The poems collected in this volume are exquisite and languorous expressions of a spirit of self-indulgence, eroticism and moral rebelliousness that emerged in the late Victorian age. They deal with eternal themes of transition, artifice and, above all, the cruel ravages of time – often depicting flowers, with their heady, perfumed beauty, as the embodiment of decay and desire. Decadent Poetry brings together the works of many fascinating writers – Oscar Wilde on tainted love and the torments of the human spirit, Arthur Symons on an absinthe-induced stupor and the mysteries of the night, Rosamund Marriott Watson on disenchantment and memory, W. B. Yeats on waning passion and faded beauty, Ernest Dowson on lust and despair and Lord Alfred Douglas on shame and secret love, among many others of this exhilarating poetic movement.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.