A.E. HOUSMAN English scholar/poet, born, (d: 1936); Alfred Edward Housman was a classical scholar and poet of note. He was once viewed as a “great grey presence,” divorced from the flesh and married to the mind. Young men read A Shropshire Lad and wondered. Was he or wasn’t he? There was no way to find out.

Later, he was painted as a sad recluse, sighing quiet sighs over a straight friend, Moses Jackson, and jerking off the Muse in unrequited love. In this view, Houseman was “in the grip of the ‘cursed trouble’ that soured the wells of his life, produced his poetry, and urged him to the topmost heights of scholarly renown.

Now we learn that the scholarly Cambridge don, far from being “cursed” used to make merry with a string of Venetian gondoliers supplied by his friend Horatio Brown, and was as well a regular patron of the male brothels in Paris. Can it be that the myth of the scholar virgin is just that, a myth?

Because I Liked You
Because I liked you better
     Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
     To throw the thought away.
To put the world between us
     We parted, stiff and dry;
‘Good-bye,’ said you, ‘forget me.’
     ‘I will, no fear’, said I.
If here, where clover whitens
     The dead man’s knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
     Starts in the trefoiled grass,
Halt by the headstone naming
     The heart no longer stirred,
And say the lad that loved you
     Was one that kept his word.
A.E. Housman