He was believed by his peers to be an important poet, But his erotic obsession, condemned and strictly forbidden, Compromised his standing, and led to his ruin.
Over sixty, and a father many times over, The objects of his attention grew younger and younger: He tried to corrupt the sons of his dearest friends; He pressed on them drinks and drugs, And of course he was caught and publicly shamed. Was his death a suicide? No one is sure.
But thatâ€™s not the whole story; itâ€™s too sordid to tell. Besides, the memory of his poems deserves better. Though we were unable to look at them for a time His poems survive his death. There he appears as his finest self: Attractive, scholarly, dedicated to love.
At last we can read him again, putting aside The brute facts of his outer life, And rejoice at the inner voice, so lofty and pure.