The French word desespoir is the same as despair. Oscar Wilde might have written about his own life, filled with the loss of hope.
Definition of despair
1: utter loss of hope – a cry of despair – gave up in despair
2: a cause of hopelessness – an incorrigible child is the despair of his parents
Source: Miriam Webster
Whoever said the life of Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was easy? He was accused because he was homosexual and condemned for his thoughts about life. Something that would never happen in modern-day Ireland or England.
He was born in Ireland but spent most of his life in England. The literary legacy of Wilde is immense. Many inspired him, but when he was alive he didn’t feel like an example or role model.
Wilde tells us about a new beginning (spring) when flowers show. First narcissus, then flame-red roses. In the autumn, the violets grow and they’re followed by the crocuses.
In this poem, the four seasons play an important role. Spring is the new beginning and autumn is the last part of his life, before winter sets in. Somehow he hopes he will live to see spring again, with all flowers and trees that bloom.
In the end, there is only the realisation that the end will come too soon, after a search for delight and it will only leave memories to look back on.
The seasons send their ruin as they go,
For in the spring the narciss shows its head
Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,
And in the autumn purple violets blow,
And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;
Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again
And this grey land grow green with summer rain
And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.
But what of life whose bitter hungry sea
Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night
Covers the days which never more return?
Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn
We lose too soon, and only find delight
In withered husks of some dead memory.
— Oscar Wilde