All trials are trials for one’s life, just as all sentences are sentences
of death; and three times have I been tried. The first time I left the
box to be arrested, the second time to be led back to the house of
detention, the third time to pass into a prison for two years. Society,
as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer;
but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have
clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence
I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may
walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my
footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in
great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.
Notes: a “from the depths” epistle to Lord Alfred Douglas. Written during Wilde’s imprisonment in Reading Gaol. Click here to read the full text of De Profundis.
Suggested further reading: The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde