Sunday 11 December 2016

Poetry: Finest praise from one Dubliner to another

Published 18/10/2015 | 02:30

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde

Yesterday was the birthday of the greatest talker the­English language has known. He was also one of its greatest playwrights.

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The English put him in jail for two years because he was an active homosexual; nothing more. But it was enough to kill the Irishman who died three years later.

Being Irish, I think, was a factor when it came to Oscar. His mother was a revolutionary who supported the Fenians.

Oscar was a secret Catholic. He managed, when he was dying, to get a priest to give him the last sacrament.

This is no vague rumour. I spoke to Fr Cuthbert, who was present when Oscar breathed his last.

More power to ourselves that we are proud of him. I think the best thing written about Oscar was by our own Brendan Behan.

He has written it in Irish so I have produced a translation which I hope catches the spirit of another Dubliner's praise for Oscar Wilde.

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