Wednesday, 25 April 2018

To Lesbia - Joannes Secundus

When beauteous Lesbia fires my melting soul
(She who the torch and bow from Cupid stole)
By many a smile, by many an ardent kiss,
And with her teeth imprints the tell-tale bliss;
Through all my frame the madding transport glows,
Through every vein the tide of rapture flows.
As many stars as o’er heaven’s concave shine,
Or clusters as adorn the fruitful vine;
So many blandishments, voluptuous joys,
To inflame my breast, the wily maid employs.
But, dearest Lesbia! gentle mistress! say,
Why thus d’ ye wound my lips in amorous play?
With kisses, smiles, and every wanton art,
Why raise the burning fever of my heart?
Let us, my love! on yon soft couch reclined,
Each other’s arms around each other twined,
Yield to the pleasing force of strong desire,
And panting, struggling, both at once expire!
For oh, my Lesbia! sure that death is sweet,
Which lovers in the fond contention meet!

Joannes Secundus (1511–1536) The Netherlands
Translated by John Nott
Source: Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse, ed. by Thomas Robert Smith. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1921–22

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