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Ballad of Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde

Book Overview: 

Wilde’s meditation on capital punishment, the Ballad of Reading Gaol comes after he was convicted and imprisoned under charges of gross indecency. The charges stemmed from his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, the son of the Marquis of Queensberry. It relates the story of an execution of a man who murdered his wife which Wilde witnessed during his internment.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And sweated on the mill: But in the heart of every man Terror was lying still. So still it lay that every day Crawled like a weed-clogged wave: And we forgot the bitter lot That waits for fool and knave, Till once, as we tramped in from work, We passed an open grave. With yawning mouth the yellow hole Gaped for a living thing; The very mud cried out for blood To the thirsty asphalte ring: And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair Some prisoner had to swing. Right in we went, with soul intent On Death and Dread and Doom: The hangman, with his little bag, Went shuffling through the gloom And each man trembled as he crept Into his numbered tomb. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Oscar Wilde escribió "La Balada de la cárcel de Reading" precisamente cuando todavía estaba en prisión, luego de ser sentenciado a dos años de trabajos forzados por sodomía en 1895 y otros cargos que asumió a partir de hacer pública su condición de homosexual, perdiendo un juicio contra el padre de

A Killer named Jealousy

A man who murdered his wife in an act of uncontrollable jealousy was sentenced to death by hanging, and yet ... “all men kill the thing they love”

Is that true?
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"The Ballad of Reading Gaol" is a poem by Oscar Wilde, written in exile, 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.
In Reading gaol by

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