Wilde explains The Ballad of Reading Gaol is his swan song. In his lengthy and effusive letter Wilde begins noting "how thrilled and touched with emotion" he was to see his correspondent's handwriting the previous night and begs Blacker to visit him so he can thank him for his "sweet and wonderful kindness" to Constance Wilde and his sons. Wilde then comments on his life now that Alfred Douglas is gone: "I am living quite alone: in one room, I need hardly say, but there is an armchair for you. I have not seen Alfred Douglas for three months: he is I believe on the Riviera. I don't think it probable that we shall ever see each other again." He further explains, "if he is ever with me again he loses £10 a month of his allowance, and as he has only £400 a year he has adopted the wise and prudent course of conduct."
Wilde continues his letter with commentary on his latest literary effort, The Ballad of Reading Gaol: "I am so glad my poem has had a success in England. I have had for some weeks a copy for you—of the first edition—by me, which I long to present to you." He notes the poem will appear with a French translation in the April Mercure de France and hopes to have it published in a limited edition in book form. He declares: "it is my chant de cygne, and I am sorry to leave with a cry of pain— a song of Marsyas, not a song of Apollo; but Life, that I have loved so much—too much—has torn me like a tiger— so when you come to see me, you will see the ruin and wreck of what once was wonderful and brilliant, and terribly improbable." Wilde describes his reception by French men of letters and artists and, in an elegant phrase marks the end of his literary career: "I don't think I shall ever write again: la joie de vivre is gone, and that, with will-power is the basis of art."
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