Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
To Lydia
By Cornelius Gallus (69?Œ26 B.C.)
 
(Attributed; translated by Sir Charles Elton)

LYDIA! girl of prettiest mien,
And fairest skin, that e’er were seen:
Lilies, cream, thy cheeks disclose;
The ruddy and the milky rose;
Smooth thy limbs as ivory shine,        5
Burnished from the Indic mine.
Oh, sweet girl! those ringlets spread,
Long and loose, from all thy head;
Glistening like gold in yellow light
O’er thy falling shoulders white.        10
Show, sweet girl! thy starry eyes,
And black-bent brows that arching rise:
Show, sweet girl! thy rose-bloom cheeks,
Which Tyre’s vermillion scarlet streaks:
Drop those pouting lips to mine,        15
Those ripe, those coral lips of thine.
Give me, soft, a velvet kiss
Dovelike glued in searching bliss:
You suck my breath! oh Heaven! remove
Your lips—I faint—my sweetest love!        20
Your kisses—hold! they pierce my heart:
I feel thee in each vital part:
Hold—thou wicked creature! why
Suck my life’s blood, thus cruelly?
Hide those breasts, that rise and fall,        25
Those twinned apples, round and small;
Full with balmy juices flowing,
Now just budding, heaving, growing;
Breathing from their broadened zone
Opening sweets of cinnamon.        30
Delicacies round thee rise:
Hide those globes—they wound mine eyes
With their white and dazzling glow,
With their luxury of snow!
Cruel! see you not I languish,        35
Thrilling with ecstatic anguish?
Do you leave me; leave me lying,
Almost fainting, almost dying?
 
 
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