is blowing fair
  Across the dark Ægean sea,
And at the secret marble stair
  My Tyrian galley waits for thee.
Come down! the purple sail is spread,
  The watchman sleeps within the town,
O leave thy lily-flowered bed,
  O Lady mine come down, come down!
She will not come, I know her well,
  Of lover's vows she hath no care,
And little good a man can tell
  Of one so cruel and so fair.
True love is but a woman's toy,
  They never know the lover's pain,
And I who loved as loves a boy
  Must love in vain, must love in vain.
O noble pilot tell me true
  Is that the sheen of golden hair?
Or is it but the tangled dew
  That binds the passion-flowers there?
Good sailor come and tell me now
  Is that my Lady's lily hand?
Or is it but the gleaming prow,
  Or is it but the silver sand?
No! no! 'tis not the tangled dew,
  'Tis not the silver-fretted sand,
It is my own dear Lady true
  With golden hair and lily hand!
O noble pilot steer for Troy,
  Good sailor ply the labouring oar,
This is the Queen of life and joy
  Whom we must bear from Grecian shore!
The waning sky grows faint and blue,
  It wants an hour still of day,
Aboard! aboard! my gallant crew,
  O Lady mine away! away!
O noble pilot steer for Troy,
  Good sailor ply the labouring oar,
O loved as only loves a boy!
  O loved for ever evermore!

O. Wilde sets stanzas 1, 2, 5

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: first published in Pan (Musical Supplement, January 1881) as the text to Cowen's setting


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-12-04
Line count: 40
Word count: 258