The Artist

by


Poems in Prose: The Artist is Wilde's poem about a sculptor unable to find bronze to create "The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment" so he melts down one of his own works. It was published as a collection of six prose poems in 1894 in The Fortnightly Review.
An illustration for the story The Artist by the author Oscar Wilde
Melting metal in a ladle for casting, 2009
An illustration for the story The Artist by the author Oscar Wilde
Melting metal in a ladle for casting, 2009
An illustration for the story The Artist by the author Oscar Wilde

One evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could think only in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment.


If you enjoyed this prose poem, you may also like Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Artist of the Beautiful.


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Return to the Oscar Wilde Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Disciple

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