This page is under construction and still includes mention of only a tiny fraction of all the Greek love poetry that has been published.
Poetry published in book form
Abu Nuwas or Hasan ibn Hani al-Hakami, Poems, a selection translated and adapted by Hakim Bey [Peter Lamborn Wilson] as O Tribe that Loves Boys, Amsterdam: Entimos Press, 1993.
Abu Nuwas or Hasan ibn Hani al-Hakami, Poems, a selection translated by Jaafar Tarab as Carousing with Gazelles: Homoerotic Songs of Old Baghdad, USA: iUniverse, 2005. A mere seventeen of Abu Nuwas's many pederastic poems, well annotated but rendered into English verse at a significant cost to accurate translation.
[Anon.,] كِتَابُ أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَة (The Thousand Nights and One Night), 7th to 19th centuries. Translated from the Arabic many times since 1708 under different names and with varying content. A vast collection of enthralling stories within one framing one, embodying many romantic poems, including many on the beauty of boys. Read the Greek love ones that do not appear in Greek love stories.
[Anon.,] Altercatio Ganimedis et Helene, 12th-century ms. edited by Rolf Lenzen & published in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 7 (1972), pp. 161-186; first translated into English as "Ganymede and Helen" by John Boswell in his Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 381-9. Read on this website. A debate between the prime examplars of boyish and female beauty as to the relative merits of loving their kind.
[Anon.,] Ganymede and Hebe, late 12th-century ms. Latin original and English translation by John Boswell both first published in his Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 392-8. Read on this website a slightly corrected version of the Latin with a new translation by Thomas Stehling in his Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship, New York: Garland, 1984, pp. 130-135. A vitriolic dispute before the council of heaven over Ganymede having taken Hebe's place as cupbearer to the gods.
Baldric "of Bourgeuil", later Archbishop of Dol, Poems, written ca. 1078-1107. In Latin. Published as Baldricus Burgulianus Carmina edited by Karlheinz Hilbert, Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1979. At least 18 of these 254 poems were addressed to boys, many of them in the language of desire.
Barnfield, Richard, The Teares of an Affectionate Shepheard Sicke for Love, London: Iohn Danter, 1594.
Barnfield, Richard, Cynthia, with certain Sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra, England: Humfrey Lownes, 1595.
Beccadelli, Antonio, The Hermaphrodite, Bologna, 1425/6; translated from the Latin by Holt Parker, Harvard, 2010. Epigrams inspired by classical models and celebrating vice in general, but best-known and most controversial for those that are pederastic.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., B.D., Sonnets Songs & Ballads, London: Kegan Paul, 1908. A varied collection of 75 poems including sonnets, narrative ballads, religious verse and children’s verse on a range of topics but often involving boys. Unmistakably homoerotic, yet more guarded than Bradford’s subsequent volumes which celebrate boy love still more openly.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., Passing the Love of Women and Other Poems, London: Kegan Paul, 1913.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., In Quest of Love and Other Poems, London: Kegan Paul, 1914. Thirty poems, ranging from love lyrics to historical narratives, in which the life and love of boys is a prominent theme. In the long eponymous opening poem Bradford describes the encounters he had with boys while travelling in Europe and North Africa.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., Lays of Love and Life, London: Kegan Paul, 1916. Seventy-three poems plus some epigrams and aphorisms. The poems range from long narrative tales to love lyrics dealing very frankly with boy love, and include ‘When I Went A-Walking’, which the Mattachine Society once voted its all-time favourite boy-love poem.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., The New Chivalry and Other Poems, London: Kegan Paul, 1918.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., The Romance of Youth and Other Poems, London: Kegan Paul, 1920. PDF. Forty-nine poems about boys, boy love, nature and philosophy. Very frank for their time (‘His mother and I are fellow worshippers’, as one opening line goes).
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., Ralph Rawdon: a Story in Verse, London: Kegan Paul, 1922.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., The True Aristocracy, London: Kegan Paul, 1923.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., The Tree of Knowledge, London: Kegan Paul, 1925.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., The Kingdom within You and Other Poems, London: Kegan Paul, 1927.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., Strangers and Pilgrims, London: Kegan Paul, 1929. One of Bradford’s novellas in verse, setting out in 58 short chapters in iambic pentameter the story of two boys, Alan Dare and Clinton Fane, in the fictional seaside town of Castle Fane. Alan is gradually awakened to Clinton’s philosophy that some boys are not meant for marriage with women, but instead for lifelong spiritual friendship with each other.
