Dmitri has often been portrayed as s golden youth. Writers speak of his sterling character, handsome bearing, and success as a lieutenant in the Third Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Life Guards. A more balanced analysis, however, reveals a different picture. In reality, he was pale, thin, and nervous; his inpredictable moods and fits of depression were notirious. The Grand Duke was also an alcoholic, dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure in and attempts to combat his melancholy. Meriel Buchanan, daughter of the British ambassador, remembered him as “recklessly dissipated.” She wrote that he suffered from a “lack of purpose, indecision and an inherent weakness.” And another of Dmitri´s acquintances, the Honorable Bertie Stopford, an aide at the British embassy in the capital, referred to the Grand Duke as “always helpless and desolate.” With such a character, Dmitri easily fell under the powerful influence of Felix Youssoupov.
The passage of time and destruction of relevant papers make it impossible to say precisely what the nature of the relationship between Felix and Dmitri may have been. But gossip at the time linked the two men romantically. Members of the Romanov family, the imperial court, and the aristocracy were all privy to the information which confirmed the existence of such a relationship, if not the intimate details. Even today there are confessions of a romantic liaison. Many well acquainted with Felix and Dmitri seem to have accepted the fact that the relationship did indeed occur.
Poetry is an art, and the artist in poetry is one who writes for pure and noble pleasure the thing he writes, and who desires to give to others the same or a similar pleasure by his poems which he had in writing them. The things he most cares about are that the form in which he puts his thoughts or feelings may be perfectly fitting to the subjects : and that subject, matter, and form should be as beautiful as possible — but for these he cares very greatly; and in this Chaucer stands apart from the other poets of his time.