The Ballad of Reading Gaol

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Brentano's, 1906 - Imprisonment - 78 pages
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Woodstock's facsimile series takes a walk on the Wilde side with this poetry duo from 1898 and 1892, respectively. The former volume offers one long poem, while the latter contains about 50 shorter pieces. These reproductions additionally include scholarly introductions. Read full review

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Page 1 - I never saw sad men who looked So wistfully at the day. I never saw sad men who looked With such a wistful eye Upon that little tent of blue We prisoners call the sky, And at every careless cloud that passed In happy freedom by.
Page 25 - And all the woe that moved him so That he gave that bitter cry, And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, None knew so well as I: For he who lives more lives than one / /,-• More deaths than one must die.
Page 10 - It is sweet to dance to violins When Love and Life are fair: To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes Is delicate and rare; But it is not sweet with nimble feet To dance upon the air!
Page 27 - But there were those amongst us all Who walked with downcast head, And knew that, had each got his due, They should have died instead : He had but killed a thing that lived, Whilst they had killed the dead. For he who sins a second time Wakes a dead soul to pain, And draws it from its spotted shroud, And makes it bleed again, And makes it bleed great gouts of blood, And makes it bleed in vain ! Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb With crooked arrows starred, Silently we went round and round The...
Page 37 - Each narrow cell in which we dwell Is a foul and dark latrine, And the fetid breath of living death Chokes up each grated screen, And all, but Lust, is turned to dust In Humanity's machine.
Page 8 - He did not wring his hands nor weep, Nor did he peek or pine, But he drank the air as though it held Some healthful anodyne; With open mouth he drank the sun As though it had been wine!
Page 36 - 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.
Page 42 - 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!
Page 31 - Out of his mouth a red, red rose ! • Out of his heart a white ! For who can say by what strange way, Christ brings his will to light, Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore Bloomed in the great Pope's sight...
Page 34 - By his dishonoured grave: Nor mark it with that blessed Cross That Christ for sinners gave, Because the man was one of those Whom Christ came down to save.

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