Bradford, Revd. E. E., D.D., Boyhood, London: Kegan Paul, 1930.
Brown, Horatio. Drift: Verses, London: Grant Richards, 1900. The Uranian verse, suppressed before publication because of concern over its pederastic content, by John Addington Symonds's literary executor, composed while living in Venice.
Cavafy, C. P., Poems published from 1891 onwards and translated from the original Greek by Daniel Mendelsohn as Complete Poems, London: HarperPress, 2013. One of very many editions of the work of the great Alexandrian poet of Greek love and classical Greece. Translated, with annotations on each poem, by Daniel Mendelsohn. Includes the first English translations of Cavafy’s unfinished poems.
Chubb, Ralph, A Fable of Love and War, privately printed, Curridge, Berkshire, 1925. The tale of a warrior who refuses a boy of 16's demand to possess him the night before a battle, and a girl who then seduces the boy.
Chubb, Ralph, The Book of God's Madness, privately printed, Aldermaston, 1928. A long poem in blank verse proclaiming the author's love of boys.
Chubb, Ralph, Songs of Mankind, privately printed, Aldermarston, 1930. A powerful collection of poems illustrated with woodcuts, some erotic, which continues to expound the author's philosophy of boy-love.
Chubb, Ralph, Songs Pastoral and Paradisal, privately printed, Brockweir, 1935.
Chubb, Ralph, Water Cherubs: a Book of Original Drawings and Poetry, privately printed, Aldermaston, 1937. Rhyming couplets about boys bathing, with an introduction and postscript on boy-love and a little erotic prose fable, "Alfie's Tale".
De Mérode, Willem [Willem Eduard Keuning], Ganymedes, Amsterdam: De Gulden Ster, 1924. A long poem about Zeus and Ganymede.
Douglas, Lord Alfred, Poems. Poèmes, Paris: le Mercure de France, 1896, in French and English on opposing pages. The definitive, unexpurgated edition of Douglas's poems.
Douglas, Norman (editor), Some Limericks, privately printed, 1929. Read the Greek love content here. All are sexual, but only four of the main fifty, and one more in the notes, are pederastic. Douglas’s erudite explanatory notes are entertaining.
Fazil Bey, "Enderunlu", four erotic poems in Turkish written ca. 1792-1810, periodically published but never translated into English except for Zenannâme Englished as "The Book of Women" by E. Powys Mathers in his Eastern Love, vol. III, London: John Rodker, 1927. Read the Greek love content of the latter and a description of the others. His Hubannâme (Book of Beautiful Boys) was transliterated into modern Turkish (Istanbul, 1945) and very loosely and anonymously translated into French as Le Livre des Beaux (Paris: Bibliothèque Internationale d'Édition, 1909).
García Gómez, Emilio (editor), Poemas arabigoandaluces, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1959. A selection translated from the Spanish by Erskine Lane as In Praise of Boys: Moorish Poems from Al-Andalus, San Francisco: Gay Sunshine, 1975.
George, Stefan, Algabal, Paris, 1892. In German only. Love poetry dedicated to a boy, much of it about the Roman boy Emperor Elagabalus.
Gillett, George, “To Kalon” in The Artist London, 1 December 1891. A poem "inspired by a portrait" claiming God can be glimpsed through the beauty of a boy's face.
The Greek Anthology, 5th century BC to 9th century AD, many authors. The "Palatine" ms., the best and most complete, compiled in 15 books by Konstantinos Kephalas, early 10th century, additions from the 1301 ms. of Maximos Planoudes conventionally added as a 16th book. Best and only full translation into English by W. R. Paton for The Loeb Classical Library, 5 vols., Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1915-8. Introduction with links to Greek love content. A huge collection of epigrams on various subjects, of which those touching on pederasty provide unrivaled insight into the thoughts of a wide range of ancient Greek-speaking lovers of boys. The Greek love epigrams were mostly collected together in Book XII, the Μουσα Παιδικη (The Boyish Muse), of which Straton of Sardis was the reputed compiler and most prolific contributor (probably in the 2nd century BC), but 35 epigrams were wrongly included in it, while 45 touching on Greek love were placed in other books.
