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Sebastian (for Oscar Wilde)

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).  Photo courtesy of BBC Online
--Photo courtesy of BBC Online

"Sebastian Melmoth" was the alias identity that Oscar Wilde assumed in Europe (after his release from Reading Gaol in England) during the last three years of his life, 1897-1900. "Aengus Óg" is the name of the Celtic god of love, youth and beauty; he was said to be the son of the Daghda, god of abundance and fertility. Aengus Óg is also said, in Celtic myth, to be the patron deity of lovers whose relationship is frowned upon by their families.

Words and Music © 1992 by Karen I. Olsen

New! Listen to this song on my SoundCloud page.


Oh Sebastian, can you see my world today?
The times are getting mean; I need to hear what you might say.
The love that was forbidden you flies freer in my time;
And you are less a mystery, no more a shadowed pantomime.

Come walk the University, and see my neighborhood.
There’s some who say that godlessness
Has driven out the good.
But you can feel, Sebastian, the life that pulses here;
And we both know the harm the pious do when gripped in fear.

Come walk with me,
Out of darkness into dawn we see;
We’ll go once more a-walking
In the heart of a great company.

Oh my Aengus Óg, what harm they did to you:
A thousand sermons cursed your name;
All your books they soon withdrew.
In a cell they left you weeping at the same hour every day,
And then, abroad, a childless father quickly pined away.

Each thing you loved, your every thought
Was called evil and decayed;
You died as something sinister,
And they hoped your name would fade.
Now you and they are living on, and I’m caught in their fire;
They want regimes imposed on me, and of spite they never tire.

Oh Sebastian, can you see my world today?
Each thing I love is under siege:
Ah, but I am here to stay.
How I wish I had a word from you to keep my feet upright;
What brings me joy are branded sins,
And it weighs on me tonight.
(Repeat chorus)


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