The Destroyer of a Soul

Lionel Pigot Johnson made many important contributions to literature at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. He enjoyed a friendship with William Butler Yeats and published an acclaimed critical study of Thomas Hardy. Yet his act of greatest literary consequence was the introduction of his friend, the young Lord Alfred Douglas, to Oscar Wilde in 1891 and the general consensus is that the Destroyer of a Soul was Oscar Wilde.

The soul was that of Lord Alfred Douglas whom Johnson had introduced him to at his home in Chelsea. It's a sonnet of concentrated hatred, strong evidence of Johnson’s conversion the same year to the Catholic faith.

Homosexuality was just beginning to be understood the Victorian era society of England and Johnson was completely mortified; his personal beliefs causing him to denounce this behavior. Wilde's corruption of the boy, led to the famous charges by Douglas's father, the Marquis of Queensbury, which initiated the legal process ending with Wilde imprisoned at hard labor in Reading Gaol.



Destroyer of a Soul, by Lionel Pigot Johnson:

Johnson, Lionel Pigot:

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved.

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