Grünewald, Alfred, Sonette an einen Knaben und andere Gedichte (Sonnets to a Boy and Other Poems), Hamburg: Männerschwarm, 2013. An anthology of technically highly accomplished boy-love verse by this Viennese poet murdered in Auschwitz for being Jewish and because of his sexual orientation. Includes a biographical essay by Volker Bühn.
Hilary, known as the Englishman, early 12th-century poems edited by J. J. Champollion-Figeac as Hilarii versus et ludi, Paris: Techener, 1838). Read the Greek love ones, as translated by John Boswell in his Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 372-4, and Thomas Stehling in his Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship, New York: Garland, 1984, pp. 71-75. Though Hilary also wrote a love poem to a woman, his four most passionate poems were addressed to boys.
Iraj Mirza ایرج میرزا, Jalal al-Malek, Divan-e Iraj Mirza, Tehran: Mozaffari Press, 1972. Two poems only translated from the Persian by Paul Sprachman in his Suppressed Persian: An Anthology of Forbidden Literature, Costa Mesa, California: Mazda, 1995, pp. 76-90. Read the Greek love content of this translation. Iraj Mirza's poems include both love poems about boys written when he, as a young man, was a pederast, and polemics against pederasty written in his last years when he had turned against Greek love as regressive. It is the latter which has been translated.
Kaylor, Michael Matthew (editor), Lad’s Love. An Anthology of Uranian Poetry and Prose, 2 vols., Kansas City, Missouri: Valancourt, 2010. The definitive collection of the writings of the Uranians, here constituting forty-seven English writers on pederasty in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, edited with copious bibliographic information.
Kirmani, Awhaduddin, Quatrains, 13th century, translated from the Persian as Heart's Witness, the Sufi Quatrains of Awhaduddin Kirmani, by P. L. Wilson and B. N. Weischer, Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, 1978. A selection of the quatrains of a philosopher-poet who believed the Almighty revealed himself to man most perfectly through the beauty of boys.
Klingsor, Tristan [Léon Leclère], Schéhérazade, Paris: Mercure de France, 1903. In French only. The texts for the composer Maurice Ravel's song cycle of the same name, many of them implicitly addressed to a boy.
Marbod, Bishop of Rennes, late 11th-early 12th-century poems edited by J. P. Migne in Patrologia cursus completes: series Latina (Paris 1854). Read the five Greek love ones, as edited and translated from the Latin by Thomas Stehling in his Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship (New York, 1984), pp. 30-39. Two are positive on the love of boys, one concerns a triangle of unrequited love involving a girl, one denounces homosexual copulation, and, in the last, Marbod repents of lust for both sexes; all assume that homosexual desire is for boys.
Meyer, Tom, Uranian Roses, Scarborough, Ontario: Catalyst, 1977. A small book of his short boylove poems reminiscent of The Greek Anthology/Straton of Sardis.
Miller, David (editor), Poems of Love & Liberation, New York: North American Man/Boy Love Association, 1996. ‘Throughout most of Western history (and not only Western), man/boy love has been the primary mode of homoeroticism. Nowhere is the record more clear on this point than in the arts’ (from the Preface). Sixty-nine poems in English or translated into English, from Strato to Whitman, from Ruan Ji to Abu Nuwas and from Gottschalk of Orbais to Goethe.
Nev’izade Atayi. Heft Han (Seven Stories), 1627. Published in Turkish only in Turgut Karacan, Heft-hvân mesnevisi, Ankara: Sevinç, 1974, pp. 317-344. The seventh of these morality tales concern two Istanbul youths who, having wasted their fortunes on wine and boys, set out to become sufis, but are captured and enslaved by good European masters who fall in love with them and eventually go to live with them as Moslems in Istanbul.
Nicholson, John Gambril, Love in Earnest: a Sequence of Fifty Sonnets in the Second Person, London: Elliot Stock, 1892. PDF. Fifty sonnets retailing the author’s love affair with a person of unspecified gender, in fact the boy pupil of 14 to whom they were dedicated, followed by ballads and lyrics where the boy-love is made plain.
Nicholson, John Gambril, A Chaplet of Southernwood, Ashover, Derbyshire: Frank Murray, 1896. Verses celebrating the beauty of a boy pupil the author had loved from when he was 13.
