Married to Constance Lloyd and father of two children Cyril (1885-1915) and Vyvyan (1886-1967), Wilde was also conducting an ongoing affair with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, the third son of the Marquess of Queensbury. When the outraged Marquess called Wilde a homosexual, the Irish playwright took the silly decision to sue for libel. He lost, was arrested for homosexuality (then a crime) and sentenced to two years hard labour for gross indecency.
Following his release, he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol which was dedicated to Charles Thomas Woodridge “Sometime Trooper of the Royal Horse Guards” who was executed for murdering his wife prompting Wilde to famously write
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!
Jail broke his spirit “and that each day is like a year, a year whose days are long,” and a lonely, desolate, poverty stricken Wilde died in Paris in 1900 at age 46.