About the only constructive thing Lord Alfred Douglas ever did was write a poem called "The Two Loves." The poem, which compared heterosexual and homosexual romance dialogically, concluded:
"I am true love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame."
Then sighing said the other, "Have thy will,
I am the love that dares not speak its name."
A bad poet and a worse friend, "Bosie" Douglas probably had no idea that in slapping together this crude bit of undergraduate verse he was signposting the future of Anglo-American thinking about homosexuality. For in the aftermath of the Wilde trials, the "naming" of homosexuals would become an obsession to the English-speaking world. To be named by hostile outsiders, it was assumed, meant condemnation, rejection, exile. On the other hand, to declare oneself--though dangerous--allowed for the possibility of escaping a life of lies.
This struck me because Joe's most recent Open Thread Thursday was on coming out. Also, "A bad poet and a worse friend" is such a wonderful description it immediately caught my eye.
* I've only read one of his novels, but several of his collections of short stories and I've enjoyed those very much.