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Flamboyant queer of old Lord Alfred Douglas was the first to call homosexuality "the love that dare not speak its name" in his poem "Two Loves," written in 1894. This was back in the era of Oscar Wilde (it was, in fact, made famous when Wilde quoted it during his trial in 1895) and The Well of Loneliness, when you really did not dare... and should you dare, you went through hell for it.

Like The Well of Loneliness (Radclyffe Hall's oeuvre), "Two Loves" presents a very rigid view of human sexuality determined by Douglas's time. There's no second verse where the third loves of bisexuality or pansexuality pop up... and, too, how many folks you know, straight or otherwise, are as energetically wholesome as the "true love" speaker?

I personally found both this poem and The Well of Loneliness to be really really fucking depressing when I was a young thing struggling with the Big Issues. As a bookish lass growing up in a super-liberal household, old books affected me profoundly, and the whole "normal folks are ladylike if they are ladies, mannish if they are men, opposites attract as naturally as magnets or batteries" thing caused just as much angst as the fear that even gay people thought being gay was the worst sexual blight of all, and that if it turned out I really did like Susie more than Frankie, I would die untouchable - just a lonely dyke.

(I like him, but she's just so... but if I feel like that why do I feel like this... I'm such a sad pathetic loser oh God fuck fucking... I don't deserve to survive on the same earth as anything so beautiful as she is...)

Now I am happy and gay, don't worry.

Two Loves by Lord Alfred Douglas

'Sweet youth,

Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove

These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth

What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'

Then straight the first did turn himself to me

And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,

But I am Love, and I was wont to be

Alone in this fair garden, till he came

Unasked by night; 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 dare not speak its name.'

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