Wilde's first criminal trial begins

The Crown v. Wilde case began with Wilde and Alfred Douglas being accused of 25 counts of gross indecency and conspiracy to commit gross indecency. Many witnesses testified about their sexual acts with Wilde, even though Wilde continually maintained his innocence and plead not guilty. The prosecution asked for the meaning of "a love that dare not speak its name", a line in a poem written by Douglas, and Wilde's response was: "The love that dare not speak its name’ in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are… It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older man and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamor of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it." Although this response seemingly incriminates him, the jury could not reach a verdict, and Wilde was released on bail.




Associated Place(s)

Event date:

26 Apr 1895

Parent Chronology: