Oscar Wilde’s prose poem about Narcissus. An apt and poignant betrayal of his insecurities?
When Narcissus died the pool of his pleasure changed from a cup of
sweet waters into a cup of salt tears, and the Oreads came weeping
through the woodland that they might sing to the pool and give it
And when they saw that the pool had changed from a cup of sweet
waters into a cup of salt tears, they loosened the green tresses of
their hair and cried to the pool and said, ‘We do not wonder that
you should mourn in this manner for Narcissus, so beautiful was
‘But was Narcissus beautiful?’ said the pool.
‘Who should know that better than you?’ answered the Oreads. ‘Us
did he ever pass by, but you he sought for, and would lie on your
banks and look down at you, and in the mirror of your waters he
would mirror his own beauty.’
And the pool answered, ‘But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on
my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw
ever my own beauty mirrored.’
by Prose Poem by Oscar Wilde. If you would like to read more, we recommend this book link:
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Photo, circa 1882, by Napoleon Sarony – Source – public domain