Ellman points out that TBRG follows a similar theme developed in Wilde's 1881 poem Humanitad, which contains the following lines referring to Christ:
That when we stabbed thy heart it was our own real hearts we slew.
"Humanitad" like TBRG is made up of six-line stanzas, though the rhyme scheme is different. Seamus Heaney has said that Wilde abandoned his aesthetic principles in the poem, but another writer describes him as embracing the aesthetic in writing about murder. It proved to be Wilde's last work of significance.
Works to be quoted: Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman
The Thing He Loves: Murder as Aesthetic Experience in "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Karen Alkalay-Gut
The Redress of Poetry: Oxford Lectures by Seamus Heaney