Article Title:Valentine and Valentine:
Author or Credit:Alexander Lowë
Published on:25th February 2016 - 08:56 am
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Story ID:17975
Text:Five same-sex love letters from history Throughout history love letters have been sent between some our most famous writers and their same-sex admirers, from Oscar Wilde to Virgina Woolf, Alexander Lowë takes a look at those romantic words penned. Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf Bai Juyi and Yuan Zhen Bai Juyi (772–846), one of the most loved and widely read of Chinese poets, was also a statesman, at pick of his career becoming the governor of Suzhow. He had been romantically involved with a range of fellow bureaucrats exchanging with them romantic gifts and poetic letters. His greatest love was his fellow student Yuan Zhen (779–831), their love affair continued for decades well after the fate separated them and despite the time of almost one year that it took for their letters to reach one another. When they reunited in 819, they carved a poem on the rock outside a cave. They meet again in 821 and in then in 829 when they decided to live together in their retirement, but Yuan Zhen had died after a sudden illness. Bai Juyi wrote two requiems for the funeral of his beloved. Yuan Zhen to Bai Juyi: c. 816 Other people too have friends that they love;
But ours was a love such as few friends have known.
You were all my sustenance; it mattered more
To see you daily than to get my morning food.
And if there was a single day when we did not meet
I would sit listless, my mind in a tangle of gloom.
To think we are now thousands of miles apart,
Lost like clouds, each drifting on his far way!
Those clouds on high, where many winds blow,
What is their chance of ever meeting again?
And if in open heaven the beings of the air
Are driven and thwarted, what of Man below? King James I (VI) and George Villiers King James (VI of Scotland, I of England) was 48 when he was introduced in 1614 to twenty-one-year-old George Villiers, "the handsomest-bodied man in England." The two men fell madly in love, notoriously kissing and caressing one another in public. First appointed as the royal cupbearer, Villiers had a dizzying career, soon knighted as Gentleman of the Bedchamber, subsequently becoming Baron, Earl, Marquess of Buckingham and Lord Admiral of the Fleet and, finally, the Duke of Buckingham. Above all, he became both the most passionate king’s lover his most loyal confidant and ally. James famously defended their intimate relationship when questioned by the Privy Council: "I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had his John, and I have my George." James I to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham: December 1623 I cannot content myself without sending you this present, praying God that I may have a joyful and comfortable meeting with you and that we may make at this Christmas a new marriage ever to be kept hereafter; for, God so love me, as I desire only to live in this world for your sake, and that I had rather live banished in any part of the earth with you than live a sorrowful widow's life without you. And so God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband. 
 James R. King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Richard Wagner King Ludwig II (1845–86) was a dreamer and an aesthete who built fairy tale castles that nearly bankrupted his country. His passions for arts and men have colluded in his love for Richard Wagner, who he was ready to give up his throne to live with. Being just 18 years old on his succession, the young king became obsessed with 51 years old composer. Ludwig brought Wagner from the exile and relaunched his carrier, financing the Opera House for him and staging his extravagant operas, sometimes performed for the king as the only member of the audience. Wagner’s talent had flourished from the love affair; he rewarded Ludwig with his best music and deepest affection, claiming "Without him I am as nothing! Even in loving him he was my first teacher. O my King! You are divine!" The pair has exchanged over 600 passionate letters. Ludwig II to Richard Wagner: 
2 November 1865 My one Friend, my ardently beloved! 
 This afternoon, at 3.30, I returned from a glorious tour in Switzerland! How this land delighted me! – There I found your dear letter; deepest warmest thanks for the same. With new and burning enthusiasm has it filled me; I see that the beloved marches boldly and confidently forward, towards our great and eternal goal. 
 All hindrances I will victoriously overcome like a hero. I am entirely at thy disposal; let me now dutifully prove it. – Yes, we must meet and speak together. I will banish all evil clouds; Love has strength for all. You are the star that shines upon my life, and the sight of you ever wonderfully strengthens me. – Ardently I long for you, O my presiding Saint, to whom I pray! I should be immensely pleased to see my friend here in about a week; oh, we have plenty to say! If only I could quite banish from me the curse of which you speak, and send it back to the deeps of night from whence it sprang! – How I love, how I love you, my one, my highest good! . . . 
 My enthusiasm and love for you are boundless. Once more I swear you faith till death! 
 Ever, ever your devoted 
 Ludwig Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie) Meeting young but corrupt Oxford undergraduate Alfred Douglas was beginning of the end for Oscar Wilde, the most popular British author in his lifetime. Wilde got completely consumed by the affair, giving up to every whim of his young aristocratic lover, indulging into his scandalous lifestyle of sexual excesses. Caught up in a family feud between Alfred and his father, Marquis of Queensberry, Wilde ended up in court where after several trials he has been sentenced for the ‘gross indecency’. Ironically, it was his love letters to Bosie that were recklessly passed by the later to the male escort that were presented as evidence of Oscar’s homosexuality in court. While in prison, Oscar wrote one of his most compelling pieces, “De Profundis”, a powerful letter of disillusionment to Bosie, who burned its send to him copy without reading it. Bosie has left England during the trials and never got in touch with Oscar during his two years in prison. Oscar has however briefly reunited after his release with Bosie against protests of all his friends which meant the putting the end to is marriage and being barred from ever seeing his adored sons again. Wilde and Douglas post-prison relationship was short-lived as Bosie, who inherited a fortune from his father, refused to help his generous but now broke Oscar dumping his once glamorous lover to die alone in misery while publicly labeling him “an old fat prostitute”. Oscar Wilde to Alfred Douglas (Bosie): January 1893 My Own Boy, Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days. Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first. Always, with undying love, yours, Oscar Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf was the lifelong friend of English poet Vita Sackville-West. They also had a very passionate affair which inspired one of the most famous Woolf’s novels, Orlando. The novel was portraying Vita as its gender-bending protagonist; it was dedicated to Vita and included her pictures as illustrations. Vita was presented with Virginia’s original manuscript, bound specifically for her in Niger leather and engraved with her initials on the spine. Nigel Nicolson, Sackville-West’s son, has described the novel as “the longest and most charming love-letter in literature”. Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf: 21 January 1927 …I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your undumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it should lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is really just a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don’t really resent it.     Alexander Lowë - 25th February 2016
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