The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Notable excerpts

Several passages from the poem have become famous:

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!

The line is a nod to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, when Bassanio asks "Do all men kill the things they do not love?"[17]

A passage from the poem was chosen as the epitaph on Wilde's tomb;

And alien tears will fill for him, Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn.


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