This quote is often attributed to Oscar Wilde although it’s actually from a poem called ‘Two Loves’ by Lord Alfred Douglas. The reason it is often thought Wilde wrote this quote is because during his trial for ‘gross indecency’ in reference to his sexuality.

Britain’s Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 had criminalized all sex acts between men as “gross indecency.” Homosexuality was illegal in the UK until the 1960s.

oscar wilde

Wilde denied in court that the line was about romantic love and claimed it described the kind of ‘Platonic love’ from the ancient Greek ideal. The phrase has since been coined as a euphemism for homosexual love, particularly between two men.

Wilde has been the source of many famous quotes like;

  • “I can resist everything except temptation.”
  • “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
  • “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”