— Jean Genet (Querelle)
The lyrics of the song that Jeanne Moreau sings are from Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” which was written in 1897 while in exile after his release from Reading Gaol prison. The line “Yet each man kills the thing he loves” was inspired by the hanging of Charles Thomas Wooldridge, a trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, who was convicted of slitting his wife’s throat.
Every man kills what he loves
Yet every man kills what he loves,
And we all know it:
They kill them with a look of hatred,
The others with caressing words,
The coward with a kiss,
The hero with a sword!

They kill their love when they are still young,
Others when they are old,
Some strangers strangle him with the hands of desire,
Certain others with the hands of gold,
The best ones use a knife, for that
The corpses will freeze.

You love too much or too little,
Love sells or buys,
Sometimes the crime is done with infinite tears,
Without a sigh,
Because each one of us kills what he loves
Yet he is not forced to die.

From "The Ballad Of Reading Gaol"
By Oscar Wilde

Soundtrack of Werner Fassbinder's film "Querelle" (1982)

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