Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote In Memoriam A.H.H. for his very dear friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and a student at Trinity College. who died suddenly from a cerebral haemorrhage. It is hard for us now to see their love as anything but homosexual, yet at the time, these intense, non-sexual friendships between two men were regarded as quite normal and perfectly "wholesome". We hadn't yet had the psychiatrists and hate-mongers destroy any chance of non-sexual male2male love prospering. Love doesn't have to be about fucking. But most straight men are too afraid of being thought 'mos to be really close to another man. The saddest consequence of the long, vicious and futile crusade against homosexuality: the tragic collateral damage -- straight male intimacy
The poem is very long, and very moving. And whether Tennyson was having sex with Hallam or not is irrelevant. This was the deepest and sincerest love. Read the poem for yourself, and see. For my friend who died, whom I loved, this canto, canto V, seems perfectly apposite.
- I sometimes hold it half a sin
- To put in words the grief I feel;
- For words, like Nature, half reveal
- And half conceal the Soul within.
- But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
- A use in measured language lies;
- The sad mechanic exercise,
- Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
- In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
- Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
- But that large grief which these enfold
- Is given in outline and no more.
I miss him so much.