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Oscar Wilde -
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)
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The Governor was strong upon
The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called,
And left a little tract.
And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
I know not whether Laws be right,
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
A year whose days are long.
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky.
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
In Humanity's machine.
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?
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!
He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead.
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!
Something was dead in each of us,
And what was dead was Hope.
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.
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.
When a voice behind me whispered low,
"That fellow's got to swing."
Quote of the day
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
October 16, 1854
November 30, 1900
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