Nicholson, John Gambril, A Garland of Ladslove, London: [Francis Edwin Murray], 1911. Verses written for another boy pupil the author had loved from when he was 13, not very happily since the boy could not reciprocate his ardour.
Nicholson, John Gambril, In the Dreamy Afternoon, London: The Gay Men’s Press, 1989. A selection of 75 poems by the Uranian poet and writer, including poems inspired by his great love, Frank Victor Rushforth, with whom he became friends in 1902, when Victor was 13.
Owen, Wilfred, Wilfred Owen: The Complete Poems and Fragments edited by Jon Stallworthy, London: Chatto & Windus, 1983. Read the Greek love content. Five of the poems by this greatest of the English 1st World War poets are of obvious Greek love interest, whilst others could be considered such once Owen's attraction to boys has been understood.
Penna, Sandro, many books of poetry published 1939-89 translated from the original Italian by Blake Robinson as an anthology, Remember Me, God of Love, Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1993. ‘The melancholy of love wherein / the youngster’s smile can stay so white / like a final seagull the gale has left.’ Poems and stories by the Italian master of minimalism, in which the poet's love of adolescent boys is a pervasive theme.
Philebus [John Leslie Barford], Edmund John & Cuthbert Wright, Blue Boys, London: The Gay Men’s Press, 1990. Selections from three Uranian poets: 25 poems by Philebus, 7 by Edmund John and 5 by Cuthbert Wright. Wright was an American, but well-travelled and plugged into the English Uranian scene.
Reid, Anthony (editor), The Eternal Flame: A World Anthology of Homosexual Verse (2000 B.C.-2000 A.D.), 2 vols.: Vol. I, Elmhurst, New York: Dyanthus Press, 1992; Vol. II, [California]: Asphodel, 2002. Despite the title, the verse is purely pederastic. The translations into English, which account for most of the verse, are vivid and lusciously beautiful, but hardly faithful in spirit, less still word, tending strongly to exaggerate the homoeroticism.
Reijntjes, Roel, Ik heb nooit echt het vol geluk verwacht (I never truly expected perfect happiness), Beilen: Het Drentse Boek, 2010. The complete poems of a poet much celebrated in the Dutch province of Drenthe, who wrote exclusively in his province’s variety of Low Saxon (Low German). Much poetry inspired by Drenthe and by nature, but includes some poems on boys he loved in Thailand.
Rolfe, Frederick, "Baron Corvo", Collected Poems, posthumously published, London: Cecil & Amelia Woolf, 1974.
Shakespeare, William, Sonnets, London: Thomas Thorpe, 1609. 154 sonnets, of which the first 126 expressed profound love for the "fair youth" to whom they were addressed, and whose identity has been the subject of much controversy ever since.
[Slocum, Edward Mark] (editor), Men and Boys: An Anthology, privately printed, New York, 1924. Reprinted, with An Appreciation by T. d'Arch Smith and an Introduction by Donald H. Mader, New York: Coltsfoot, 1978. PDF missing the introduction. Revised and extended introduction by Donald H. Mader A heavily edited and short, but not expurgated anthology of ancient to 20th century Greek love verse, translated where necessary.
[Slocum, Edward Mark], Lads O' the Sun, privately printed, [New York?, ca. 1928]. 35 short pederastic poems, each with a photo of a nude boy or youth by the author on the facing pages.
[Smith, Arnold W.] A schoolmaster, A Boy's Absence, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1919. PDF. A long (20 pp.) and touching poem by a Battersea schoolmaster lamenting the imminent departure from the school of a beloved boy pupil.
Smith, Sidney, Manchild, New York: Dragonfly, 1978. Poems illustrated by the author and premised on a philosophy of bringing about a gentler culture through bringing boys up in accord with nature, including eros with men.
Somerset, Lord Henry, Songs of Adieu, London: Chatto & Windus, 1889. PDF. Poems about his love affair (abruptly ended following discovery and disgrace) with Harry Smith, a youth of 17, in 1878.
Stefani, Mario, Other Gods, 55 poems translated from the Italian by Anthony Reid, London: The Kouros Press, 1982. PDF. A selection from the prize-winning Venetian poet's verse published since 1960 of poems evoking the beauty of boys and the love they inspired, finely illustrated with linocuts of pubescent boys by J. Martin Pitts.
