Disappointed Again. by Fun Magazine

“It is announced that Oscar Wilde was also disappointed with Niagara”

oscar wilde
Oscar Wilde photographed by Napoleon Sarony, 1882. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Universe, you are a failure,
‡‡You’re one masterly mistake;
Firmamental glories, pale your
‡‡Fires, and played-out old earth, quake.
You may teem with hidden treasure,
‡‡But we won’t be reconciled,
Since you seem to take a pleasure
‡‡In disappointing Wilde.

In the lake, as in the ocean,
‡‡Torrents’ rush, and waves that roll,
Failing to impart emotion
‡‡To his fine fastidious soul;
You may just as well, Dame Nater,
‡‡Shut up shop, to draw it mild,
As let cataract and crater
‡‡Go disappointing Wilde.

Or, perhaps you’d best endeavour
‡‡To improve your old design,
Make catastrophes more clever,
‡‡And phenomena more fine.
Dye Niagara rose-madder,
‡‡Have the wide Atlantic biled:
Then he may feel somewhat gladder,
‡‡The disappointed Wilde.

When they meet his pensive gaze, oh,
‡‡Take a ‘cute scene-painter’s hints,
Add ten leagues to Chimborazo,
‡‡To the rainbow ten new tints;
Let Mount Etna vomit lava
‡‡With a monster saucepan tiled,
So he will but murmur, Brava!”
‡‡The disappointed Wilde.

Then you might transpose each season,
‡‡Make the roses oust the snows,
Give the Tory party reason,
‡‡And the Irish one repose;
But, perhaps, the multiplying
‡‡Of the dollar-heap he’s piled,
Would be best for satisfying,
‡‡Not disappointing, Wilde.

Source: “Still Disappointed” in Cooper, John. Oscar Wilde in America Blog: Niagara Falls, 2016. Retrieved from  https://oscarwildeinamerica.blog/2016/03/07/niagara-falls/comment-page-1/

Originally published in Fun magazine, March 8, 1882, in response to Wilde’s widely quoted comment that “Every American bride is taken there, and the sight of the stupendous waterfall must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married life” – quoted in Carr, Jamie M. Niagaras of Ink: Famous Writers at the Falls. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2020. p. 50.

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