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The Ballad of Reading Gaol

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

In May of 1895, the century’s most dazzling man of letters was sentenced to two years with hard labour for ‘acts of gross indecency with another male person.’ On his release he moved to France, where he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol: an anguished plea for prison reform, and a passionate expression of sympathy for his fellow prisoners, those ‘souls in pain’.

Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol was a success from its first publication, and to this day some of its lines are among the most famous in the English language. Powerfully illustrated by Peter Hay, Two Rivers Press presents Wilde’s Ballad with a newly-commissioned introduction, drawing on unpublished material in the prison archives.

Includes 52 black-and-white illustrations.