Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde

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Author: Oscar Wilde

Covent Garden

Where he went he hardly knew. He had a dim memory of wandering through a labyrinth of sordid houses, of being lost in a giant web of sombre streets, and it was bright dawn when he found himself at last in Piccadilly Circus. As he strolled home towards Belgrave Square, he met the great waggons on their way to Covent Garden. The white-smocked carters, with their pleasant sunburnt faces and coarse curly hair, strode sturdily on, cracking their whips, and calling out now and then to each other; on the back of a huge grey horse, the leader of a jangling team, sat a chubby boy, with a bunch of primroses in his battered hat, keeping tight hold of the mane with his little hands, and laughing; and the great piles of vegetables looked like masses of jade against the morning sky, like masses of green jade against the pink petals of some marvellous rose. Lord Arthur felt curiously affected, he could not tell why. There was something in the dawn’s delicate loveliness that seemed to him inexpressibly pathetic, and he thought of all the days that break in beauty, and that set in storm. These rustics, too, with their rough, good-humoured voices, and their nonchalant ways, what a strange London they saw! A London free from the sin of night and the smoke of day, a pallid, ghost-like city, a desolate town of tombs! He wondered what they thought of it, and whether they knew anything of its splendour and its shame, of its fierce, fierycoloured joys, and its horrible hunger, of all it makes and mars from morn to eve. Probably it was to them merely a mart where they brought their fruits to sell, and where they tarried for a few hours at most, leaving the streets still silent, the houses still asleep. It gave him pleasure to watch them as they went by. Rude as they were, with their heavy, hob-nailed shoes, and their awkward gait, they brought a little of a ready with them. He felt that they had lived with Nature, and that she had taught them peace. He envied them all that they did not know.

By the time he had reached Belgrave Square the sky was a faint blue, and the birds were beginning to twitter in the gardens.—Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime

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Chicago: Oscar Wilde, "Covent Garden," Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde, ed. Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934 and trans. Stevens, Bertram, 1872 - in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (Boston: John W. Luce and Company, 1911), Original Sources, accessed August 10, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UGC3SBRYTDTGXZ.

MLA: Wilde, Oscar. "Covent Garden." Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde, edited by Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934, and translated by Stevens, Bertram, 1872 -, in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde, Boston, John W. Luce and Company, 1911, Original Sources. 10 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UGC3SBRYTDTGXZ.

Harvard: Wilde, O, 'Covent Garden' in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde, ed. and trans. . cited in 1911, Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde, John W. Luce and Company, Boston. Original Sources, retrieved 10 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3UGC3SBRYTDTGXZ.