“We who live in prison, & in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, & the record of bitter moments.”
On this day- May 19th in 1897, Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gayol Prison, outside of London, after serving 2 years of "hard labour, hard fare & a hard bed" for a conviction of Gross Indecency. His health had suffered greatly, but he had a feeling of spiritual renewal. He immediately wrote to the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits, responsible for my college education, by the way) requesting a 6 month Catholic retreat; when the request was denied, Wilde wept.
Wilde left England the next day for the continent, to spend his last 3 years in penniless exile. He took the name Sebastian Melmoth, after Saint Sebastian. Wilde wrote 2 long letters to the editor of the London Daily Chronicle, describing the brutal conditions of English prisons & advocating penal reform.