Stuart-Young, John Moray, Through Veiled Eyes. Being the story of a dead lad's love, London: John Ouseley, 1908. A paean to a loved boy.
Summers, Montague, Antinous and Other Poems, London: Sisley's, 1907. A volume of florid, high-church pederastic verse influenced by French writers.
Warren, Edward Perry, writing as Arthur Lyon Raile, Itamos, London: Grant Richards, 1903, augmented in later editions of 1907, 1909 and 1913 and finally with the new title The Wild Rose, London: Duckworth, 1928. Published with his handwritten glosses in The Collected Works and Commissioned Biography of Edward Perry Warren, 2 vols., edited with by Michael Matthew Kaylor, Brno: Masaryk University Press, 2013. The original 44 Greek love poems were steadily augmented to 95.
Zakani, Obeyd-e, Poems, 14th century, only finally published in a full unbowdlerized version as Kolliyat-e Obayd-e Zakani, edited by Mohammad Ja`far Mahjub (Biblioteca Persica, New York, 2009). A selection of thirty translated from the Persian by Dick Davis in his Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz (Washington, DC: Mage Publishers, 2013) pp. 195-218. Six of these are clearly about boy-love, though others could be so interpreted given the use of genderless pronouns and the poet's openness to the attractions of both women and boys.
Poems never in print offered on this site
Caunter, C., Fulham Fantasia, written 1998-2022. Read on this website. Nineteen poems inspired by Greek love.
Hummingbird, A Boy on the Bus, first posted online 2008. Read on this website. A single poem recounting how the narrator, aged 14, became a boy-lover through an encounter with a younger boy on a bus.
If you would like to leave a comment on this webpage, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning either the title or the url of the page so that the editor can add it.
Anon. 68, 15 October 2021
Perhaps the following poets/books may be added to the poetry page:
Constantine Cavafy: The Complete Poems of Cavafy: Expanded Edition, trans. by Rae Dalven, Harcourt Brace, 1976
Kurt Neuburger: Knabennicht minder - Gedichte, VerlagGruppe Vis-à-Vis, Berlin 1988
Sandro Penna: Remember Me, God of Love: Selected Poems and Prose, translated by Blake Robinson, Carcanet Press, 1993
Sandro Penna: This Strange Joy: Selected Poems of Sandro Penna, translated by W.S. Di Piero, Ohio State Univ. Press, 1982
Stefan George: The Works of Stefan George, 2nd Edition, Olga Marx and Ernst Morwitz, UNC Press, 2020
Staton of Sardis: Das Hohelied der Knabenliebe: ErotischeGedichteaus der GriechischenAnthologie, translated into German by Wolfram Setz; Verlag Rosa Winkel,1987
Straton of Sardis: La Muse Garçonnièreet Les Amours, trans. by Roger Peyrefitte, Flammarion, 1973
Straton of Sardis: Eros gai: AntologiaPalatina, llibre XII, translated into Catalan by Jaume Juan Castelló, AdesiaraEditoria, 2018
* * *
Hombre 16 December 2020
Hello. I have looked this up but could not find any clear information, so maybe you could help me: as it was published by "a Schoolmaster," I was wondering how do we know that Arnold Smith is the writer of A Boy's Absence. Any hint would be appreciated. Thank you.
* * *
Editor 16 December 2020
I am afraid I don't know. My authority for this was Timothy d'Arch Smith's Love in Earnest (1970), which I believed because it is exceptionally well-researched and reliable. He says:
"The Uranian group held one further schoolmaster, Arnold W. Smith, headmaster of Battersea Polytechnic Secondary School. In 1919 he had published anonymously a long, moving poem, A Boy’s Absence, with the firm of Allen & Unwin. It is the lament of a neurotic, insomniac schoolmaster at the end of term for a boy whom he will not see again until the autumn. The poem—much admired by Montague Summers—embodies the highest ideals and a praiseworthy self-criticism. In 1926, Smith published a second book, The Isle of Mistorak and Other Poems, this time allowing his initials to appear on the title-page." [He then quotes from this book at length].
I don't know d'Arch Smith's source, but it could be the following given in a footnote as the source for Summers' admiration: "his unpublished autobiography, The Galanty Show, MS. Leslie C. Staples, London."
Hombre, 17 December 2020
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my inquiry. This is very helpful. H.