Lord Alfred Douglas

March 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (1870 – 1945) is best known as Oscar Wilde’s lover, and is often blamed for Wilde’s downfall. However, he was a poet in his own right. He lacked the genius of the older man, but some of his work is very lovely. The most famous, of course, is ‘Two Loves’ – one of the pieces of literature quoted at Wilde’s trial as evidence against him. One of my other favourites though, and a much lesser-known poem, is called ‘The Dead Poet’. Douglas wrote it after hearing the news of the death of his exiled former lover.

Lord Alfred Douglas

Lord Alfred Douglas as a young man

The Dead Poet

I dreamed of him last night, I saw his face

All radiant and unshadowed of distress,

And as of old, in music measureless,

I heard his golden voice and marked him trace

Under the common thing the hidden grace,

And conjure words out of emptiness,

Till mean things put on beauty like a dress

And all the world was an enchanted place.

And then methought outside a fast locked gate

I mourned the loss of unrecorded words,

Forgotten tales and mysteries half said,

Wonders that might have been articulate,

And voiceless thoughts like murdered singing birds.

And so I woke and knew that he was dead.


A lot of Wilde fans blame Bosie for what happened, but I actually feel more pity for him than anything. Yes, the relationship with Oscar was clearly a destructive one, and yes, Douglas was obviously very selfish at times, but with Queensbury for a father who wouldn’t have issues? Also, he truly knew how to live decadently (before he turned to Catholicism at least), and that is something I can always appreciate.



  1. rarestpage said,

    I adore Bosie…his poetry is so underrated. I found you via Tumblr — you have a gorgeous blog! You might like mine as well: http://www.thefindesiecle.com (devoted to art, literature and culture of the 1890’s).

    • Decadent Handbook said,

      Thank you very much! I love Bosie too – I can’t understand why his poetry isn’t rated that highly. Thank you for the link – I’ve just added you šŸ™‚ Would you mind if I put you on my blogroll here?

  2. mdiwoman said,

    His poetry is not rated highly because it is pedestrian. Oscar Wilde was not a particularly gifted poet either. As a playwright he was nonpareil. As a teller of tales he had sheer genius but at poetry neither Oscar nor Bosie excelled. The fact that they were lovers had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

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