Daily Poem – The Ballad Of Reading Gaol

July 29, 2006

The Ballad Of Reading Gaol (pronounced Redding Jail)

by Oscar Wilde

(In memoriam C. T. W. Sometime trooper of the Royal Horse Guards
obiit H.M. prison, Reading, Berkshire July 7, 1896)

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,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.
…for the complete poem, go to:
Primary Source:

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