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The Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde, written in exile in Berneval-le-Grand, after his release from Reading Gaol on 19 May 1897. Wilde had been incarcerated in Reading after being convicted of gross indecency with other men in 1895 and sentenced to two years' hard labour in prison.


Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo

„For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.“

—  Oscar Wilde, book The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Pt. III, st. 22
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)
Source: The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Other Poems

Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo

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Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo

„The vilest deeds like poison weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there“

—  Oscar Wilde, book The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Pt. V, st. 30
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)
Context: The vilest deeds like poison weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
And the Warder is Despair.

Oscar Wilde photo
Oscar Wilde photo

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