Wilde’s meditation on capital punishment, the Ballad of Reading Gaol comes after he was convicted and imprisoned under charges of gross indecency. The charges stemmed from his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, the son of the Marquis of Queensberry. It relates the story of an execution of a man who murdered his wife which Wilde witnessed during his internment. Published in 1898, it was Wilde’s last published poem as he would die in 1900 from cerebral menengitis, caused by syphilis.
(Summary by John Gonzalez)