Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince (English)

"Bring me the two most precious things in the city,"
The Happy Prince- Oscar Wilde

Prometheus took the fire from the heavens and gave it to humanity. For that, Zeus punished him. Both he and Jesus loved the human. In Greek mythology and in Jesus, the divine beings who gave their love to mankind were punished. The Happy Prince would be Wilde’s most Christian work, with the hope of converting him to Catholicism. Retarded on his way to Egypt, the swallow attempted to rest at the feet of the prince’s statue. Then the statue of the prince wept――.

The reason the swallow was 6 weeks after the others was because he was in love.

He asked her Shall I love you? She nodded yes. “Will you come away with me?” he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home. She was making out with the wind. The swallows said goodbye and went away.

Before his birth, the prince was beautiful like an angel. He was called the ” Happy Prince ” and became a statue. The prince, who did not know the outside of its walls, passed away happy.

When the prince found himself outside the walls, he despaired of the poverty and lowliness of the world. The prince asked the swallows to take to the poor the jewels and gold which decorated him.

At last, the prince had nothing left to give. The swallows were exhausted. The swallow finally kissed the prince and they both died. The prince’s body was melted, but for some reason his heart was not melted, so that he was discarded with the corpses of the swallows. God said, “Bring me the two most precious things in the city,” An angel picked the two souls and led them to the kingdom of heaven. In the picture books I read in my childhood, the love of swallows in the first half of the story and the Christianity of the last half were omitted.

The scene of poor people on a winter day reminds us of Andersen “the little match girl”, but the happy prince has a match-selling girl. The last person the swallows give the gold foil to is the matchgirl. Swallows are monogamous and raise their youngsters in couples. Swallows transport their food over 100 times, so this story makes ecological sense.

It is believed that the prince, who had never known outside the walls, died and never became an adult because he remained a prince, a title he held. Oscar Wilde also refers to children’s sacredness in his other book, The Selfish Giant. The giant had a lovely garden among its walls. With the giant gone, the children came to play. When the giants found them, they sent the children away. Then Spring stopped coming to the garden. The giants let the children in. This suggests a profound belief that children will go into the kingdom of heaven, as we have read in Matthew 18:3-5.

If you imagine a swallow flying around for the poor, the image recalls a street and a space. Time is a space, the analogy of Bergson appeared to indicate. Time is not linear, nor is it ephemeral. The flight of the swallows is repetitive, linear, planar. The swallows and the prince lived in an interior time different from the “exterior” time of the adults who had the prince who had lost his ornaments. Their kind-hearted deeds are different from the regular time. It is durée pure; They lived in the ambivalence of transmutation and preservation. How difficult and costly it is to love a human being. This is demonstrated by the description of the impoverished town and its inhabitants.

The prince was wealth itself. It was too big to share with the people. That’s why he needed the little swallows to get past a like needle hole. As it is more difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven than to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24), they begin their preparation for the narrow gate. (Luke 13:23,24) But the prince said to the swallows that misery was not a mystery. They will be carried by angels.

A most beautiful soul.

When the pure presence of the soul appears in the world of writing, a light comes into view.

It was as if, with the association of dawn in the mind, the beautiful sunrise revealed the presence of God. That the self-serving dialogue of the poor streets would fade into the distance;Our immersion rises into the kingdom of heaven.

When I was a little girl, I never wanted to be a stopped swallow;I wanted to be the swallow that ignored the prince and flew to warmer ground. But I realized what it meant to be a swallow that had nowhere else to fly but Sacred love.I thought of the Japanese words of prayer before Communion: Leaving you behind, who will I go to?

Bergson

Oscar Wilde – The Happy Prince

Bible Christianity 

備考(Note)

Leaving you behind, who will I go to? Japanese Mass

my soul shall be healed English Mass

参考資料 Reference

『Brief Lives: Oscar Wilde』by Richard Canning Hesperus Press Ltd.

Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience Henri-Louis Bergson

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